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           Students with learning disabilities have different learning styles and rates, strengths and weaknesses. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) be developed for each child with a disability so that these individual differences can be addressed. This list of classroom modifications and accommodations may be considered when developing the IEP:
  • Extended time for completion of assignments or tests
  • Additional time for reading assignments
  • Time for repeated review or drill
  • Small groups
  • Reduction of paper/pencil tasks
  • Shortened assignments
  • Assignment notebooks
  • Study sheets/summary sheets/outlines of most important facts
  • Supplemental aids (vocabulary, multiplication cards, etc.)
  • Visual demonstrations
  • Presentation of material in small steps
  • Read or paraphrase subject matter
  • Instructions/directions given in different channels (written, spoken, demonstration)
  • Visual or multisensory materials
  • Functional level materials
  • Mnemonic aids/devices
  • Overhead/outline for desk use
  • Taped textbooks
  • Highlighted textbooks
  • Large print material
  • Word processor/spell checker; calculator
  • Assistance with notetaking
  • Taped lectures
  • Self-testing
  • Grade only on completed classwork
  • Credit for class participation, effort and attendance
  • Additional time for test preparation
  • Review/testing matched to student pace
  • Test directions read/explained thoroughly
  • Fewer repetitive test items
  • Test format allowing more space
  • Oral, short-answer, modified tests
  • Manuscript writing rather than cursive
  • One-to-one contact for at least 10-20 minutes daily
  • Tutoring assistance (peer, pal, teacher, etc.)
  • Assistance with organization and planning of classwork and/or homework
  • Emphasis on successes
  • Seating to reduce distractions
  • Frequent breaks
  • Clearly defined limits
  • Cooling-off period
  • Behavior check cards
  • Concrete, positive reinforcers

School assignments and tests completed with accommodations should be graded the same way as those completed without accommodations. After all, accommodations are meant to “level the playing field”, provide equal and ready access to the task at hand, and not meant to provide an undue advantage to the user.

Here are some examples of possible accommodations for an IEP team to consider, broken into six categories:

  • Presentation:
    • Provide on audio tape
    • Provide in large print
    • Reduce number of items per page or line
    • Provide a designated reader
    • Present instructions orally
  • Response:
    • Allow for verbal responses
    • Allow for answers to be dictated to a scribe
    • Allow the use of a tape recorder to capture responses
    • Permit responses to be given via computer
    • Permit answers to be recorded directly into test booklet
  • Timing:
    • Allow frequent breaks
    • Extend allotted time for a test
  • Setting:
    • Provide preferential seating
    • Provide special lighting or acoustics
    • Provide a space with minimal distractions
    • Administer a test in small group setting
    • Administer a test in private room or alternative test site
  • Test Scheduling
    • Administer a test in several timed sessions or over several days
    • Allow sub tests to be taken in a different order
    • Administer a test at a specific time of day
  • Other
    • Provide special test preparation
    • Provide on-task/focusing prompts
    • Provide any reasonable accommodation that a student needs that does not fit under the existing categories

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