Common accommodations and modifications in school

There are many ways teachers can help kids who are struggling in school. Here are some common accommodations and modifications that schools and families can discuss as possible options for kids.

Common accommodations

Presentation accommodations (changes the way information is presented)

  • Listen to audio recordings instead of reading text

  • Learn content from audiobooks, movies, videos, and digital media instead of reading print versions

  • Work with fewer items per page or line

  • Work with text in a larger print size

  • Have a “designated reader” — someone who reads test questions aloud to students

  • Hear instructions spoken aloud

  • Record a lesson, instead of taking notes

  • Get class notes from another student

  • See an outline of a lesson

  • Use visual presentations of verbal material, such as word webs

  • Get a written list of instructions

Response accommodations (changes the way kids complete assignments or tests)

  • Give responses in a form (spoken or written) that’s easier for them

  • Dictate answers to a scribe who writes or types

  • Capture responses on an audio recorder

  • Use a spelling dictionary or digital spellchecker

  • Use a word processor to type notes or give answers in class

  • Use a calculator or table of “math facts”

Setting accommodations

  • Work or take a test in a different setting, such as a quiet room with few distractions

  • Sit where they learn best (for example, near the teacher)

  • Use special lighting or acoustics

  • Take a test in a small group setting

  • Use sensory tools such as an exercise band that can be looped around a chair’s legs (so fidgety kids can kick it and quietly get their energy out)

Timing accommodations

  • Take more time to complete a task or a test

  • Have extra time to process spoken information and directions

  • Take frequent breaks, such as after completing a worksheet

Scheduling accommodations

  • Take more time to complete a project

  • Take a test in several timed sessions or over several days

  • Take sections of a test in a different order

  • Take a test at a specific time of day

Organization skills accommodations

  • Use an alarm to help with time management

  • Mark texts with a highlighter

  • Use a planner or organizer to help coordinate assignments

  • Receive study skills instruction

Common modifications

Assignment modifications

  • Complete different homework problems than peers

  • Answer different test questions

  • Create alternate projects or assignments

Curriculum modifications

  • Learn different material (such as continuing to work on multiplication while classmates move on to fractions)

  • Get graded or assessed using a different standard than other students

  • Be excused from particular projects

Learn about the difference between accommodations and modifications. For kids who have specific struggles, check out accommodation guides for dyslexia, ADHD, and more. And find out why some kids might refuse to use accommodations.


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