What Are Accommodations and Modifications?
Aspects of the individualized education program (IEP) include specialized instruction, accommodations, and modifications. Accommodations and modifications are not the same, although some people use the terms interchangeably. Accommodations are changes and supports provided to enable access to the same school work and education as other students. A modification means the school work or education for a given student is different from what the other students in the class are doing. Accommodations and adaptations are the same thing. Some examples of accommodations include the following:
- Accessible educational materials in braille, large print, audio, or digital text (see the LMA);
- An advance copy of information in your child’s preferred mode that will be displayed on overhead, whiteboard, or chalk board;
- An assigned note taker;
- Seating close to teacher or board;
- Teacher verbalizing writing;
- Extended testing or assignment completion time; or
- Assistive technology (AT) devices.
Accommodations may also include changes to the classroom environment, presentation of instruction, and assessments in order to provide full access to students who are blind or visually impaired (B/VI).
Modifications include changes to the level or expectations of an assignment or environment. Examples of modifications include:
- Outlining instead of writing an essay for a particular project;
- Using an alternate book or material for a topic being taught;
- Word bank of choices for answers to tests when others do not have that option;
- Reworded questions to match your child’s language level; or
- Providing a calculator for tests when it is not an option for other students.
Please note: Each individual student is different and may require more or less accommodations or modifications than listed above.
Accommodations and modifications can be identified and justified through assessments and evaluations. For example, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) requires a comprehensive eye exam within three months of receiving special education services. The results of this eye exam may indicate that a student needs to sit in the front row in order to see the board (accommodation). The multi-factored evaluation report may be another source of data to justify accommodations or modifications.
Want to learn more about accommodations and modifications?
Understood.org details the differences here.