Deciding What Accommodations Best Fit into a Child's IEP by Meredith MitchellJul 18, 2022
As a special education teacher, I have written hundreds of IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) for students. One of the questions that often come up at an IEP meeting is “What type of Accommodations can the student have?” In an IEP a student can have many different accommodations.
Accommodations allow students to complete the same task as their non-disabled peers but with some support or variation. The purpose of an accommodation is to provide a student with equal access to learning and an equal opportunity to show what he knows and what he can do.
Types of accommodations can usually be broken up into categories: time and scheduling, assessments, and settings or environment are the most common areas for accommodations in the IEP.
A student might need extra time to complete an assignment or need to take it over the course of several days. Accommodations for assessments could include that the material will be reformatted for the student with word banks, multiple choice, or fewer problems. The setting in which the student is given the assessment can also be an accommodation, if the student is easily distracted, then they should have a quiet environment for their workspace. Students who are not reading at grade level might require the assessment to be read to them or use text to speech. Students who can read at grade level but have problems with comprehension would not need this accommodation. They would need the use of a graphic organizer or highlighting text.
You need to be careful when choosing accommodations. You never want to just roll out an extensive list of accommodations and select them all. The student must have a need for the accommodation, and it is important to have data to support those you’ve chosen to put in the IEP.
Over accommodations can happen. I have seen multiple IEPs with too many accommodations listed. If you over accommodate, then the student will not be able to complete tasks at their ability level. You want the student to be as independent as possible. A little struggle is not always a bad thing.
Do not be afraid to ask for accommodations in the IEP. Parents need to ask about accommodations they feel will help their child. General Education Teachers also need to come prepared to the IEP meeting to share what they see working in their classroom and what could be changed to help the student. Asking the right questions at the IEP meeting can provide collaboration from the team.
My favorite quote is by George Evans. He said, “Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way.” This is what accommodations are for in an IEP. It is all about helping the students succeed and giving them the correct amount of support to allow them access to the same tasks as their peers.
About the Author:
Meredith Mitchell is a Special Education Teacher with over 20 years of experience and a Professional Speaker. Meredith was recently named Teacher of the Year for the State of Alabama District lll. She helps teachers understand the IEP process by explaining how to write IEPs that are manageable, measurable, and meaningful. Fun Fact about Meredith is she actually loves writing IEPs. She enjoys spending time with her husband and is a mom of 3 children that keep her busy when she is not working.
If you liked this and want more IEP strategies, then you’ll love these episodes of the Special Education Inner Circle podcast:
- #71: How to Get Aide Support, ESY, and Accommodations
- #49: Classroom Aides and Accommodations, What Needs to Happen Next?
- 504s vs IEPs - What's the Difference?
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