What are accommodations?

Accommodations allow a disabled student to complete the same tests and assignments as his/her non-disabled peers, but with changes in timing, formatting, setting, scheduling, response and/or presentation. Accommodations are intended to minimize or even eliminate the effects of the student’s disability. In essence, they level the playing field so a disabled student is given more equal footing with his non-disabled peers.

Who is eligible to receive accommodations?

Accommodations are available to a student who has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan. Specific accommodations are chosen to meet each student’s individual needs and are determined by the IEP Team. Whenever possible, it is important to ask the student which accommodations would be helpful, and to include him/her in the discussion. 

What are some types of accommodations?

You can learn about accommodations used in the State of Maryland in the Maryland Assessment, Accessibility, Accommodations Policy Manual.

Accommodations are commonly categorized in the following three ways:
Presentation Accommodations, see page 4-25 in the MSDE Accommodations Manual
Response Accommodations, see page 4-38 in the MSDE Accommodations Manual
Timing and Scheduling Accommodations, see page 4-55 in the MSDE Accommodations Manual

You can also find a list of accommodations available in the Maryland IEP at http://olms.cte.jhu.edu//olms2/data/ck/sites/3915/files/IEP_Form_July_1_2018_Final_06152018.pdf

What are some accommodations that have been helpful to students on the autism spectrum?

Sensory Processing

  • Using a "sensory diet" throughout day
  • Providing seat cushion for attention and postural control
  • Providing slant board for desk work
  • Allow student to stand (if necessary) to complete work
  • Providing hand-over-hand support for fine motor activities
  • Allow motor breaks throughout the day
  • Using multi-sensory cues

Behavior Management

  • Using visual cues (PECS, words, charts, cards) to review rules
  • Using daily visual reinforcement program for self-monitoring
  • Providing immediate feedback using verbal or gestural cues
  • Using token board or behavioral contract
  • Using a coping card with behavioral coping options
  • Using prompt hierarchy (emphasizing visual and gestural prompts rather than verbal

Comprehension

  • Using visual aids (PECS, words, cards, charts) to augment comprehension
  • Modifying lessons to emphasize essential concepts for master

Reading and Handwriting

  • Human reader
  • Recorded books
  • Providing keyboard to take notes
  • Scribe
  • Providing Speech to Text software for writing
  • Providing Word Processors or Alpha-Smart for writing

Attention, Organization, Work-Study Skills

  • Have student repeat back directions
  • Provide task analysis for multi-step tasks
  • Break large chunks of work into smaller parts
  • Using graphic/visual organizers (e.g., organizational, attentional issues)
  • Providing notes for lessons in (subject)
  • Providing outlines for lessons in (subject)
  • Using visual cues (PECS, words, charts, cards) to review schedule, expectations
  • Ensuring that student writes homework assignments legibly
  • Ensuring student has homework assignments and materials before departure
  • Providing study carrel or dividers for independent work
  • Providing preferential seating
  • Providing seating away from distractions
  • Providing seating without visual distraction in visual field (windows, etc.)
  • Structuring for minimal auditory distraction
  • Providing task analysis; breaking down goals into small steps
  • Using manipulative materials to increase participation in learning experience
  • Providing peer tutoring/paired work assignment

Social Maturity and Reasoning

  • Using social stories
  • Providing role modeling (e.g., social skills)
  • Providing peer modeling from socially competent peers
  • Providing adult modeling
  • Providing social skills training during recess and free time periods

Emotional and Self-Regulation

  • Designating a "safe" or "quiet" place in classroom
  • Using a "break" card for breaks
  • Using visual markers, tape, etc. to designate boundaries
  • Modifying length and content of assignments
  • Decreasing work load for school work or homework
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