By Kimberly Vogel

Students with learning disabilities need modifications. There is a fine line between what modifications are needed and when and the time to remove or lessen the modifications. Many parents of students with learning disabilities over-modify, which makes things easier, but doesn’t lead the child to overcome the struggles. The goal is to help our children to learn how to learn and overcome their struggles.

How do you draw that line? How do you know what to do and when?


If you’ve read many of my articles, a phrase I use often use is meet a child where they are at. Because, once you are operating in a child’s “zone,” they are able to learn. A great way to do this is to find out where your child is through placement tests, formal assessments, or informal assessments (such as checklists or reading levels).

Teaching your child from where they are, you can then modify each assignment based on what they can do and what they need to do. For example, in a math assignment, the objective is math calculations. Ease the burden of reading by allowing the word problems to be read to the child. In a writing assignment, if the objective is to plan for a writing assignment then you may want to implement drawing pictures, using a graphic organizer, or dictating the ideas as a way to complete the assignment instead of writing an outline.

Keep track of the modifications

An IEP is a helpful tool for tracking modifications. Once you have your list of modifications, make a goal for phasing out those modifications. For math, I do not give students a calculator. First, I have them use charts to aid in basic operations. I love multiplication charts because they give a student an overall view of how the numbers relate to each other. At first the multiplication chart is used freely. The more math facts are memorized, the chart is used only for a few of the number groups. Eventually the chart is put away and the child has to ask for use of the chart. Eventually, the chart is no longer used!

Re-evaluate periodically

As more milestones are reached, evaluations of the student need to be made to see what modifications are still needed. Students can become dependent on the modifications and find it stressful to not have access to them. That’s why phasing out modifications is recommended. It provides a level of safety for the student while also teaching them to advocate for themselves. The goal is for a student to ask for help in an appropriate manner and for them to self-evaluate.

While modifications are needed, over modifying doesn’t help in the long run. If you need help, the Thinking and Learning Center’s coaches and SPED Homeschool’s resources can help! We would love to help you in any way we can to be confident in homeschooling your child through his or her struggles.

Still looking for more ideas on how to modify your student’s curriculum? Check out these other articles on our website.


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