By Amy Vickrey, MSE

After you have done preparation before, and then you have written your child’s IEP goals, you need to think about the tools your child needs to reach those goals. That is where accommodations and modifications come in. (To learn more about accommodations and modifications, check out this article by Dawn Spence.)


Accommodations are simple tools that help your child work at their level without changing the curriculum. Some examples:

Time – extra time

  • Extra day
  • Breaking up work over the day in small pieces or over several days

Alternative Scheduling – giving more days to finish their project

  • Allowing students to start later in the day
  • Allowing your child to pick his schedule (provided everything is completed)

Change of Present Setting – providing a quiet place to complete assignments or tests

  • Working outside
  • Working in a beanbag
  • Working on an easel

Change of Presentation – changing the way you present the material

  • Using video
  • Making it hands-on
  • Using an app or computer program

Varying Response Method – changing how answers are provided

  • Orally
  • While moving
  • Through games

Cues and Supports – visual supports for schedule or academic subjects

  • Visual schedule
  • Planner
  • Checklist
  • Grading rubric
  • Multiplication chart
  • Calculator*
  • Communication board or app*

*some states may consider these items assistive technology


Modifications, on the other hand, are ways in which you change the actual curriculum to bring it down to a lower level for the student. This may mean working on a lower level of math or reading to reinforce skills not yet achieved.

Presentation of Material – this would be using special education materials or curriculums such as Simply Classical

Adapted Materials – simplifying content and vocabulary. Instead of introducing 10 vocabulary words you would hold the learner accountable for only 2. Also, using leveled or simplified texts for subjects like science or social studies.

Grading and Testing Altered – instead of testing the whole lesson, you would choose certain parts that are important for the learner to grasp. Check out this article on strategies for grading.

Here are some additional considerations when selecting accommodations and modifications:

  • Plan to document, Look at what you use all the time, consistently, so you can incorporate this documentation into your everyday schedule.
  • Critically review what accommodations and modifications are necessary for your child to achieve their goals and their potential?
  • If you are going to be testing, either by choice or by state requirement, what is allowable to accommodate or modify on your child’s grade level on the test?


Check these links for more ideas:
The difference between Accommodations and Modifications 
Common Classroom Accommodations and Modifications
Examples of Accommodations and Modifications
Supports, Modifications, and Accommodations for Students
School Accommodations and Modifications

And, also make sure to join in the SPED Homeschool on-going conversation about special education homeschooling that happens in our Support Group  and in our weekly Facebook Live broadcasts


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