ACCOMMODATIONS VS. MODIFICATIONS
By: Carmen Willings
Updated March 13, 2016
What is the difference between accommodations and modifications? A colleague of mine once shared an easy way to remember the difference: "a" comes before "m" in the alphabet. Likewise, accommodations happen before modifications. The following details what accommodations and modifications are:
Accommodations do not reduce grade level standards but rather help provide access to the course content. They do not alter the amount or complexity of the information taught to the student. Accommodations are changes in the program from a way things are typically done so that a student with a disability can have equal opportunity to participate and allow the student to be successful. These changes do not substantially or fundamentally lower or alter the standards.
The purpose of accommodations is to decrease or to eliminate the interference from the disability. These accommodations would be tied to district and state testing. Accommodations must be part of the student's ongoing instructional program and not introduced for the first time during state-required assessments. When choosing accommodations, they must:
Select those that are appropriate and meet the students needs. Remember each state identifies acceptable or standard accommodations as well as conditional accommodations. Be sure to check with your state's allowable accommodations. Georgia, where I currently teach, has a list of standard accommodations on the Department of Education website. The following is a list of possible accommodations to include in the student's IEP to ensure the student with visual impairments can be successful in the school. Please remember that this should not serve as a checklist.The purpose of an accommodation is to level the playing field and NOT provide unfair advantage over others. Only identify accommodations that are required in order for the student to access his or her education. Provide teachers with a list of the student's Unique Visual Needs at the beginning of the school year and update should there be changes.
Changes in medium used:
Changes made in the way materials are presented
Changes in the way students demonstrate learning
Changes in Setting:
Changes in the Setting: Environment
Modifications lower the learning expectations and should only be used if this is the only way for the student to be successful. Parents must understand if modifications to grade level standards are being made, their child may be at risk for not meeting graduation requirements. When choosing to modify the curriculum be sure to make decisions:
The following is a list of possible modifications to include in the student's IEP to ensure the student with visual impairments can be successful in the school. Select those that are appropriate and meet the students needs.
Students who plan to attend college will be required to take standardized tests as part of college admissions criteria. Accommodations for the ACT, PSAT, SAT and AP programs are overseen by Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), which is part of the College Board, the major nonprofit organization that sponsors pre-college and college admissions tests. College Board requires that requests for accommodations be submitted well in advance. A student must have a documented disability and the student and the school must complete the SSD Student Eligibility Form that must be signed by the parents or guardian. Family Connect, AFB's website for parents of children with visual impairments, provides more information on these accommodations.
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
This form identifies possible recommendations for accommodations that can be beneficial for students with visual impairments or blindness that have multiple disabilities. Select those that are appropriate for the student.
This form identifies possible recommendations for accommodations that can be beneficial for students with visual impairments or blindness that is following the standard course of study. Select those that are appropriate for the student.