As parents and educators, we want our children to have every opportunity to achieve and experience success. Classroom accommodations, testing accommodations, and related services are all put in place to help the student gain access to content, complete tasks, and maximize the achievement of success. Occupational, physical and speech therapy, counseling, assistive technology, SETSS, books on tape… the list goes on and on. But, how and when do we draw the line at too much support? Are we creating co-dependency when we should be striving for independence? Are we fostering a learned helplessness? Some parents may feel that their child will never learn to complete a task on their own if they continue to be provided with accommodations.
Parents often ask “What is the difference between an accommodation and a modification?” A modification in program changes what a student is taught or expected to learn. A modified curriculum is one that is geared towards students who may be unable to comprehend all of the content, most often in the case of a student with cognitive or intellectual impairment. The pace of instruction, the sophistication of language used to impart information, and the assignments may all be modified to help students understand and incorporate the content.
Obviously, the provision of and need for accommodations and modifications should be monitored yearly and can be renewed, canceled, or “modified” at the child’s IEP or 504 meetings.
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Interesting note: The increase for accommodations in high schools has risen exponentially, especially as evidenced in the recent college admissions scandal, “Operation Varsity Blues.” (Netflix).