Accommodations by Academic Content & Skill Area

What To Do

Students will vary in the way they learn content and demonstrate their understanding of content. It is important to consider the possible barriers students may encounter with the instructional methods, materials, assessments and learning environment. In order to address possible barriers within the curriculum, and ensure access to the general curriculum (AGC), educators should utilize a wide range of instructional strategies to address learner needs.

Scroll Down the Page to explore Instructional Accommodations that Support AGC

Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Articulation
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Word recognition
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Word Attack skills
  • Alphabetic awareness
  • Print awareness
  • Vocabulary
  • Motivation
  • Attending to task
  • Discuss, provide visual supports, text descriptions for pictures, charts, etc...
  • Preview/define, provide visuals for unfamiliar vocabulary
  • Provide reading assignment prior to giving to class
  • Adjust assignments to provide necessary practice
  • Provide summary, outline, or other form of graphic organizer of reading selection that identifies key terms and ideas
  • Use a bookmarker to maintain visual tracking or an index card to block out material to help the student focus on the text selection
  • Provide oral administration of materials
  • Allow student to use listening posts where two or more students can listen to written tests
  • Provide access to text to speech software (i.e. Read:Out Loud/Write:Out Loud Software)
  • Provide audio version of reading assignment
  • Provide extra time to complete reading assignments
  • Allow for student choice in determining topic of reading assignment
  • Emphasize main concepts and supporting ideas
  • Provide background knowledge and experience
  • Provide an opportunity for the student to practice reading orally ahead of time
  • Provide questions before the student is to read
  • Allow the student to answer test questions orally
  • Use auditory and visual cues to aid comprehension
  • Record test questions ahead of time
  • Provide the student with materials that cover the same objective but at lower readability level
  • Use peer tutoring and other forms of cooperative grouping

Written Expression
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Acquiring vocabulary and fluency development
  • Describing experiences and using background knowledge
  • Understanding abstract concepts
  • Using correct grammar and spelling
  • Retaining information
  • Copying information, especially from far point to near point
  • Utilizing appropriate handwriting skills
  • Give clear and concise directions
  • Say directions as you write them
  • Provide the student with a copy of outline, study guide, notes, or assignments
  • Highlight or underline directions
  • Highlight paragraphs or key points
  • Provide time for the student to write assignment at the beginning or end of class
  • Require only important material to be written
  • Provide proofreading checklist
  • Provide extra time to finish assignments
  • Extend or eliminate time limits on written tests
  • Use auditory and visual cues to prompt student to respond
  • Allow the student to complete writing assignments on the computer
  • Provide graphic organizers
  • Minimize copying by providing the information on worksheets or handouts
  • Allow the student to self-talk, dictate to teacher or peer, or record an oral presentation or lesson

Oral Communication
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Vocabulary and fluency
  • Use of correct grammar
  • Formulation of complete sentences and/or questions
  • Use of expressive and receptive language
  • Following multi-step directions
  • Making critical connections between ideas
  • Understanding idioms or jokes
  • Organizing elements of a story for retelling
  • Understanding sentences that contain embedded or complex sentence elements
  • Provide preferential seating to reduce interference of extraneous noises
  • Seat the student close to teacher
  • Give clear and concise directions in small increments
  • Allow the student to quietly verbalize or use self-talk
  • Combine visual and verbal cues with the use of graphic organizers
  • Use key words when modeling appropriate speech
  • Have the student restate directions/information to ensure comprehension
  • Allow extended wait time for the student to respond
  • Emphasize important points in an oral assignment and allow the student to highlight page numbers, titles, and completion dates in an assignment notebook
  • Allow the student to give written instead of verbal response
  • Review key vocabulary in advance
  • Allow the student to tape directions/information ahead of time
  • Allow the student to use a thesaurus to find words to write or say
  • Provide visual cue sheets (i.e. steps to a process such as a math algorithm)
  • Provide scripts (i.e. detailed written descriptions of steps in a process)
  • Provide choices among multiple tasks
  • Accept key word responses rather than complete sentences
  • Allow student to present to small group rather than whole group

Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Ability to recall basic facts
  • Abstract thinking
  • Organization
  • Prerequisite skills needed to complete complex tasks
  • Reading level required for word problems
  • Distinguishing important information in word problems
  • Decoding mathematical notation and symbols
  • Identify key words and terms that indicate mathematics operations
  • Use mnemonic strategies to increase the student’s understanding of steps for problem-solving
  • Eliminate extraneous information in word problems
  • Provide mathematical facts and problem-solving charts
  • Use a bookmark or an index card with a window in the center to help the student focus on one problem at a time
  • Reduce the number of problems
  • Allow use of manipulatives and calculators
  • Allow ample opportunities for practice
  • Allow the student to quietly verbalize steps
  • Provide shortened and/or oral tests
  • Utilize text to speech software (i.e. Read:Out Loud/Write:Out Loud Software)
  • Clarify notation through a list of key terms
  • Embed support for mathematical symbols and notation within the text
  • Allow the student to use a calculator or other computational device such as number lines, rulers, charts, counters, for class activities

Behavioral / Social Skills
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Perception of inappropriate behavior
  • Ability to control impulsive reactions to outside stimuli
  • Ability to control behavior in unstructured settings
  • Ability to control behavior at particular times of the day or areas/classes within the school setting
  • Adapting to change
  • Defining physical space
  • Provide academic accommodations to prevent inappropriate behaviors that may be triggered by academic barriers
  • Use visual cues and prompts to increase desired behaviors
  • Use proximity control to decrease inappropriate behaviors
  • Teach problem-solving skills
  • Reinforce positive and desired behavior
  • Use logical consequences to correct inappropriate behavior
  • Establish, post, and use consistent expectations for appropriate/inappropriate behavior
  • Use contracts to increase desired behavior
  • Give frequent breaks and verbal praise
  • Provide time and space for cooling off period
  • Provide opportunity for movement
  • Solicit student input to identify reinforcers
  • Note academic and/or behavioral performance on a personal chart or graph for a visual of success
  • Utilize video modeling to teach appropriate behaviors
  • Frequently state and re-teach expectations and procedures
  • Establish simple, clear classroom routines and implement consistently
  • Hold private conference and/or discussion on behavior
  • Use signals for transitions
  • Redirect inappropriate behavior by restating expectations and consequences in clear, calm voice
  • Prepare student for any changes in routine
  • Reduce paper/pencil tasks
  • Seat the student with behavioral/impulse challenges or who is easily distracted near the teacher or teacher assistant
  • Frequently vary classroom activities
  • Reward the student who needs to move about with an activity that requires movement such as running errands
  • Structure a student's day and identify where and in what order activities will take place to establish routines
  • Identify specific area(s) for the student to use to regain composure
  • Provide a designated "cooling-off" or "time out" area in the classroom for the student to regain composure before or after experiencing an inappropriate behavioral event
  • Maintain poise and control when dealing with a student who has an inappropriate outburst. Do not argue with a student. Resolve disputes before allowing the student to return to the classroom. Give consequences that encourage appropriate behaviors
  • State the rule broken and apply appropriate consequences for noncompliance
  • Clearly explain the consequences for inappropriate behavior. Consistently reinforce compliant behavior and immediately implement consequences for noncompliance
  • Chart the student’s academic and behavioral progress on a daily or weekly basis
  • Select reinforcers that are age and grade level appropriate. Some examples of concrete reinforcers include stars, free time, social time to talk, tokens or chips that can be exchanged for prizes, free time to listen to music or play a game, computer time, running errands, and assisting the teacher
  • Acknowledge the student’s effort and/or increase in skill with a written note to parents, a certificate of accomplishment, or positive remarks on work assignments
  • Utilize praise; it is a very successful positive reinforcer and is most effective when it is meaningful, specific, and immediate
  • Provide positive social reinforcers such as a smile, wave, praise or encouragement, applause, or eye contact
  • Provide a list of privileges and activities that motivate the student to complete tasks and demonstrate appropriate behavior
  • Display classroom rules that are stated positively, few in number, clearly defined, and linked to specific consequences
  • Give positive consequences when students comply with class rules. Be sure to inform the student when he/she is compliant
  • Develop a continuum of negative consequences when rules are broken. Be sure to inform the student when he/she is non-compliant and take appropriate action
  • Maintain a daily or weekly schedule and try to avoid changes to the routine. Changes often cause frustration and inappropriate behaviors
  • Establish a practical and acceptable system that can be implemented and monitored on a daily or weekly basis, such as giving the student bonus points for returning a weekly progress report with a parent signature

Organizational Skills
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Accessing short-term and long-term memory
  • Maintaining organization of necessary supplies and materials
  • Accessing completed assignments
  • Remaining on task
  • Ignoring distractions
  • Managing time
  • Recording assignments correctly
  • Getting started on a task
  • Completing a task
  • Preparing for and taking tests
  • Understanding what to do
  • Expressing self in organized, sequential manner
  • Help the student to organize assignments at the beginning and end of the day
  • Provide a checklist of tasks to be completed for each assignment
  • Use clear and concise auditory cues
  • Provide a calendar of due dates for assignments
  • Use post-it notes to mark assignments in textbooks
  • Write assignments on board for student to copy
  • Use visual cues and proximity control to help keep the student on task
  • Provide shortened assignments and allow extra time for completion
  • Use a timer to help the student pace work activities
  • Assist the student with daily organization routine and assembling needed materials
  • Reduce stimulation and other potential distractions in work areas
  • Assign a peer tutor/buddy as appropriate
  • Have the student place all important worksheets and papers in notebook/folder
  • Provide access to a clock, stopwatch, or timer to help the student know when assignments must be completed
  • Provide a designated folder, tray, or notebook for completed work assignments
  • List long-term assignments or homework assignments on a chart or on the chalkboard, with due dates

Study Skills / Assignment Completion
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Time management
  • Ability to organize materials and/or thoughts
  • Memory skills
  • Completing projects/reports
  • Notetaking
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Use a timer, clock, or stopwatch to assist the student organize and pace work activities
  • Provide copy of outline, study guide, notes, or assignments
  • Provide assignment sheet/calendar
  • Develop and model use of graphic organizers and mnemonic strategies
  • Teach use of assignment notebook or calendar to record assignments from the chalkboard or overhead projection
  • Highlight key points or paragraphs
  • Provide checklists or schedules of activities to be completed
  • Use color coding for notes, notebooks and materials for specific classes
  • Provide modified tests and/or allow oral testing
  • Develop study schedule to assist the student to manage time
  • Teach the student to outline and highlight important information
  • Explain classroom and homework assignments in a step-by-step method to ensure the student understands
  • Give the student the opportunity to select alternatives for projects such as a mobile, collage, illustration, song, chart, etc., rather than a written report
  • Help the student to establish a time frame for completion of a project
  • Highlight the following in a book or reading passage and teach the student how the highlighted materials should be used: main idea, graphs, maps, charts, italics and boldface type, names, dates, places, vocabulary and terms
  • List vocabulary words/terms on the chalkboard or transparency and have the student define the words before lecture begins
  • Write questions on the board or on a handout and allow time for discussion before a film or class lecture
  • Give the student an incomplete outline with ideas and have them complete the outline with supporting facts
  • Arrange for an identified student to take notes on NCR paper to share with other students
  • Teach the student how to take notes
  • Have the student underline important facts and ideas from a printed passage of class notes or reading passage
  • Set realistic goals for the student to accomplish when completing assignments
  • Assess the student’s performance on the work completed for an assignment
  • Limit the number of assignments the student is expected to complete independently inside and outside the classroom
  • Limit the number of assignments the student is expected to complete with assistance inside the classroom
  • Minimize the amount of maintenance or drill items
  • Reduce the amount of work on a page by cutting worksheets into strips or fold smaller segments into workable sections
  • Allow the student to complete as many items as possible within a specific time
  • Highlight or star key points to be mastered and give bonus points for extra items completed
  • Require the student to maintain a daily log of assignments due and completed
  • Verbally reinforce assignment due dates as a reminder to the student
  • Monitor the student’s progress toward completion of assignments
  • Assist the student to devise his/her own study sheets, focusing on facts, comparisons, and relationships
  • Teach the student to identify signal words and other clues used in a lecture or in printed materials
  • Allow the students to work together to review with one another to prepare for tests
  • Provide time for daily review of class notes or presentations

Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Completing assignments on time
  • Anticipating needed resources to complete assignments
  • Attending to more than one task/stimulus at a time
  • Use visual and verbal cues to help the student stay on task
  • Provide the student with a copy of the outline, study guide, notes, or assignments
  • Highlight or underline directions
  • Highlight key points or paragraphs
  • Preview vocabulary and review questions ahead of time
  • Present assignments into small chunks
  • Provide time for student to write assignment(s) at the beginning or end of class
  • Remove extraneous information, supplies, etc. from student desk
  • Use proximity control to reduce off task behaviors
  • Use contracts to increase motivation as appropriate
  • Use reinforcers, such as computer time, point system, free reading time, etc...
  • Allow for student choice in determining materials and format of assessment to be used related to topic

Test Taking
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Decoding of text
  • Completing short answer/essay
  • Identifying answer from series of multiple choices
  • Allow the student to take an oral test administered by a teacher or teacher assistant
  • Check to determine if the student can read and understand questions, and read and restate questions as needed
  • Prepare the student for true and false tests by requiring them to memorize facts such as names, dates, places, rules and principles
  • Use cloze tests that require the student to select the correct words (that may or may not be provided) to fill in the blank(s)
  • Break up long tests into manageable parts to be administered over several class periods
  • Teach the student to read through the test quickly, answering only questions they are sure about, as clues to answers are often found in other questions
  • Teach the student to read the entire question and all possible answers, as the best answer is sometimes the last answer
  • Teach student to mark through the number or letter of those answers they are sure are wrong. Usually a question will have one right answer, two answers that are distractors, and one obviously wrong answer
  • Allow student to read similar articles or respond to similar items that test the same principles
  • Place similar test items together, and make sure the test instructions/items are presented clearly and concisely
  • Audiotape lectures or lessons and allow the student to review due to absence(s)
  • Teach the student to preview end of chapter questions, listen to an audiotape of text, and follow along in their text; have student answer previously discussed questions
  • Audiotape a test review, study guide, or exam for student to use
  • Emphasize or stress key points during the lecture such as, "This will be on Friday's exam"

Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Using negative and self-deprecating statements
  • Valuing own successes
  • Putting forth effort
  • Acting out behaviors
  • Establish logical consequences for inappropriate behaviors
  • Allow choice of acceptable alternatives
  • Establish and use consistent rules for appropriate/inappropriate behavior
  • Allow student to choose format (i.e., art project, video, song, oral report, etc.) for completion of assignments
  • Provide frequent positive feedback
  • Allow student to participate in goal setting and use questioning strategies to remind students of goals as appropriate
  • Model cooperative behavior
  • Conduct periodic notebook checks and consider giving bonus points for completion

Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Staying on task
  • Managing time and materials appropriately
  • Attending to details
  • Completing assignments
  • Sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Waiting his/her turn
  • Use visual cues, prompts and proximity control to increase desired behaviors
  • Reduce amount of work and allow breaks
  • Provide preferential seating to reduce possible distractions
  • Give clear and concise directions in small increments
  • Make sure the student has eye contact with the person giving oral directives
  • Provide notes, outlines and/or summaries of assignments
  • Provide checklists or schedules of activities to be completed
  • Use post-it notes to mark assignments in textbooks
  • Use color coding for notes and assignments
  • Provide assignment sheets, calendars, and/or notebooks
  • Provide modified tests and/or allow oral testing
  • Allow the student to choose a format (art project, video, song, oral report, etc.) for completion of assignments
  • Highlight key points or paragraphs
  • Allow the student to move to an alternate work area
  • Sequence work assignments
  • Shorten work assignments
  • Give rewards for completion of tasks
  • Use a timer to help the student manage time and complete assignments.
  • Provide note-taking assistance

Auditory Processing
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Analyzing information taken in through ears
  • Making sense of auditory information
  • Processing and interpreting auditory information (the teacher may say one thing, but the student interprets something different)
  • List key points on the chalkboard during oral presentations
  • Encourage student to explain the steps needed to complete a task
  • Repeat instructions or provide more detailed instructions, as needed
  • Appoint a peer tutor or listening buddy to assist with giving precise directions
  • Keep oral questions brief
  • Ensure student is attending before giving directions or important ideas
  • Rephrase the information (say it differently) if the student does not understand
  • Pre-teach when starting a new activity
  • Provide visual aids
  • Provide oral and written instructions
  • Read aloud materials written on screen, chalkboards or overheads
  • Seat the student in the location within the classroom that is most conducive for his/her learning and away from hallways, doors, windows, and other outside stimuli

Visual Impairment
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Fatigue from visually attending, disorganization, inattentiveness, and distractibility
  • Double vision or involuntary crossing of eyes
  • Tasks requiring eye-hand coordination or depth perception
  • Peripheral vision
  • Ability to adjust to changes in lighting, such as coming from the outside sunlight to the indoors
  • Sensitivity to light or experience frequent headaches
  • Discrimination of different colors
  • Seeing and interpreting subtle facial expressions or body language
  • Ability to organize and understand measurement concepts and problems involving logic
  • Provide preferential seating
  • Use large print textbooks, enlarged worksheets and supplementary materials
  • Provide Braille textbooks, worksheets and supplementary materials
  • Provide auditory texts
  • Allow use of Braille note taker and printer
  • Use  text-to-speech software (i.e. Read:Out Loud/Write:Out Loud Softwareto provide recorded copies of text and to pair recorded materials with written materials
  • Give shortened assignments/extended time for assignments/reduced writing assignments.
  • Allow the student to mark on worksheets rather than copy them
  • Allow the student to mark responses on actual worksheet or test instead of separate answer sheet
  • Allow the student to mark on the test booklet for standardized testing, and have answers transcribed
  • Provide the student with a desk copy of pertinent distance materials (i.e. board work or overheads)
  • Verbalize chalkboard and overhead presentations for the student
  • Allow use of bold-lined paper with a black felt tip pen
  • Allow use a high intensity lamp for all reading assignments and desk work
  • Allow use of CCTV (closed circuit television), magnifier, or monocular for reading tasks
  • Provide oral tests and/or allow the student to give oral or taped responses
  • Allow use of a typo scope or bookmarker to track a line of print
  • Provide clear, uncluttered worksheets
  • Provide a physical model (e.g., for headings on paper, indentation, skipping lines, etc.) of assignments/ expectations
  • Provide tactual maps and diagrams
  • Allow use of sunglasses, cap or visor when indoors/outdoors
NOTE: A Visual Impairment (VI) Teacher must participate in ARD/IEP meetings for students with visual impairments. 

Auditory Impairment
Possible Difficulties
Possible Instructional Accommodations
  • Verbal directions
  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling
  • Note taking
  • Usage of correct speech and language
  • Provide preferential seating and reduce extraneous background noises
  • Provide amplification devices recommended by the ARD/IEP committee
  • Provide note taking assistance
  • Provide visual cues to present information, (i.e., overheads, drawings, maps, demonstrations, videos, etc.)
  • Preview visual cues before presenting during instruction
  • Provide notes, outlines and/or summaries of assignments
  • Highlight key points and paragraphs
  • Highlight or underline directions
  • Provide peer tutor/buddy, as appropriate
  • Position the speaker to allow for direct line of sight when talking to the student
  • Repeat or paraphrase what is said by other students
  • Pre-teach and simplify vocabulary before instruction
  • Provide sign language interpreter or Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), if recommended by the ARD/IEP committee
NOTE: An Auditory Impairments (AI) district representative must participate in ARD/IEP meetings for students with auditory impairments.

Additional Resources