Accommodations are intended to provide equitable access to the general education curriculum and equitable access to the achievement of enrolled grade-level standards. Instructional accommodations remove barriers caused by the student’s disability and allow the opportunity to complete the same assignments as peers

Opportunities for students with disabilities to access the general education curriculum include the following:

  • Universal Design for Learning: Instructional methods & tools to ensure ALL students have an equal opportunity to learn.
  • Differentiated Instruction: The process of ensuring what a student learns, how he learns it and how he demonstrates what he has learned matches his learning characteristics.
  • Specially Designed Instruction: Addresses the unique needs that result from the child’s disability and ensures access to the general curriculum.

Both Universal Design for Learning and Differentiated Instructional approaches focus on eliminating barriers to learning for all students.  The process of Specially Designed Instruction takes those tools and tailors supports specifically to the needs of a student with a disability.  Sometimes the tools of UDL and DI are sufficient for our students with a disability.  If not, then we have a responsibility to provide Specially Designed Instruction.

The Legal Requirement for Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If students with disabilities require accommodations to access the enrolled grade level standards, these targeted accommodations will be addressed in the student’s IEP. These accommodations are a legally binding agreement that provides FAPE to a student utilizing Specially Designed Instruction. It is our ethical responsibility, in special education to provide these accommodations to the special education student that are individualized to meet their needs with Specially Designed Instruction.


Using the Accommodations Audit Form

Review the IEP for each student in your class (or classes). For each student with an IEP, list his/her name in the first column, a brief but accurate description of each instructional accommodation in the second column, and a brief but accurate description of each assessment accommodation in the fifth column.  Include accommodations that address the student’s needs related to academics, behavior, and use of technology. You may want to create a separate copy of this reference tool for each class you teach.

This form can be used by a teacher and/or collaborative partner to monitor the use of IEP designated accommodations and can also be used by an observer to monitor those IEP designated services. To avoid confusion with instructional activities that provide formative assessment opportunities, consider these a part of instruction. Only those more formalized summative assessment activities should be considered in columns 5-7 under the heading of “Assessment.” During an observation, an observer might compare the written description of the accommodation in columns 2 and 5, check the observed level of implementation in the columns headed “Audit Notes,” and then use the “Notes” columns for comments/suggestions. 

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