What’s the difference between accommodations and modifications?
With accommodations, students learn the same curriculum, but their individual needs are accommodated, how the student learns is changed. With modifications, the curriculum itself is modified, what the student learns is changed.
- School Accommodation Ideas for Students who Receive Section 504 or Special Education Services (PACER)
- School Modification Ideas for Students Who Receive Special Education Services (PACER)
- Understanding Accommodations (IRIS CENTER)
- Accommodations in the Classroom: A Guide To Making Them Real (Inclusive Schools)
How do I decide what type of adaptations would help?
Start with evaluating the student learning styles and the best learning situations for individual students. Once teachers understand the optimum learning style for the student, accommodations and modifications can be determined to meet the student’s needs. There are different tools you can use to help understand your child’s learning style:
What sort of things are available?
Supports should not be determined by the disability label, instead supports should be used when the instructional or social activity warrants the need for assistance. These charts and articles answer that question in detail
What do I need to ask?
See Questions for Parents to Ask about Adaptations from PACER. Also, check out our pages for disability specific pages, which may include tips and accommodations that are commonly found to be useful for a specific disability.
What about modifications at the high school level?
For a student to receive a diploma, they have to meet the standards of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. The district may decide that there are certain content standards that cannot be modified (changed), because changing too much of the required content would mean the student isn’t learning the required MMC content. Michigan law also allows a parent of a student to request certain modifications (under specific conditions) to the state high school graduation requirements. See our webpage on Michigan Merit Curriculum and Personal Curriculum for more information.
What about planning for college?
- Procedures for Applying for ACT Test Accommodations
- Applying for SAT Test Accommodations (beginning in 2016)
- College Planning