Recently, Nicole Eredics of The Inclusive Class was featured in a blog post by Brookes Publishing Co. The article focuses on the differences between accommodations and modifications, includes tips for teachers, and ends with a case study that illustrates effective classroom adaptations.
Accommodations and modifications are both types of adaptations, permitting individual students to learn from the material that the whole class is using. Accommodations change the “pathways” that students use to access learning, but do not change goals and outcomes—examples could include assistive device, strategic seating arrangements, or more time allowed for tests. Modifications involve alterations to what a student is expected to learn, based on his or her cognitive ability. A student might practice printing and drawing through tracing diagrams, or find spelling words appropriate to her or his ability embedded in grade-level spelling words. Students who need modifications may also need accommodations.
It is essential that teachers provide necessary adaptations in order to ensure that the learning environment is equitable, but time constraints are often a concern. Collaboration with other teachers and support from resource educators can usually help teachers implement inclusive strategies.
In the case study presented, strategies designed to benefit a student with disabilities, such as a whole-class behaviour plan and direct teaching and practice of social-emotional skills, benefitted the every student in the class. Consistent backpack hooks and assigned seats helped to minimize distractions for students who had difficulty focusing, and classroom chores gave students constructive activities to do when they were finished with a task at their desks.