Fulton 58 School District

Department of Special Education Newsletter

Accommodations, Interventions, Modifications, and Specialized Instruction…What is the difference?

What exactly is the difference between accommodations, interventions, modifications, and specialized instruction? While a general education student can receive accommodations, interventions, and modifications a special education student can receive those supports in addition to specialized instruction. Are you scratching your head yet? Allow me to explain…


Accommodations change how the content is taught, made accessible, and/or assessed. Accommodations DO NOT change what the student is expected to master. The objectives of the course/activity remain intact. An accommodation is essentially meant to “level the playing field.”


Examples of accommodations are:


Preferential seating


Shortened assignments


Peer-tutoring


Moving obstacles in a classroom so that a student with a wheelchair could navigate the classroom.


Classroom level: seating arrangements, note talking, outline/study guides, tape recorders, etc.


Repeat/confirm directions


Additional time to complete assignment


Audio tape


Reduce the number of items per page or line


Provide a designated reader


Present instructions orally


Allow for verbal responses


Allow for answers to be dictated


Permit response provided via computer or electronic device


Allow frequent breaks


Extend allotted time for tests


Provide a place with minimal distractions


Administer tests in several sessions


Administer tests at a specific time of day


Provide special test preparation


Interventions are multi-tiered, scientifically researched based, individualized differentiated instruction provided to struggling learners that target specific skills in the general education classroom employing the assistance of Title 1 interventionists. Interventions are designed to “ensure the playing field.”


Examples of interventions are:


Mini-lessons of skill deficits


Targeted instruction based on progress monitoring


Additional instruction to students in small groups or individually


Increase task structure (e.g., directions, rationale, checks for understanding, feedback)


Increase opportunities to engage in active academic responding (e.g., writing, reading aloud, answering questions in class, etc.)


Multi-sensory techniques


Familiar Reading activities for fluency


Speed sorts of ABCs, sight words


Build automaticity with known information, letters, words, phonetic patterns


Follow up reading with story frame activities: story summary, important ides or plot, setting, character analysis and comparison


Model metacognition


Utilize pre-reading strategies and activities: previews, anticipatory guides, and semantic mapping


Use reciprocal teaching to promote comprehension and comprehension monitoring: predicting, question generating, summarizing and clarifying


Underline word and phrase clues that lead to making an inference


Echo reading: the student imitates the teacher’s oral rendition, one sentence or phrase at a time


Modifications change how the content is taught, made accessible, and/or assessed. Modifications DO change what the student is expected to master. Course/activity objectives are modified to meet the needs of the learner. Modifications are designed to “create the playing field.”


Examples of modifications are:


Student is involved in the same theme/unit but is provided different tasks/expectations


Individualized materials are provided for student


Eliminate specific standards


Create individualized benchmarks


Specialized Instruction as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are adaptations to the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction that 1) addresses the unique needs of a child that results from the child’s educational disability; 2) ensures access to the general education curriculum so that the child can meet the educational standards that apply to all children and, 3) are guaranteed by IDEA and implemented in accordance with the Individualized Education Plan (IEP).


Specialized Instruction can be provided by certified Early Childhood Special Education teachers, Special Education teachers, Speech/Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Vision Specialists, Deaf Education Teachers, Sign Language Interpreters, etc.


Where interventions are provided in the general education setting the location of specialized instruction, although typically and historically provided in the special education setting, can be provided in the general education setting. This can occur through the push-in model or co-teaching model of instruction (also known as class-within-a-class) if the IEP team determines this is the least restrictive environment (LRE) that will enable the child to make progress on goals and access the general education curriculum with their same age/grade peers.


Examples of Specialized or Special Education Instruction are:


Specialized Instruction in Reading Comprehension


Specialized Instruction in Written Expression


Specialized Instruction in Math Problem Solving


Specialized Instruction in Emotional Regulation


Specialized Instruction in Functional Academics


Specialized Instruction in Adaptive Behavior


Specialized Instruction in Pre-Academics


Specialized Instruction in Social/Emotional Skills


Specialized Instruction in Problem Solving Skills


Specialized Instruction in On-Task Behaviors


Specialized Instruction in Executive Functioning Skills


Specialized Instruction in Anxiety Reduction


Speech Therapy


Language Therapy


Orientation and Mobility


My ultimate goal was to clarify the difference between accommodations, interventions, modifications, and specialized instruction. My hope is that providing the examples in addition to the explanations and definitions clarified this for everyone. If however, I have further muddied the already murky waters and/or simply raised questions in your mind feel free to contact me via email at jbower@fulton58.org

Upcoming Professional Development / Trainings / Department Meetings

Professional Development opportunity for Paraprofessionals

Topic: Effective Communication Strategies (alternatives to saying no)

When: March 15th 3:30-5:00pm

Where: Central Office

Who: Paraprofessional required to attend this PD have received an email invite and a google calendar invite


Special Education Department Meeting

Topic: Special Olympics

When: March 17th 3:45-4:45pm

Where: FHS Library

Who: Special Education Staff


Professional Development opportunity for Paraprofessionals

Topic: To Be Determined

When: March 22nd 3:30-5:00pm

Where: Central Office

Who: Paraprofessional required to attend this PD have received an email invite and a google calendar invite


Local Area Special Education Administers Meeting (LASE)

When: April 14th 11:30-3:00

Where: Montgomery City public library

Who: Julie Ann Bower, District Process Coordinator, and Karrie Millard, Director of Special Services


Power Up Assistive Technology Conference and Expo

When: April 17-19, 2016

Where: St. Charles, Mo

Who: Julie Ann Bower, District Process Coordinator, will be attending


Special Education Department Meeting

Topic: To Be Determined

When: April 21st 3:45-4:45pm

Where: To Be Determined

Who: Special Education Staff


Special Olympics Track and Field Day

When: May 6, 2016

Where: Hermann, Mo

Who: Athletes, adult supervisors, and student helpers

** More details to come **


Local Area Special Education Administers Meeting (LASE)

When: May 12th 11:30-3:00

Where: Montgomery City public library

Who: Julie Ann Bower, District Process Coordinator, and Karrie Millard, Director of Special Services



Behavior Intervention Specialist Training

When: July 18-20 and August 1-3

Where: St. James, Mo

Who: Corine Tobias, MS Special Education teacher, and Julie Ann Bower, District Process Coordinator

Contact us

Julie Ann Bower, EdS

District Process Coordinator

573-590-8117

jbower@fulton58.org


Karrie Millard

Director of Special Services

573-590-8000

kmillard@fulton58.org