To enhance reading, math, writing and behavioral skills, students with special needs may sometimes need lesson modifications and accommodations. A student's IEP (Individual Education Plan) may provide specific strategies for lesson changes, but for most teachers, this change may be daunting.
The Need for Modifications and Accommodations
Go into any mainstream classroom in any school community and you will find students with special needs struggling to understand and apply the required learning objectives and outcomes. Even with the legal mandates of IDEA 2004 and the student's IEP, teachers are daunted by the task of IEP expectation when it comes to lesson modifications and accommodations.
Yet the need remains for the "how to" manual on creating instructional plans that provide equity and access for special needs students in mainstream and self-contained classrooms.
How To Tips on Effective Lesson Modifications and Accommodations
Whether your instructional strategy technique is mastery of the subject content material, understanding, interpersonal or self-expressive, when it comes to providing lesson modifications and accommodations for students with special needs, the task can be overwhelming. Using tips in this article can make the task welcoming and create win-win learning opportunities for students who may need lesson modifications and accommodations in your classroom.
Tips for Academic and Behavioral Success
- Make sure that the learning objectives are clear and easy to read and understand
- Provide written individual instructional guides if needed to insure that students stay focused and on task
- Provide clear expectations for Instructional assistants or resource staff to guide students through the lesson
- Create kinesthetic practice opportunities for hands on manipulations and performance based assessments
- Provide visual aids if needed to accompany the lesson objectives
- Create classroom transitions that provide students with before and after warning reminders during activity or lesson changes
- Read the student's IEP to make sure that the proper and expected lesson modifications and accommodations are being implemented in the classroom
- Include student interest in lesson changes to create accessible and fun lessons
- Scaffold the instruction by using creating smaller chunks of information for understanding and processing of the learning objectives
- Provide practice opportunities for students to understand the lesson expectations
- Model what you teach with clear, concise steps and processing.
- Incorporate assistive technology in your lesson planning when indicated by student's IEP or learning need
- Provide celebrations and reinforcement incentives for positive and constructive behavior in the classroom
- Create lesson assessments that are doable and provide increased challenges as the student masters the expected outcome
- Make lessons fun and teaching fun
By creating effective instructional plans that motivate and engage students with special needs, teachers can find that lesson modifications and accommodations are as natural and collaborative as their learners engagement and outcome.