Suggested Classroom Modifications
Modifications should be tailored to your child's specific needs, and they may vary in different settings or with different classes. For example, if your child has auditory discrimination problems, she may need to be seated closer to the front of the room in a class with a soft-spoken teacher, but may have no problems in another class where the teacher has a louder and more commanding demeanor. A child who has difficulty writing may need extra time to complete written essays or exams, but have no difficulty with worksheets or multiple-choice exams that merely require checking or circling the correct answer.
Some common accommodations are:
Extra time. Your child might need extended time on just about anything: on written homework, on oral tasks requiring a rapid response, or simply moving from one task to another in class.
Alternative assignments. Your child might need to substitute all or part of an assignment with an alternative project or task; for example, a science project could be modified to allow your child to build a model in lieu of writing a paper.
Assistive technology. Your child may do better on written assignments if she is allowed to use a laptop computer or keyboard to type them, rather than turn in handwritten work. In addition to utilities like the spell-checker that are standard on all computers, your child may benefit from more sophisticated software like predictive-text programs, text-to-speech utilities, dictation software, or handheld devices like an electronic spelling dictionary or calculator.
E-books, recorded books, and multimedia. Your child may do better if some or all of his assignments can be accessed through audio or visual formats. In some cases, equivalent information in textbooks may also be available in video or computer CD-ROM format.
Changes to classroom seating arrangement. Your child may do better if seated closer to the teacher or in an area that is shielded from distractions.
Modifications to curriculum. Your child may need modifications to the expected curriculum such as a shorter spelling list or a spelling list made up of easier words.
Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to maximize your child's ability to learn by eliminating learning barriers and to make sure that assignments are within his capacity to complete and to master. You do not want to make things too easy for your child, but your child will be discouraged and soon give up if every assignment ends in frustration and failure.
Dr. Martin Kutscher, author of