IEP Accommodations: Choose Wisely

Accommodations are an integral part of a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) when providing access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities. Accommodations do not change the content or expectation of performance outcomes. They do allow teachers to assess students on their “abilities, rather than [their] disabilities” (National Center on Educational Outcomes, Overview, para. 1, 2016). Thus, teachers and school staff make accommodations to the environment or curriculum, based on the needs of individual students, not on the disability category or instructional setting. For instance, Braille is not an appropriate or effective accommodation for all students with visual impairments, just as all students with autism do not require augmentative communication devices. With appropriate accommodations, students with disabilities can independently demonstrate what they have learned during instruction (Virginia Department of Education [VDOE], 2017).

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Power Tools: IEP Planning and Specially Designed Instruction

By Susan Jones, M.S.Ed., and Shelley Littleton, M.Ed.

Every new school year brings the opportunity to reflect and look forward. If organization, data collection, and designing specialized instruction for your students with disabilities are a challenge for you, search no more. We have two resources that will help in all these areas. [Read more…]

Building Positive Classroom Relationships to Engage Students: Video Introduction

Every school year presents a new opportunity for teachers to establish positive relationships with each student on their rosters.  Supportive relationships between teachers and students promote both visible and psychological engagement (Quin, 2017).  When teacher-student relationships are positive, they favorably affect academic achievement (Hattie, 2015). [Read more…]

Specially Designed Instruction: Realizing the Potential of Co-Teaching

The principle of least restrictive environment (LRE) requires schools to provide instruction in the general education classroom for students with disabilities unless the “nature and severity” of the student’s disability prevents it (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act [IDEA], 2004). Additionally, the IDEA mandates access to the general education curriculum with instruction from qualified teachers. To meet the LRE and access requirements, many schools choose co-teaching as a service delivery model. Access to a co-taught classroom alone, however, does not satisfy the legal requirements. Access must also result in improved academic outcomes for students with disabilities.

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