Accommodation Plans for Learning Disabilities

Teachers put together accommodation plans for some students.
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What exactly is an accommodation plan for someone with learning disabilities, how are these helpful and when are they used? When does your child need an accommodation plan?

What Are Accommodation Plans?

An accommodation plan is a written set of instructions that detail specific strategies and practices that will be used to communicate to teachers what strategies and practices will be used to ensure that a student's learning needs are met. It details any specialized learning materials or equipment needed for the child's instruction or physical needs. And it explains any classwork or homework modifications the child will receive.

When Does Your Child Need an Accommodation Plan?

Accommodation plans are important for children identified with learning disabilities and other types of disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504, a civil rights law that covers Americans with disabilities.

The plan prohibits disability discrimination by any program or activity that receives federal funds.

That list includes schools, which are required to provide appropriate, reasonable adaptations and modifications for a broad range of potential disabilities. Learning-disabled students who receive specially designed instruction are automatically covered under Section 504.

Accommodation plans are also used for children who have been measured as gifted or advanced. Simply put, an accommodation plan helps parents and teachers meet a child's learning needs.

Additional Details of an Accommodation Plan (or IEP or 504 Plan)

In addition, an accommodation plan, known in some circumstances as an IEP and in others as a 504 plan, will list any additional support services the child may need to benefit from education, explain any grading or assessment changes the student will receive, detail the strategies used for behavior modification plans, and specify how the parents or guardians of a child will assist with the accommodation plan, if applicable.

Finally, an accommodation plan will detail the child's responsibilities regarding the plan, if any.

How Are Accommodation Plans Used?

Schools may use accommodation plans for students in several ways:

How to Get Started With an Accommodation Plan

A 504 Plan must be implemented by school staff. If you suspect your child has a disability that may qualify, call the 504 coordinators in your district to request a meeting to discuss your child's needs and the possibility of an evaluation. For the latest modifications and updates to Section 504, be sure to check the Department of Education website.

An IEP must explain how the child's learning disability or giftedness affects his or her progress in the general education curriculum. IEP teams typically use formal assessment to determine a baseline of performance for a child.

The team may also use anecdotal information and progress data from the child's classroom teachers to describe the child's skills and needs.

Alternative to an Accommodation Plan

For students with a physical or mental impairment who do not meet the requirements to receive special education services, a 504 plan may be an alternative.

How Are Accommodation Plans Helpful?

Accommodation plans are helpful in addressing a multitude of ways in which learning disabilities (or giftedness) may affect learning. The broad range of disabilities for which accommodation may be helpful include problems with (for starters):

  • Short term memory
  • Long Term memory
  • Abstract reasoning
  • Visual processing
  • Auditory processing
  • Information processing speed
  • Mathematical concepts and calculating
  • Problems with written language
  • Problems with spoken language
  • Time management difficulties

Learning More About Accommodation Plans

For more information on the way Section 504 is implemented in your state, refer to the U.S. Department of Education website link above under how to get started.

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2 Sources
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  1. U.S. Department of Education. Office for Civil Rights. Protecting Students With Disabilities.

  2. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Sec. 300.8 Child with a disability.