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PEATC, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
Assisting families of children with special needs since 1978
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Accommodations & Modifications Factsheet

Reprinted with permission from the PEAK Parent Center

PEAK Parent Center

Alliance Center of Expertise on Inclusion

Accommodationsand modifications are types of adaptations that are made to the environment,curriculum, instruction, or assessment practices in order for students withdisabilities to be successful learners and to participate actively with otherstudents in the general education classroom and in school-wide activities.

Accommodations are changes in how a student accesses information and demonstrates learning. Accommodations do not substantially change the instructional level, content, or performance criteria. The changes are made in order to provide a student with equal access to learning and equal opportunity to show what he or she knows and can do. Accommodations can include changes in the following:

  • presentation and/or response format and procedures
  • instructional strategies
  • time/scheduling
  • environment
  • equipment
  • architecture

Modifications are changes in what a student is expected to learn. The changes are made to provide a student opportunities to participate meaningfully and productively along with other students in classroom and school learning experiences. Modifications include changes in the following:

  • instructional level
  • content
  • performance criteria


The following are some examples of accommodations and modifications that can be provided in the general education classroom. Note: This is not a complete list. The IEP team determines accommodations and modifications that meet the unique and individual needs of the student.


  • test taken orally
  • large print textbooks
  • additional time to take test
  • a locker with an adapted lock
  • weekly home-school communication tool, such as a notebook or daily log book
  • peer support for note taking
  • lab sheets with highlighted instructions
  • graph paper to assist in organizing and lining up math problems
  • tape record lectures
  • use of a computer for writing


  • an outline in place of essay for major project
  • Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) choices on tests
  • alternative books or materials on the same theme or topic
  • spelling support from a computerized spell check program
  • word bank of choices for answers to test questions
  • use of a calculator on a math test
  • film or video supplements in place of text
  • questions re-worded using simpler language
  • projects substituted for written reports
  • important words and phrases highlighted

Deciding which accommodations and/or modifications to use is an individualized process that depends on the assignment and the needs of the individual student. When the appropriate adaptations are made, the student can have true access to the general education curriculum.

For More Information

The following books published by Peak Parent Center contain practical information and tools for determining and using accommodations and modifications to support student success:

  • Inclusive Elementary Schools: Recipes for Success,
  • Deciding What To Teach and How To Teach It: Connecting Students Through Curriculum and Instruction
  • Individual Education Plan: Involved Effective Parents

Also, check out PEAK Parent Center's website at

8003 Forbes Place, Suite 310
Springfield, VA 22151
703-923-0010 (phone)
800-869-6782 (toll free)

Copyright © 2020 PEATC - Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center. All rights reserved.

Content on this site was produced, in part, with grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, under CFDA # 84.328M, #84.310A, and #84.235F. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. government, or any other source.

PEATC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to building positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Our special focus is children with disabilities. You can reach PEATC by calling 703-923-0010 (Voice/TTY), or sending an e-mail to

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