Special Education Accommodation Ideas

To best create special education accommodations for your student, you really need to consider the individual strengths and needs involved, as well as know the depth of resources available. Information such as age, type and degree of disability,and surrounding factors, including family and classroom dynamics are key. Also, it would be helpful to know your role and what other support systems may be in place.

In terms of generalities, I can however offer some suggestions in terms of approach that may be of help to you.

These observations are based on what has worked best for us as parents, as well as what I've seen as successful special needs accommodation techniques from others...

  • Make a point of finding out what strengths the child already has, and use that as your starting point to build more strengths in other areas
  • Find out what techniques have been helpful in the past, and try to analyze where they can be used or adapted to any challenges you are currently facing.
  • Always show careful respect for the individual - for instance, don't talk about them in the 3rd person with them in the room. Nobody wants to be objectified. Also, ask permission before interacting with them in any physical way.
  • When you have an expectation of a behavior, try to demonstrate it first wherever possible.
  • Consider giving the same information in several sensory methods. Ie. visual aid, spoken aid, kinesthetic aid, etc. You may want also to try using aroma therapy, or use smells in a meaningful way to encourage specific actions. Similarly, teaching concepts using taste may be useful - especially with anything mathematically related.
  • Always look the child in the eyes, and smile. This simple tip of smiling will bring you results.
  • Incorporate music and movement into anything that you want the child to remember is usually a good technique. Similarly, incorporating concepts in songs or stories that are easily repeated is usually helpful.
  • Use photos of actual items, not symbols, nor photos of generic items or people whenever possible. Consider creating custom photo communication cards for this purpose.
  • Consider the surrounding environment in every situation. It may well be that your student is overly sensitive to light, sound and activity. If you have access to a Snoezelen room, this may be of help. Otherwise, consider dimming the lights, using soft sounds, and minimizing outside distractions. Also consider issues of heat / cold and sunlight. The child may be extra sensitive to these as well.
  • Consider the use of color - especially the use of the wall color in the room. Many studies have been done that show a significant impact on behavior and learning simply by changing the wall color. Yellow generally works well for instance. You may also want to experiment with using glasses with different colored lenses. Sometimes that helps.
  • Consider lighting issues. Some kids are especially sensitive to fluorescent lights, or just lights of limited spectrums. "Daylight" lamps (and natural daylight) are usually best. Full spectrum lighting generally is most useful.
  • Consider creating a workspace that is free of distraction. You can use a desktop carrel to provide an instant barrier to visual distractions. (Contact us for purchase)


As far as outside resources go, it's hard to be specific about special education accommodation without much more detail. But, do check out the professional resources section for special education accommodation ideas.

In particular, you may find that information on Brain Gym is useful. It is designed to be easily used in a school environment. 

Hope this helps!


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