3.1 Meaning, Difference, Need & Steps

Adaptations are changes permissible in environments which allow the student equal opportunity to obtain access, results, benefits, and levels of achievement. These adaptations consist of both accommodations and modifications.

Adaptation fall under four major categories:

Content: What the student needs to learn. The instructional concepts should be broad based, and all students should be given access to the same core content. However, the content’s complexity should be adapted to students’ learner profiles. Teachers can vary the presentation of content, (e.g., textbooks, lecture, demonstrations, taped texts) to best meet students’ needs.

Process: Activities in which the student engages to make sense of or master the content. Examples of differentiating process activities include scaffolding, flexible grouping, interest centers, manipulatives, varying the length of time for a student to master content, and encouraging an advanced learner to pursue a topic in greater depth.

Products: The culminating projects that ask students to apply and extend what they have learned. Products should provide students with different ways to demonstrate their knowledge as well as various levels of difficulty, group or individual work, and various means of scoring.

Learning Environment: The way the classroom works and feels. The differentiated classroom should include areas in which students can work quietly as well as collaborate with others, materials that reflect diverse cultures, and routines that allow students to get help when the teacher isn’t available.

Accommodations are changes in course content, teaching strategies, standards, test presentation, location, timing, scheduling, expectations, student responses, environmental structuring, and/or other attributes which provide access for a student with a disability to participate in a course/standard/test, which DO NOT fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectations of the course/standard/test.

Modifications are changes in course content, teaching strategies, standards, test presentation, location, timing, scheduling, expectations, student responses, environmental structuring, and/or other attributes which provide access for a student with a disability to participate in a course/standard/test, which DO fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectations of the course/standard/test.

If your child’s disability is preventing him or her from accessing grade level content then your child may need accommodations and/or modifications written into his or her Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The accommodations or modifications your child receives will depend on your child’s age, disability, classroom placement, and whether your child has an IEP. The accommodations and/or modifications that your child receives on state assessments will be slightly different from the ones your child receives in the classroom.

There are nine basic types of curriculum adaptations. They are listed below along with examples.(**Modification and *Accommodation)

1. **Quantity-Adapt the number of items to learn or the number of activities to complete:

·        Reduce or limit the use of scan sheets for test answers;

·        Reduce the number of items for assigned tasks;

·        Reduce the amount of copying;

·        Reduce the number of problems;

·        Reduce the number of concepts and expectations introduced at any given time;

·        Reduce the number of terms the student must learn at one time;

·        Reduce length of assignments;

·        Have student learn 2-3 concepts from each chapter.

2. *Time-Adapt the time allotted and allowed for learning, task completion, or testing:

·        Create a timeline for completing a task;

·        Allow student to take assignment home;

·        Allow extra time in class to complete assignments;

·        Review frequently;

·        Allow additional time to complete tests;

·        Give short breaks.

3. *Level of support-Increase the amount of personal assistance to keep the student on task or to reinforce or prompt use of specific skills.

·        Peer buddies;

·        Check for comprehension;

·        Read tests aloud;

·        Use groups to write together;

·        Peer tutor.

·        Starting a computer for a student;

·        Guiding a hand during handwriting;

 4. *Input- Adapt the way instruction is delivered to the learner:

·        Cooperative groups;

·        Visual aides;

·        Concrete examples;

·        Hands-on activities.

5. **Difficulty-Adapt the skill level, problem type, or the rules on how the student may approach the work:

·        Calculator for Math problems;

·        Simplify task directions;

·        Outline with blanks;

·        Word banks;

·        Provide page number and paragraph to help student find answers;

·        Number the handouts for reference during lecture;

·        Supply a study guide with key concepts and vocabulary in advance;

·        Give alternate test; 9. Vary format of tests;

·        Grading spelling separately from content;

·        Open book tests;

·        Change rules to accommodate learner’s needs;

·        Use high interest/low-level books to motivate students to read;

6. *Output- Adapt how the student can respond to instruction:

·        Verbal vs. written response;

·        Communication book;

·        Allow students to show knowledge with hands-on material.

7. *Participation-Adapt the extent to which a learner is actively involved in the task:

·        Have student turn pages on book that the teacher is reading;

·        Hold globe in geography;

·        Listen to a taped story while others are engaged in reading aloud;

·        Color map while other students label the map;

·        Find related pictures in magazines of concepts presented while other use resource material to research information;

·        Some learners will discuss concepts while others use selected computer programs for reinforcement;

8. ***Alternate Goals- Adapt the goals or outcome expectations while using the same materials. This is only for students with moderate to severe disabilities.

·        In a social studies lesson, except a student to be able to locate the colors of the states on a map, while other students learn to locate each state and name the capital.

9. ***Substitute Curriculum (Functional Curriculum)- Provide different instruction and materials to meet a learner’s individual goals. This is only for students with moderate to severe disabilities.

·        During a language lesson a student is learning toileting skills with an aide.

·        Community-based instruction;

·        Learning how to use a communication device;

·        Learning how to do laundry;

·        Learning cooking/grooming skills

3.2 Specifics for Children with Sensory Disabilities

Sensory-grouped students have auditory or visual disabilities.

Accommodations in Presentation are for students with hearing or visual disabilities. They change how the student receives information.

·        Oral reading (adult, audio tape, JAWS);

·        Large print;

·        Magnification devises;

·        American sign language;

·        Braille;

·        Tactile graphics;

·        Manipulatives;

·        Audio amplification devices (hearing aids, FM system)

Accommodations in Response are for students with visual or hearing impairments. They offer different ways for students to respond.

·        Using a computer/typewriter or a scribe to record answers;

·        Using an argumentative communication device or other assistive technology;

·        Using a brailler;

·        Responding directly in the test booklet rather than on an answer sheet;

·        Using organizational devices, including calculation devices, spelling and grammar assistive devices, visual organizers, or graphic organizers.

Students Who Have Visual Impairments

All students exhibit different levels of visual acuity. However, it is quite likely that you will have students whose vision is severely hampered or restricted. These students may need to wear special glasses and require the use of special equipment. Although it is unlikely that you will have a blind student in your classroom, it is conceivable that you will need to provide a modified instructional plan for visually limited students. Consider these tips: 

·        Tape-record portions of textbooks, trade books, and other printed materials so students can listen (with earphones) to an oral presentation of necessary material. 

·        When using the chalkboard, use white chalk and bold lines. Also, be sure to say out loud whatever you write on the chalkboard. 

·        As with hearing impaired student, it is important to seat the visually impaired student close to the main instructional area.  Provide clear oral instructions.

·        Be aware of any terminology you may use that would demand visual acuity the student is not capable of. For example, phrases such as “over there” and “like that one” would be inappropriate. 

·        Partner the student with other students who can assist or help.

Students Who Have Hearing Impairments

Hearing impairment may range from mildly impaired to total deafness. Although it is unlikely that you will have any deaf students in your classroom, it is quite possible that you will have one or more who will need to wear one or two hearing aids. Here are some teaching strategies: 

·        Provide written or pictorial directions.

·        Physically act out the steps for an activity. You or one of the other students in the class can do this.

·        Seat a hearing impaired child in the front of the classroom and in a place where he or she has a good field of vision of both you and the chalkboard. 

·        Many hearing impaired youngsters have been taught to read lips. When addressing the class, be sure to enunciate your words (but don't overdo it) and look directly at the hearing impaired student or in his or her general direction. 

·        Provide a variety of multisensory experiences for students. Allow students to capitalize on their other learning modalities.  It may be necessary to wait longer than usual for a response from a hearing impaired student. Be patient.

·        Whenever possible, use lots of concrete objects such as models, diagrams, realia, samples, and the like. Try to demonstrate what you are saying by using touchable items.


3.3 Specifics for Children with Neuro-Developmental Disabilities

Students with Learning Disabilities

Students with learning disabililty are those who demonstrate a significant discrepancy, which is not the result of some other handicap, between academic achievement and intellectual abilities in one or more of the areas of oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, mathematics reasoning, or spelling. Use these appropriate strategies with students with learning disability: 

·        Provide oral instruction for students with reading disabilities. Present tests and reading materials in an oral format so the assessment is not unduly influenced by lack of reading ability. 

·        Provide them with frequent progress checks. Let them know how well they are progressing toward an individual or class goal. 

·        Give immediate feedback to students. They need to see quickly the relationship between what was taught and what was learned.  Make activities concise and short, whenever possible. Long, drawn-out projects are particularly frustrating for a child with learning disability. 

·        They have difficulty learning abstract terms and concepts. Whenever possible, provide them with concrete objects and events—items they can touch, hear, smell, etc. 

·        Students need and should get lots of specific praise. Instead of just saying, “You did well,” or “I like your work,” be sure you provide specific praising comments that link the activity directly with the recognition; for example, “I was particularly pleased by the way in which you organized the rock collection for Karin and Miranda.” 

·        When necessary, plan to repeat instructions or offer information in both written and verbal formats. Again, it is vitally necessary that learning disabled children utilize as many of their sensory modalities as possible. 

·        Encourage cooperative learning activities when possible. Invite students of varying abilities to work together on a specific project or toward a common goal. Create an atmosphere in which a true “community of learners” is facilitated and enhanced.

·        Offer learning disabled students a multisensory approach to learning. Take advantage of all the senses in helping these students enjoy, appreciate, and learn.

Students Who Have ADHD

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active.

When working with ADHD students in your classroom, keep the following in mind: 

·        Make your instructions brief and clear, and teach one step at a time.

·        Be sure to make behavioral expectations clear.

·        Carefully monitor work, especially when students move from one activity to another.

·        Make frequent eye contact. Interestingly, students in the second row are more focused then those in the first.

·        Adjust work time so it matches attention spans. Provide frequent breaks as necessary.

·        Provide a quiet work area where students can move for better concentration.

·        Establish and use a secret signal to let students know when they are off task or misbehaving.

·        Use physical contact (a hand on the shoulder) to focus attention.

·        Combine both visual and auditory information when giving directions.

·        Ease transitions by providing cues and warnings.

·        Teach relaxation techniques for longer work periods or tests.

·        Each day be sure students have one task they can complete successfully.

·        Limit the amount of homework.

·        Whenever possible, break an assignment into manageable segments.

Students with ASD

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. It affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns.

For most kids with ASD, the emotional and social aspects of daily living are the most difficult. Children with autism may have trouble regulating their emotions. Frequent, unpredictable outbursts can alienate them from friends and teachers, which further exacerbate feelings of sadness, anxiety and frustration. Fortunately, the classroom environment offers ample opportunities for learning these skills. Pull-out sessions to deliberately teach social and emotional skills are helpful, but the real-life experiences of the classroom are just as important.

·        Making Friends: Some kids with ASD don't feel a need to develop close relationships, while others crave them but lack the skills necessary to sustain them. Either way, a teacher can foster social relationships in the classroom.

·        Self-Regulation: Kids with ASD struggle with self-regulation, especially in a busy classroom setting. They may lose track of their homework, have difficulty listening to directions or experience meltdowns because of sensory overload. They may have intense emotional outbursts and have difficulty calming down. Teachers can help by setting up a calm, predictable environment. Let your child's teacher know about your child's triggers and signs of sensory overload, such as hand-flapping, pacing or grumbling. Create visual schedules so your child knows exactly what to expect throughout the day.

·        Communication: Communication difficulties are one of the three hallmarks of ASD, and they play a big role in your child's social and emotional development. Some children with autism have very limited oral language, while others have highly developed vocabularies, but might not understand the pragmatics of language. Help your child's teacher understand your child's particular communication challenges.

·        Perspective Taking: Most kids with autism have difficulty understanding and empathizing with another person's feelings or behaviors. They may also negatively misinterpret someone's actions. If your child experiences these challenges, suggest a few structured activities about reading body language and facial expressions, as well as ongoing casual experiences. For example, the teacher could display a poster of facial expressions or have a group discussion on the topic. Games, such as charades, that require kids to read body language can also help.

Students with Intellectual disability

Intellectual disability, formerly labeled “mental retardation,” is defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as “significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently [at the same time] with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.” There are two key components within this definition: a student’s IQ and his or her capability to function independently, usually referred to as adaptive behavior.

Children with intellectual disabilities need some additional support and modifications in their environment, as well as in the type of activities they do. Here are a few modifications for students with an intellectual disability that will help them to learn better.

·        Quiet Work Space: Using this space only for studying also will help the child get into a routine of studying and also understand that when he is sitting there, he is supposed to concentrate on the activity or task, and not play.

·        Functional Activities: Teach practical things that will be useful, such as how to boil an egg or how to find their way to their friend’s house.

·        Repetition of Concepts Over the Day: Children with intellectual disabilities need to learn a concept in different ways and have the opportunity to practice it many times in order to learn and remember it.

·        Teacher-Student Ratio: These children require additional support and guidance as they work on their activities. Ideally, there should be at least 1 teacher for every 3 children with intellectual disabilities.

·        Hands-on Learning: Using all the senses to learn also helps them learn and retain information better.

·        Safety Measures: Sharp scissors, knives, etc. must be kept out of reach. Harmful liquids like cleaning liquids must also be kept away. Medicines must be kept out of reach. In addition to this, make sure that none of the children can lock themselves up in any room. Small beads or other toy parts that the children could put in their mouth must be kept away if a child has a tendency to do that. If the child has seizures, you may need to look at padding the corners of furniture to avoid injury.

·        Schedule: The schedule must have short activity times and must alternate between physical and sitting down activities. The schedule must also try and incorporate some aspects of self-care so that children start becoming more independent in putting on or taking off shoes, going to the toilet, or feeding themselves.


3.4 Specifics for Children with Loco Motor & Multiple Disabilities

Students Who Have Physical Impairments

Physically challenged students include those who require the aid of a wheelchair, canes, walkers, braces, crutches, or other physical aids for getting around. As with other impairments, these youngsters' may range from severe to mild and may be the result of one or more factors. What is of primary importance is the fact that these students are no different intellectually than the more mobile students in your classroom. Here are some techniques to remember: 

·        Be sure there is adequate access to all parts of the classroom. Keep aisles between desks clear, and provide sufficient space around demonstration tables and other apparatus for physically disabled students to maneuver. 

·        Encourage students to participate in all activities to the fullest extent possible.

·        Establish a rotating series of “helpers” to assist any physically disabled students in moving about the room. Students often enjoy this responsibility and the opportunity to assist whenever necessary. 

·        Focus on the intellectual investment in an activity. That is, help the child use his or her problem-solving abilities and thinking skills in completing an assignment without regard to his or her ability to get to an area that requires object manipulation. 

·        When designing an activity or constructing necessary equipment, be on the lookout for alternative methods of display, manipulation, or presentation. 

·        Physically impaired students will, quite naturally, be frustrated at not being able to do everything the other students can accomplish. Be sure to take some time periodically to talk with those students and help them get their feelings and/or frustrations out in the open. Help the child understand that those feelings are natural but also that they need to be discussed periodically.

Students with Multiple Disability

IDEA’s definition of multiple disabilities than having more than one impairment or disability. The combination of disabilities causes the student to have severe educational needs that cannot be addressed by providing special education services for only one of the impairments.

Assistive Teaching Aids and Adaptations

Other Adaptations

·        Objects.

·        Tactile/ embossed materials.

·        Verbal descriptions.

·        Models/ 3D models.

·        Real life objects.

·        Real life experiences/ practical work.

·        Demonstrations by ‘Hand over hand’.

·        Multisensory approach.

·        Bold/ highlight lines for ease of writing.

·        Adaptive aids and equipment.

·        Assistive Technology


·        Teach one concept at a time.

·        Teach one step at a time.

·        Task analysis.

·        Communicate at the level of the child

·        Using partial participation

·        Small group or individual instruction


3.5 Engaging Gifted Children

Students of high ability- often referred to as gifted students, present a unique challenge to teachers. They are often the first ones done with an assignment or those who continually ask for more creative and interesting work. They need exciting activities and energizing projects that offer a creative curriculum within the framework of the regular classroom program.

Gifted children are, by definition, "Children who give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership capacity, or specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities."

Characteristics of Gifted Students Gifted students exhibit several common characteristics, as outlined in the following list. As in the case of learning disabled students, giftedness usually means a combination of factors in varying degrees and amounts. A gifted student … 

·        Has a high level of curiosity.

·        Has a well-developed imagination.

·        Often gives uncommon responses to common queries.

·        Can remember and retain a great deal of information.

·        Can not only pose original solutions to common problems but can also pose original problems, too.

·        Has the ability to concentrate on a problem or issue for extended periods of time.

·        Is capable of comprehending complex concepts.

·        Is well organized.

·        Is excited about learning new facts and concepts.

·        Is often an independent learner.

Teaching Gifted Students

If there's one constant about gifted students it's the fact that they're full of questions (and full of answers). They're also imbued with a sense of inquisitiveness. Providing for their instructional needs is not an easy task and will certainly extend you to the full limits of your own creativity and inventiveness. Keep some of these instructional strategies in mind: 

·        Allow gifted students to design and follow through on self-initiated projects. Have them pursue questions of their own choosing. 

·        Provide gifted students with lots of open-ended activities—activities for which there are no right or wrong answers or any preconceived notions. 

·        Keep the emphasis on divergent thinking—helping gifted students focus on many possibilities rather than any set of predetermined answers. 

·        Provide opportunities for gifted youngsters to engage in active problem-solving. Be sure the problems assigned are not those for which you have already established appropriate answers but rather those that will allow gifted students to arrive at their own conclusions. 

·        Encourage gifted students to take on leadership roles that enhance portions of the classroom program (Note: gifted students are often socially immature.) 

·        Provide numerous opportunities for gifted students to read extensively about subjects that interest them.

·        Work closely with the school librarian and public librarian to select and provide trade books in keeping with students' interests. 

·        Provide numerous long-term and ex-tended activities that allow gifted students the opportunity to engage in a learning project over an extended period of time.