Both in education and in the workplace, the terms modifications and accommodations are used to describe changes made to help someone with a disability succeed. Through the years, these terms have been used interchangeably, even though they both have different meanings.
The term “accommodation” refers to changes in the procedures, however, does not result in a change of what is measured. For example, if a student receives additional time or takes a test in the resource center to minimize distractions, then the procedures for the test are changed, but how the test is graded or measured remains the same.
Additional examples of accommodations:
- Allowing extra time to take a test
Allowing tests to be taken in a quieter environment
Seating in front of room
Hands on activities
Working in small groups
Using school organizers
Having a teacher assistant or classmate help with gathering supplies and books for homework
Receiving test study guides from the teacher
Using positive reinforcement behavior strategies in the classroom
Extra communication between parents and teachers
Reducing homework to every other question to be completed
On the other hand, if a child is given an oral spelling test rather than a written one, the actual test would be changed, making it a “modification.” Other examples of modifications would include being allowed to use a calculator during a test or having the number of questions reduced. Modifications can also be changes in curriculum.
Additional examples of modifications:
- Simplifying lessons for lower levels of understanding
Reducing reading levels
Adjusting grading to weighted grading
Most children with ADHD will require accommodations rather than modifications. The exact needs of a child are determined by a team. This team normally includes parents, teachers, school psychologists and school administrators. This team works together to determine the needs of the student and to create a positive learning environment.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.