If a student discloses they have a disability, request a copy of documentation from a professional, prior to implementing accommodations. Examples of documentation include an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or 504 Plan. Both of these are documents used in the K-12 schools. Other acceptable documentation includes a letter or testing results from a doctor, psychiatrist or mental health professional with a diagnosis and acceptable accommodations based on the student’s disability.
Some students may not know they have a disability or disclose they have a disability but have lost previous documentation or are unable to obtain documentation. In these cases please consult with PANDA to determine if the student is appropriate to receive accommodations. Contact PANDA at 763-504-4095 or send us an email. You can also access PANDA’s Adult Intervention for a process to determine student learning difficulties.
Accommodations will depend on the student’s specific disability and needs. For instance, a student with a physical disability may need preferential seating and/or adaptive equipment. For a student who has a specific learning disorder, such as dyslexia, the student may need multisensory instruction, modified assignments, extended testing time, and breaks.
Some of the more common accommodations include:
- Extra time on tests and assignments.
- Allow testing in a private area.
- Allow frequent breaks to help them rejuvenate and refocus.
- Braille or large-print exam booklets.
- Screen reading technology.
- Scribes to transfer answers.
Other classroom strategies to help students with disabilities include the following:
- Allow preferential seating. Sitting at the front of the class helps reduce distractions.
- Modifying assignments by shortening or simplifying content.
- Allow books on tape and oral testing.
- Use visual aids and hands on activities.
- Use multisensory instruction which accesses all parts of the brain. Click below for a handout o multisensory instruction.
- PANDA can provide adaptive equipment, such as line readers, large print keyboards, adaptive mice, screen readers, magnifiers, etc. (Consult with PANDA about your students’ needs).
See specific chapters about the student’s disability for more instructional strategies.
The United States Department of Justice has provided a publication with information about testing accommodations and rights for individuals with disabilities. Click here to view the PDF.