Saturday, July 30, 2011

Let's talk accommodations and modifications...

For your disabled and/or adopted children...

First off, modifications are things that have changed in the actual things that are being TAUGHT.  For instance, if a child in 1st grade isn't ready for two digit addition, then the MODIFICATION is that the curriculum changes and 1 digit addition is done with that child.  The accommodation made would be crossing off the "tens" column for their work so that all the problems are 1 digit addition again.  Or, if a child is working on addition when subtraction is introduced, change the minus to a plus it is an ACCOMMODATION which changes the activities so that they can be used with a MODIFIED curriculum of addition instead of subtraction.

Clear as mud?

Four of our kids will require modifications and accommodations this year.  The modifications (actual changes to the curriculum) aren't so important right now, because one class (Aleksa, Emma, and Wesley's class) will automatically use a modified curriculum which will be further modified for each of them.  Brianna will be between the regular kindergarten class and this class (a supported level classroom).  The ACCOMMODATIONS that we need to put in place for her are what I'm really interested in.  Not just those that refer to the academics being taught (tho those are great, too, such as those I listed above with math!), but especially with her being involved and capable and independent throughout her school day.

One idea others have shared with me already include a peer buddy (from her Kindergarten class) who will sit next to her in the lunch room and help her to ask for help if she needs it as well as to prompt her to leave when it's time.  Obviously, the first few days/weeks of school this routine is new to EVERYONE, so help will already be available.  But as the other kindergarteners learn the routine, Brianna may take a little longer to get there, or may not be able to tune in to the person on the loudspeaker when there's so much other noise in the cafeteria to start with.

Another was to use something she can do independently that is still educational (such as the iPad) to both supplement the curriculum and be a reward for working on the other skills.  Brianna's kindy teacher has already talked to us about doing this with her, which is very encouraging (but we already know that she is a GREAT teacher!).  Since Brianna's teacher has had many other inclusion students in the past, I know she will have other great ideas as well, but I still want to post up here because I'm sure many of you have created your own modifications or found things that did/did not work for your kids and I value your experience!

1 comment:

  1. My daughter with Down syndrome is now 7 and entering 2nd grade. She was in an inclusive kindergarten except for 45 minutes a day she went to a resource room for math. She did have a full time aide with her. Here are some thoughts about modifications and accomodations that worked for her.

    Our school has a wonderful cadre of volunteer moms, especially in kindergarten. They can be a great unofficial support. There was at least one mom in the classroom for reading every day, reading one on one with kids.

    I had a flexible work schedule that allowed me to volunteer for a full day once every other week. That helped me see what was going on in the classroom and offer suggestions to the teacher and vice versa.

    The school OT, ST, and resource room teacher can offer suggestions to the inclusion teacher for alternative centers/activities. The OT, teacher and I decided together to have my daughter only focus on writing in capital letters in kindergarten.

    Does your child 'bolt'? Talk to the teacher about it. Clarify that she is not ready to travel the halls with only another kindergartner (ie. to the library or nurse) if that is the case. Does the teacher have a plan if she bolts from the classroom? Does the school have a plan for if she gets lost?

    A visual schedule of pictures (stick drawings) can be helpful. Picture of a book for reading time, picture of a lunchbox, picture of pen and paper. The teacher can point to the different pictures when talking about what to work on and what is happening next. I think my daughter's OT actually put this together for the teacher.

    Playing with a set of (duplo?) blocks was my daughters reward/rest time between activities as needed. Or sometimes she was allowed to go look at books quietly in the book corner. Sometimes there was just too much stimulation going on (visual, auditory, social) and she needed more play/rest/quiet time than the other kids were allowed.

    There was blue swing on the playground with a harness my daughter was able to use. She loved swinging but wasn't steady on a regular swing til 1st grade.

    Best of luck to you. Kindergarten was fun and exciting for us, hope it will be for you too!