Every child is entitled to receive a free and appropriate education. In fact, it is guaranteed under the law. This covers all children; those who are typically developing and those who have special needs.
However, while all children, no matter what their ability levels are, deserve the same education, if you are a parent of a special needs child, it may seem as if you are living in a world that only accommodates the typically developing. Your child is entitled to receiving the same education as every other child, and it should be accommodated to meet his/her needs.
If it has recently been found that your child does have special needs, you may feel like a fish out of water. There is a lot that comes along with understanding the educational needs that your child requires. There are many terms that you will likely hear that you may not be familiar with, but these terms are crucial and will become a part of your everyday world.
One word you can expect to hear a lot of is ‘accommodation’.
What does it mean? How does it apply to education? How will it affect your child?
Here is a detailed look at accommodations and what they mean in terms of special education.
Accommodation Defined: According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, an accommodation is a change, or an adjustment, to an educational practice that aims to enable a student with special needs to achieve academic success.
It is recognized that a student who has special needs may not be capable of performing in the same way that a typically developing child is able to. As such, accommodations are made to attend to these needs. The aim is to allow special needs students to learn in a manner that meets their specific needs.
Examples of Accommodations: There are several types of accommodations that can be made in order to meet the needs of special needs students. Some examples include:
A student who is unable to write, dictates his/her answers to an aide, who writes the responses.
Time extensions to complete assignments and tests for students who may take longer to process and comprehend questions and provide responses.
Reading aloud exams to students who have visual processing disorders.
Modification systems that correct and reward behaviors.
How Accommodations are Determined: The accommodations your child requires will be based on his/her specific needs.
Under Section 504, a law that guarantees that special needs children will receive the support that they require, your child will receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan will take your child’s needs into consideration and will be used to determine what types of accommodations will allow for ample learning. If your child has a hearing impairment, for example, he/she may be paired up with an aide who specializes in sign language or your child may be given the use of special hearing devices.
Your child has the right to the best education possible. If he/she has special needs, they are entitled to accommodations that meet their needs and provide him/her with an optimal learning experience.