Intellectual Disabilities - Accommodations
For the inclusion of students with an intellectual disability, the receiving teacher must be aware of the cognitive, academic, and behavioral levels of the student. With this information they will be able to accommodate or modify lessons, while implementing successful instructional strategies to meet student needs. The special education case manager is your source for this information along with the general educations teacher’s participation in the IEP process. Some accommodations, modifications, and strategies designed to facilitate meaningful participation for students with intellectual disabilities include:
- Adjust the amount of required work. Students with intellectual disabilities may be capable of completing a portion, but not all of the work required of their non-disabled peers. Shortened writing assignments or a reduced number of math problems is a standard accommodation for students with needs that may limit their task output ability.
- Adjust the amount of time provided for a task. Students with intellectual disabilities may require additional time to complete assigned tasks, even if those tasks have been modified. Allow the student additional time so they are not pressured to rush and so they can better perform to their ability.
- Allow for multiple means to demonstrate learning. For instance, be willing to accept verbal reports of information when appropriate for ELA assignments. Students may be better able to discuss a subject rather than complete and turn in more involved writing assignments.
- Determine in advance the level of learning to take place. It is sometimes appropriate to adjust the level of expectation with regard to DOK or Bloom’s Taxonomy to best meet student needs. For instance, if lessons involve extended thinking (DOK Level 4) or evaluation (Bloom’s Level 5), be willing to modify to lower levels of rigor to meet student ability levels and keep them actively involved in the assignment.
- Match students with intellectual disabilities with their non-disabled peers. There will be assignments and activities that lend themselves to this strategy. Assignments can be turned in as partners, with the non-disabled peer taking the leadership role while the student with a disability takes a supporting role.
- Allow for use of calculators for math assignments or word processors for ELA assignments. Since the learning of a standard may be only a percentage of student need, the use of calculators for math assignments becomes an appropriate modification so long as agreed to by the IEP team. The same is true for students who are capable of some writing but who may require the use of a word processor to demonstrate learning.