Any student who is staffed into special education will need accommodations set up for him. Setting up these accommodations isn't a very difficult process, but it is a very important one!
- Hold an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting for the student. The special education teacher will send out an IEP notice. This notice will state that special education accommodations are going to be set up for the student who needs them, along with the date and the time of the meeting.
- Every person important to the child's education should be invited. This means the parents, a general education teacher (if the student is in any general education classes), the principal of the school and any support staff. Support staff may include a social worker, the school counselor and any outside support staff like a caseworker from the court system. Anyone who plays a part in the student's life at school should be invited to the meeting for accommodations.
- Everyone attending the meeting should come with suggestions about accommodations that the student will need to be successful in school. The special education teacher will also make a list of her own accommodations that she deems necessary. For the most part, the special education teacher will have the best accommodation ideas because she will be the person who is with the student the most during the school day. It is important, though, that everyone who is invited to the meeting bring ideas to the table.
- Once everyone has signed the appropriate attendance form, the meeting can begin. The meeting usually begins with the special education teacher sharing the exact reason for the meeting and some information about the student. Every person at the meeting can share individual stories about the student that may help generate some accommodation ideas. Afterward, the special education teacher will go through her list of necessary accommodations for that student.
- Then everyone at the meeting can have their say about what accommodations they think may be needed. For example, the special education teacher may have stated many academic and behavioral accommodations that are needed for this student to be successful at school, but she may not know that the student needs a language accommodation from the speech pathologist. This is the time that other staff members share what they think is needed for success.
- Conclude the meeting after accommodations have been determined, discussed and approved. The special education teacher's job isn't done yet though. She must write the accommodations down on the proper page for the IEP and then distribute the copies to everyone the student will come in contact with who needs to know these accommodations.
- Record the accommodations in the IEP and keep it updated as the school year progresses. The special education teacher should also speak to the student and share with him the accommodations that are in place in his IEP. This is an important step when dealing with special education accommodations because, many times, the student isn't aware of what his accommodations are and sometimes, if the special education teacher isn't always with him, the accommodations may be overlooked.
It is important for the child to be his own advocate and remind the adult of specific accommodations. For instance, the student may have the accommodation of having all tests read to him. Many times in the general classroom the teacher gets distracted or forgets about this accommodation and just hands the student his test to take. The special education student should know that this accommodation is in his IEP and he needs to remind the general education teacher of the need to have the test read to him.
Setting up special education accommodations is really a very easy process, especially when every person involved in the process comes prepared with ideas. These accommodations are very important for a special education student to be as successful as possible in school; many times without them, the student will struggle, which is the last thing anyone wants.