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Questions + Answers

Accommodations & Modifications

Frequent questions

  • Question 1: How do I get a 504 Plan for my child?
  • Question 2: Can a child with an IEP receive accommodations on standardized tests and the SAT as well as in the classroom?
  • Question 3: Where can I find information on external accommodations for students with dysgraphia?
  • Question 4: How specific an accommodation can I request in my child's IEP?
  • Question 5: How do I handle a child who refuses to use the accommodations determined by her IEP team?
  • Question 6: What are some test modifications available to students with IEPs?
  • Question 7: Can my son receive modifications and use assistive technology during the SAT?

Expert answers

1) How do I get a 504 Plan for my child?

As a parent, it is within your rights to request a 504 evaluation for your child. This evaluation is free and will be conducted at the public school that he attends. If he is home-schooled or goes to a private school, then you should request the evaluation from the public school that he would otherwise attend.

These articles provide information about 504 plans:

2) Can a child with an IEP receive accommodations on standardized tests and the SAT as well as in the classroom?

According to Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, testing modifications are one of the accommodations schools can offer in the interest of providing a fair, appropriate public education (FAPE) for all students. You should check with your school and IEP team, however, to determine which accomodations are appropriate for your child. The following link discusses the parameters of IEP legislation:

In addition, you may find the following books useful:

Finally, you may wish to contact the following organizations that specialize in advocacy and legal rights of parents:

3) Where can I find information on external accommodations for students with dysgraphia?

LD OnLine has a detailed article on accomodations, modifications, and remediations for children with dysgraphia:

4) How specific an accommodation can I request in my child's IEP?

Accommodations in the classroom, used on a daily basis, can include:

  • Taped textbooks available through Learning Ally
  • Extended time on tests
  • Tutoring
  • Use of a note taker, for students who have trouble listening in class and taking notes
  • Use of a scribe during test taking, for students who have trouble writing but who can express their answers verbally to the scribe, who writes down the responses
  • Use of a reader during test taking, for students who have trouble reading test questions
  • Tape recording of class lectures
  • Testing in a quiet place, for students who are easily distracted

Here are some links that give more information and examples of accommodations and modifications:

You can also find information on accommodations from Wrightslaw, a website that provides reliable information about special education law and advocacy for children with disabilities. This site defines accommodations for tests as "changes in how a test is administered that do not substantially alter what the test measures; includes changes in presentation format, response format, test setting or test timing. Appropriate accommodations are made to level the playing field, i.e., to provide equal opportunity to demonstrate knowledge."

This gives teachers some flexibility in how they provide the accommodation, but requires them to gives students alternative ways of demonstrating content knowledge.

5) How do I handle a child who refuses to use the accommodations determined by her IEP team?

First you should find out why the child is resisting. If she is self-conscious about doing things differently than her peers, you may want to give her options that do not call attention to her accommodations or single her out in any way. As her confidence grows, you could talk to her about how to explain her accommodations to other students.

If she is simply resistant to change, it would probably be most effective for you to develop a type of behavior modification/reward system that is appealing for this child. This takes the emphasis and the power struggle off of the accommodations and onto the positive aspects of the behavior modification system. As she becomes more accustomed to using them, they will most likely become less of an issue and you can begin to slowly remove the tangible reinforcements until the benefits of the accommodations themselves are their own reward.

6) What are some test modifications available to students with IEPs?

There are many testing modifications that may be available to learners. Please be aware that modifications vary among students, grade levels, specific tests, and school and state requirements. The following links provide general information about accommodations as well as specific accommodations provided in various districts.

7) Can my son receive modifications and use assistive technology during the SAT?

ETS, the publisher of the SAT, offers many options for its test-takers, but the process for getting approval takes seven weeks at the minimum. In most cases, the evaluation and diagnostic testing documentation needs to have been completed within 5 years of the request for modifications.

Your child may request to use AT for his documented disability. Note that there are no additional fees for any testing modifications.

For more information on the documentation criteria, please visit Services for Students with Disabilities (College Board). You can also contact ETS Disability Services directly at 1-866-387-8602.

Also, there are several online practice sites where your child can gain practice and familiarity with the computer-based test format. Check out the practice sections and tests at:

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