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Accommodations for Students with LD

By: National Center for Learning Disabilities (2006)

What are accommodations?

Accommodations are alterations in the way tasks are presented that allow children with learning disabilities to complete the same assignments as other students. Accommodations do not alter the content of assignments, give students an unfair advantage or in the case of assessments, change what a test measures. They do make it possible for students with LD to show what they know without being impeded by their disability.

How does a child receive accommodations?

Once a child has been formally identified with a learning disability, the child or parent may request accommodations for that child’s specific needs. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that a child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) team which both parent and child are a part of – must decide which accommodations are appropriate for him or her. Any appropriate accommodations should be written into a student’s IEP.

Here are some examples of possible accommodations for an IEP team to consider, broken into six categories:


Provide on audio tape

Provide in large print

Reduce number of items per page or line

Provide a designated reader

Present instructions orally


Allow for verbal responses

Allow for answers to be dictated to a scribe

Allow the use of a tape recorder to capture responses

Permit responses to be given via computer

Permit answers to be recorded directly into test booklet


Allow frequent breaks

Extend allotted time for a test


Provide preferential seating

Provide special lighting or acoustics

Provide a space with minimal distractions

Administer a test in small group setting

Administer a test in private room or alternative test site

Test Scheduling

Administer a test in several timed sessions or over several days

Allow subtests to be taken in a different order

Administer a test at a specific time of day


Provide special test preparation

Provide on-task/focusing prompts

Provide any reasonable accommodation that a student needs that does not fit under the existing categories

Should accommodations have an impact on how assignments are graded?

School assignments and tests completed with accommodations should be graded the same way as those completed without accommodations. After all, accommodations are meant to “level the playing field”, provide equal and ready access to the task at hand, and not meant to provide an undue advantage to the user.

What if accommodations don’t seem to be helping?

Selecting and monitoring the effectiveness of accommodations should be an ongoing process, and changes (with involvement of students, parents and educators) should be made as often as needed. The key is to be sure that chosen accommodations address students’ specific areas of need and facilitate the demonstration of skill and knowledge.

To find specific technology for particular accommodations, go to Tech Matrix. Choose a subject area and /or a learning support need. The matrix will generate a list of products to consider.

Copyright 2006 by National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.