2020 Campus Project
About Down Syndrome
Adult Continuing Education (ACE)
Aging and Alzheimer's
Board of Directors
Central Missouri Golf Tournament
Central MO Step Up Walk
Change Attitudes
Classroom Support
Club 3-21 Events
Community Groups
Connections Newsletters
DS Specialists
DSG Central Missouri
DSG Email Blasts
Events Calendar
First Downs High School Fundraiser
First Responders
For Medical Professionals
Fundraising Events
Give to DSG
Health Needs
Inclusion Solutions
Just As I Am
Just Like You
KC Step Up Walk
Keys to Success Conference
Learning Profile
LP Curriculum
New Parents
Past Conferences
Photo Gallery
Private Cellar Wine Tasting and Auction
Refund Request Form
Seminar Series
Services for Schools
Shining STARS
Smart Start
Tee Up for Down Syndrome Golf Tournament
The Good Life Series
Upcoming Events
World Down Syndrome Day



Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City

5960 Dearborn Street Ste. 100
Mission, KS 66202
913-384-4848 Phone
913-384-4949 Fax

Modifcations, Classroom Supports and Accommodations

These are two big buzz words used in special education and are often used interchangeably. However, these two terms do NOT mean the same thing and have very important implications for your child’s learning. It is important to KNOW the difference.

Accommodations are supports and services provided to help a student access the general education curriculum and validly demonstrate learning (see examples below):

  • Time:  extend the time allotted to take a test, finish an assignment, learn a concept, or complete an activity
  • Setting: students can take tests in a distraction free space – potentially a resource room so it is easier for the child to focus. This accommodation may be as easy as preferential seating (does the student need to be close to the board to see or next to the teacher to hear?)
  • Level of support: paraprofessional or peer assistant
  • Reduce Response effort: The use of a calculator, scribe, or word processor to assist the student when an answer is expected. The student still must understand the concept of what is asked in order to accurately manipulate any of these tools.
    **If a student knows their basic math facts, a calculator is an accommodation. If the student does not know their facts, it may be considered a modification.
  • Sensory items: fidgets to help students focus
  • Visual schedules

Modifcations are individualized changes made to the content and performance expectations for students (see examples below):

  • Quantity: Modify the number of items that the child is expected to learn or complete. (Depending on how it is written in the IEP, this could include entire sections of the curriculum. I.E: Only completing the addition portion of a math assignment that also includes subtraction, multiplication and division)
  • Output: How a student responds to instruction
    For Example: Instead of writing an essay, they may be given multiple choice questions. Instead of open-ended questions, they may be given a yes/no strategy option
  • Alternate Goals: Use the general education curriculum while adapting the goal or outcome expectation. For example: Instead of taking the MEAP test, the student takes the MI-Access

So what does this mean for your child? 

  • Modifications will affect a student’s grade.
  • Actual changes are made to the materials passed out by the general education teachers
  • Must consider what you want your child to get from their education. What is the MOST important? Is that different (in some way) than what everyone else is learning?

Find more information at Friendship Circle.

Universal Design for Learning helps ALL students have full access to curriculum. In today’s dynamic, diverse classrooms, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) offers all educators and students an exciting opportunity to use strategies and technologies that bridge the gap in learner skills, interests, and needs. By accommodating students’ diff erent learning styles, UDL is able to transform instruction into a more engaging, meaningful experience.

Accommodation Checklist for Students with Down Syndrome (old)

Accommodations Checklist for Students with Down Syndrome (new version)

ereadingpro offers online books and materials to help students wtih Down syndrome read.

Special Offspring Educational Tools offers education programs and materials for students with Down syndrome and other developmental delays.

Video Peer Modeling

How to Effectively Use Prompts to Teach Individuals with Special Needs

Spelling You See


Inclusion Curriculum

Develop a Differentiation Plan


Differentiation is a BIG word, but where should educators start when it comes to planning?  Consider the term Retro-Fitting.  Is it easier to go back and make changes to something or is it better to plan from the beginning?  Richard Villa provides a template to help identify "mis-matches" between the child and the classroom to help educators plan for inclusion rather than retro-fitting lessons to make inclusion work.  Download a template HERE.