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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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3.1 Adaptations, Accommodations, Modifications: What's the Difference?

The terms adaptations, accommodations, and modifications can be confusing. First, let's clarify the meanings.

Adaptations

Adaptations are any adjustments in the curriculum, instructional components, environmental elements, or requirements or expectations of the student. Adaptations are part of what teachers do to meet the needs of diverse learners. A good teacher attempts to differentiate instruction and make adjustments to enable all students to succeed. The purpose of adaptations is to increase a student's academic achievement and social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. Adaptations in the general education curriculum, intended in federal laws to protect the rights of students with disabilities (IDEA and Section 504), are changes permissible to enable the student equal opportunity to access, results, and benefits in the least restrictive setting. Adaptations may involve adjustments or changes in the following areas:

  • Materials
  • Methods
  • Teaching strategies
  • Pacing
  • Environment
  • Assignments
  • Task demands
  • Grading
  • Testing or evaluation
  • Feedback
  • Lesson presentation
  • Reinforcement
  • Student demonstration of understanding or mastery of content
  • Student response opportunities
  • Location
  • Scheduling
  • Level of support
  • Degree of participation
  • Time allotted
  • Size or quantity of task or assignment

Adaptations include both accommodations and modifications.

Accommodations

Accommodations are adaptations that do not fundamentally change ...

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