For students with an IEP, the district’s obligation is to provide the accommodations and modifications necessary to enable the student to participate in the program. Districts also have an obligation to make reasonable modifications to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities who are on a Section 504 plan. [29 U.S.C. Sec. 794; 34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.12.] Most accommodations and modifications are based on common sense and involve using safety or teaching practices benefiting all students. The most common classroom supports include curriculum modifications, specific instructional strategies, and adaptations of equipment or facilities (such as ramps, accessible desks, Braille manuals, talking terminals, sign language courses, and sensory devices).
Breakthroughs in rehabilitation engineering increasingly benefit students with significant disabilities. Improved design and use of communication, orthopedic and mobility devices assist in the integration process. Specific accommodations or modifications used to facilitate placement in regular vocational programs will depend on a careful analysis of your child’s needs and the specific vocational program. A sample of commonly used classroom supports includes the following:
- Structured orientation period (which could involve parents):
- Peer tutoring;
- Vocational resource teachers;
- Small-group instruction;
- Readers or interpreters;
- Specialized instructional materials;
- Task analysis (breaking down skills to be learned into small parts);
- Large print materials;
- Sound or light signals on equipment;
- Counseling; and
- Adaptation of teaching techniques to the student’s learning style.