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Special Education Terminology



Updated May 16, 2014
Accommodations, Strategies, and Modifications are all common terms used in Special Education today.

Accommodations refer to the actual teaching supports and services that the student may require to successfully demonstrate learning. Accommodations should not change expectations to the curriculum grade levels.


  • taped books
  • math charts
  • additional time
  • oral test
  • oral reports
  • preferred seating
  • study carrel
  • amplified system
  • braille writer
  • adapted keyboard
  • specialized software
  • Modifications refer to changes made to curriculum expectations in order to meet the needs of the student. Modifications are made when the expectations are beyond the students level of ability. Modifications may be minimal or very complex depending on the student performance. Modifications must be clearly acknowledged in the IEP.


  • second language exemptions
  • withdrawal for specific skills
  • include student in same activity but individualize the expectations and materials
  • student is involved in same theme/unit but provide different task and expectations
  • Strategies refer to skills or techniques used to assist in learning. Strategies are individualized to suit the student learning style and developmental level.


  • highlighting
  • rehearsal
  • color coding
  • memory joggers
  • visual cues
  • number lines
  • alphabet strips
  • keyring sight words
  • flip chart
  • organization/transition cards
  • jello powder, play doe, seed spelling
  • window paint
  • bingo dapper
  • stencils
  • ink stamps
  • Remember, when developing and implementing accommodations, strategies and modifications, what works for one student may not work for another. Keep it individualized for optimum success!

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