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What are adaptations and accommodations?

Adaptations are changes that make learning- or work- more manageable for someone, whether he / she has a diagnosis of LD or not. Some examples are:
  • Changes in the pace of learning
  • Changes in the amount of material presented at one time
  • Changes in the environment (e.g., alternate lighting, quiet workspace)
Accommodations are legally required adaptations that ensure adults with (diagnosed) LD an equal chance for success. An accommodation is a change that
  • Is required by law
  • Helps people with disabilities have a fair chance for success
  • Gives an equal chance to work in, learn in, and enter a building
  • Is chosen for the individual person's need; and
  • Is needed when you do similar tasks in other places
Types of accommodations include:
  • Using special equipment
  • Doing work a different way
  • Doing work in a different place; or
  • Changing how others think about disabilities.
Sample accommodations include:
  • Private setting for learning and testing, free from interruptions and distractions
  • Extra time to complete tasks
  • Note-takers
  • Repeated instructions or directionsLarge print text or Braille text readers
  • Sign-language interpreters
  • Assistive Technologies

How does Assistive Technology (AT) provide accommodations?

Technology can assist in many ways and with many tasks. The use of technology can be as simple as using an audiotape to record a lecture or as complex as using a computer program for reading or writing.

Learning Disabilities and Assistive Technologies is an excellent online guide sponsored by Tools for Life, the Georgia Assistive Technology Project. It answers the following questions:
  • As an instructor what do you need to know about assistive technology?
  • What is the most effective instruction to use for individuals with learning disabilities?
  • How do you match the needs of the individual with the available technology?
  • What is some of the technology out there?
  • What funding is available?

How do you figure out the specific accommodations that help?

JAN: Worksite Accommodations Ideas for People with Learning Disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Disorder. JAN, the Job Accommodations Network, provides the user with definitions, examples for various forms of LD (reading,writing,etc.) and case studies.

Bridges to Practice, Guidebook 4: The Teaching/Learning Process (2.3MB) provides a framework for selecting accommodations that address information processing and cognitive differences. See pages 13-19.

"The Learning Disabilities Adaptations & Accommodations Guide," developed by the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center, is an excellent resource for teachers and learners as they plan together.

JAN: Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR). In another useful resource, JAN helps you explore workplace accommodation options by moving through a step by step process.

What about the cost?

Most accommodations are not that expensive. To get a sense of Low Cost Solutions, click here. The Job Accommodation Network outlines 'situations & solutions' to accommodation needs.

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