The behavior intervention plan will likely contain some accommodations and modifications related to the students behaviors. However, the accommodation and modification summary is geared specifically to teaching and learning.
Accommodations and modifications are not the same. Accommodations are designed to enable the student to access grade level content and stay on the same track as peers. Modifications basically alter the expectations, lowering content standards. My students with severe disabilities are on an alternate and functional curriculum, which is a major modification from the regular state curriculum of Georgia Performance Standards everyone else has to follow. The state is in the process of aligning its alternate assessments with these standards, so that even our kids are supposed to be working on some grade level things.
Crazy, I know.
But for students who are not as severely disabled or involved, accommodations rule the day. I’m including a link to some good material covering accommodations that reflects current policy and practice and is aligned to both NCLB and the latest IDEA.
I’m keeping this section short for a couple of reasons. One, is that it is not one that I have to deal with regularly. Others can speak on it with more authority than I can. Also I want to spend more time and energy on the goals section.
This is not to say accommodations and modifications are unimportant. In fact, this section of the IEP often results in more contention and litigation than any other. This is the section of the IEP that often impacts regular ed. teachers the most. Accommodations are NOT optional for teachers. I have heard of them being somewhat optional for students, in that they often choose not to take the extra time or take advantage of extra support in their accommodations. But it is up to the case manager to make sure a student’s teachers know what the accommodations are.
A while back, there was some discussion as to how to word these things. Coach Brown advised making the language as vague as possible. As a behaviorist, that really goes against my grain. The problem with ambiguity is that no one will know what the expectation is. If the teacher interprets wording of the accommodation one way and the parent another, you are basically asking for a judge’s intervention in the matter. For instance, “extra time”; does this mean days, hours or minutes?
Being vague on this score is asking for trouble from a contentious parent/student. Specifics protect everyone involved from abuse of the system by teachers, students and parents. Once it is written and signed, this is what you all have to live with. When I LEA an IEP for students with mild disabilities, I make sure to question the regular education teacher regarding the accommodations in order to determine how reasonable they are and if they are adequate and effective. As special educators, we often don’t have a very good sense of what works for regular ed. teachers. Having some detail might help give more novice regular ed. teachers (who seem to often end up with the most involved kids) some direction and guidance as to what to do with these students. Therefore, if you are a regular ed. teacher serving students with IEPs, the accommodations section of the IEP is your most crucial component. Special educators need to make sure to solicit input from regular ed. teachers who are attending the meeting here, if no where else, since regular educators often are a bit dazed and confused when it comes to IEP meetings. And who can blame them? I’M often dazed and confused with the whole process!