Understanding Accommodations Needed

By Courtney Tabor-... on Nov 28, 2016

As students prepare to transition from school to adult life, they also become responsible for requesting, obtaining, and advocating for their own accommodations. For most students, this is a huge responsibility to take on, the breadth of which may be difficult to fully comprehend. Many students are used to their accommodations being planned and provided for them by their IEP team, but have taken little part in this process.

The following activity encourages students to become aware of and think critically about the accommodations they receive at school.


  • Writing materials or another format for the student to record information
  • Copy of the student’s IEP


  1. Ask student to make a list of all of the accommodations she currently receives in school. Try not to do too much coaching beforehand; this is just to get the student’s mind flowing and to start a conversation.
  2. Obtain a copy of the student’s IEP. If the student is able, ask her to obtain a copy. This will be a good exercise for her to figure out who to ask and how to find the information she needs. Can she get a copy of the IEP in an accessible format?
  3. Together with the student, consult the accommodations page of the IEP. Review the accommodations with her, comparing them with the list she made. Were there any things she missed?
  4. Using the list of accommodations on her IEP, ask the student to reflect on the following:
    • Are these accommodations working for me?
    • Are there any that I feel I don’t need?
    • Are there any I wish I had that are not listed?
  5. Continue to reference the IEP accommodations page with the student over time. This list will be helpful as the student prepares for employment and/or post-secondary education.


Many students may find this activity too involved or complex. Alternatives include:

  • Have a conversation with a student about what an accommodation is
  • Through hands-on examples, help the student to identify some accommodations she uses throughout her day
  • Create a social story with the student about what it means to get help and some of the things that help her. For example, “My wheelchair helps me to get to my classroom” or “When I’m upset and need to take a break, music helps me to feel calm.”

Accommodations collage

Total Life Learning by Wendy Bridgeo,‎ Beth Caruso,‎ & Mary Zatta

Cover of Total Life Learning

The Total Life Learning curriculum was developed for students ages 3 to 22 who are blind, visually impaired including those students who have additional disabilities or are deafblind. The focus is on the development of life and career goals that enable student to maximize independence, self-determination, employability, and participation in the community.