School Accommodations

School Accommodations

Kids with learning and attention issues often face barriers to learning. For instance, if your child has ADHD, they may not be able to sit still long enough to do math problems.

If they have reading issues, they may struggle to learn history from a traditional textbook. However, there are changes in the classroom called accommodations that can remove these barriers.

Purpose of accommodations

Accommodations are changes that remove barriers and provide your child with equal access to learning. Accommodations don’t change what your child is learning. Rather, they change how your child is learning.

Accommodations don’t change what your child is expected to know or learn. They don’t lower expectations.

Types of accommodations

Accommodations work best when they target a specific barrier or challenge. For instance, for the child who can’t sit still to do math, an accommodation may be frequent breaks. For the child who struggles to write out answers on tests, an accommodation may be to have her give answers orally. The accommodation matches the need.

Categories of accommodations

Here are four categories of accommodations for different needs.

Presentation: A change in the way information is presented. Example: Letting a child with dyslexia to audiobooks instead of reading printed text.

Response: A change in the way a child completes assignments or tests. Example: Providing a keyboard to a child who struggles with handwriting when she’s writing an essay.

Setting: A change in the environment where a child learns. Example: Allowing a child with ADHD to take a test in a separate room with fewer distractions.

Timing and scheduling: A change to the time a child has for a task. Example: Providing extra time on homework for a child who has slow processing speed.

Getting accommodations for your child

If you think accommodations may help your child, talk to their teacher. Often, the teacher may agree to informal supports.

These simple changes don’t require paperwork. It doesn’t take much, for example, for the teacher to move your child’s seat away from a noisy classroom door that’s distracting.

If your child needs bigger changes, however, you may want to seek formal accommodations. Under federal law, kids with disabilities have the right to equal access to learning.

This means accommodations for their disabilities, which can include learning and attention issues. To exercise this right, you must ask the school to evaluate your child.

Extended School Year (ESY)

Maintaining Skills During ESY

About ESY Services

What is ESY? ESY services are not the same thing as summer school. They’re specialized instruction or related services that are part of your child’s IEP.

Extended School Year (ESY) services are provided to students, grades PreK through 12, whose IEP team decided that the benefits the student gained during the regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if the student does not receive ESY services.

If your child receives ESY services, they’re at no cost to you, under FAPE. ESY services are provided when school’s not typically in session.

Providing ESY Services and Transportation

All ESY services and transportation are provided free of charge as a part of the student’s access to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE), in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004.

ESY Supports and Services

In the United States, Extended School Year (ESY) services are designed to support a student with a disability as documented under the Individuals With Disabilities (IDEA).

Receiving ESY Services

ESY services are designed to maintain the academic, social/behavioral, communication, or other skills that they have learned as part of their IndividualizedEducation Program (IEP) or Section 504 accommodation plan.

To receive ESY services, the student must have evidenced substantial regression and recoupment issues during the previous IEP year and/or there is evidence of emerging skills which are often referred to as “breakthrough” skills.

The focus of the services provided to the student as part of an ESY program are generally not upon learning new skills or “catching up” to grade level, but rather to provide practice to maintain previously acquired or learned skills.

For some cases ESY is focused on the continuing of education for students whose rate of progress is insufficient to enable effective progress during the regular school year.

Determinations for ESY services

If a student has received ESY services in previous years the student may not be eligible in future years as determinations for eligibility of ESY services are made annually by the IEP or 504 plan.

Determinations for eligibility of ESY services include the parent, and student age 16 or older. The mandatory age at which a student must be included will vary by State, but the Federal law states no later than age 16.

Meet with the IEP team if your child needs ESY services.

4th Quarter IEP Referrals

It’s not too late. Usually, a parent or school will know before 4th quarter if a student is making progress, or not.

Between work samples, tests, quizzes, and quarterly report card grades, this information should be regularly shared.

However, sometimes it’s not always clear. If it’s 4th quarter, and you are concerned about your child’s school progress, take action.

School Work Samples

Collect work samples to show areas of growth for your child. You will also need to have work samples to show areas of need.

Compare your child’s school work with the report card grades. There should be correlation to show where the grades are coming from.


Reading and Math interventions are used when there is an academic need. There is no one size fits all approach to interventions. Based on data, students are placed into groups to address the areas needing intervention.

There should be baseline data to determine the student’s academic level of functioning. After a pre-determined amount of time, say 5-6 weeks, assessments should show progress and pinpoint any additional needs.

Request An IEP

March and April are very busy times for schools due to academic testing as well as Psycho Educational testing and other testing for Special Education.

However, if you request an IEP in writing for your child, due to academic or social emotional concerns, the school has to acknowledge your request. They will either schedule a meeting, or they can deny your request. If your request is denied, another course of action can be implemented.

Permission To Test

If the school schedules a meeting to discuss your concerns, bring any work samples and/or previous report cards you have demonstrating the area of need you are concerned about.

Your child’s Teacher should bring this documentation to the meeting but you can also bring what you have.

Timelines In Compliance

To maintain compliance, there are strict timelines to be followed which allow for scheduling of meetings, testing, interpretation, and eligibility.


The decision to qualify a student for an IEP is based on multiple pieces of data , including the testing. After careful discussion and evaluation of all data, decisions are made. Whatever is decided, you should walk out of the eligibility meeting with suggestions on how to help your child moving forward.

This could result on qualifying for an IEP or it may be a documented list of suggestions based on the data snd needs of the student.

It may seem like it’s too late, but it’s not.

Requesting An IEP Review

A parent can request an IEP review any time throughout the school year. but at least once per year. However, a parent can request one as often as needed throughout year. It does not have to take place only once per year when it’s due.

According to Wrightslaw, “The IEP team must revise the IEP to address:any lack of expected progressresults of any reevaluationinformation provided by the parents anticipated needs”.

If you have concerns about your child’s progress in school, or anything effecting them negatively in school, you may request an IEP review.

The school will work around your schedule as best as they can to get the meeting scheduled quickly. If it is a busy time of year, with a lot of testing going on, you may be asked to wait a little longer.

If there are concerns, we would not suggest waiting. Allow the school one or two weeks to bring you in for the IEP review.

It’s a good idea to let the school know what concerns you will be addressing at the meeting, and inform them that you are expecting to see data when you meet. Data can be in the form of work samples, tests, quizzes, checklists, behavior charts, etc…

Address your concerns at the meeting, review the data, and ask for any needed clarification if needed.

After the meeting and when you leave, you should have a clear sense of what the plan will be moving forward to address your concerns, and assurance of who will be involved in implementation of any needed services.

Also before leaving the meeting, request a follow-up meeting to be scheduled within the next 4-6 weeks to come back in and review for progress.

Needing An IEP

Over the last 20 years, I’ve had many parents ask “does my child need an Individualized Education Program (IEP)? If you are asking this question, then the following steps can be taken.


Maintain ongoing communication with your child’s Teacher. This does not have to be emails and written notes every day. Sometimes that is needed but not always. Determine the amount of communication as soon as possible with your child’s Teacher. Then, determine if that communication will take place electronically or in writing.

Review your child’s classwork, homework, tests, quizzes, and report card grades. If you notice they are not making sufficient progress, then that’s cause for concern. You can begin by talking with your child’s Teacher and sharing your concerns about progress.


Verbally or in writing, refer your child for an IEP. Give the reasons why you are requesting the meeting. It’s best to make the request in writing, and attach documentation to support the reason for the referral whenever possible.

The referral can come from a parent, Teacher, Local Screening Chairperson, Administrator, or any other Service Provider. It does not have to be a complicated or typewritten letter. It can be as simple as writing your request on a sheet of paper, and turning it in to the Teacher or other school personnel.


Once the referral has been made, the school has 15 days to respond. Based on the response from the school, that will determine next steps.

In simple terms, if the school agrees and says yes, then a meeting will be scheduled to discuss data and determine if additional testing is needed. If the school says no, then there is Due Process which requires another set of steps to be taken.


Begin gathering your documentation, and keep track of your child’s progress. Decisions are made based on a variety of data and should not rely on one source. This initial phase of making a referral can be complicated but with the right documentation and following a plan of action, you can get results.

Making Progress In School

Making Progress In School

The question that every parent asks at one point or another. “Is My Child Making Progress”?

If you don’t know the answer to that question no need to get upset. Take action now. How?

Current Levels of Performance In School

Find out where your child is currently functioning in Reading and Math. Also find out what current level your child is being instructed at. There is a difference between the current level of functioning and current level of instruction. If not implemented strategically, your child’s progress in school can stall.

Ask the Teacher. If he or she does not know the answer to that question that should be an immediate cause for concern but don’t panic.

It’s not the end of the world if your child’s Teacher does not know their current level of performance. Work with your child’s Teacher and give a reasonable timeline to have this information documented.

Your Child’s Grades

You should be getting regular updates from your child’s Teacher regarding grades. By the time the report card goes home each quarter, the information on their should not be a surprise. The report card is not the place where you as the parent should be learning this information about your child for the first time.

If it is, work with your child’s Teacher and let them know you want regular updates on grades. You decide along with the Teacher how often this should occur. The main thing is not to wait until the report card comes to find out information about your child’s grades.

Home School Communication

Communication between home and school is key. Without it, your child’s progress can be impacted. Progress in the form of academics, social, and emotional. So much can happen in a day or a week.

Work with your child’s Teacher to determine a method of communication. This can be electronically, or in the form of handwritten notes. The method doesn’t matter as long as communication is happening on a regular basis. This is especially important for students with special needs that are nonverbal, or those with communication deficits.

These are just a few tips for parents to determine if your child is making progress in school. You also want to make sure progress continues.

For more information on school progress for your child, communication tips, and starting the conversation with your child’s Teacher, feel free to contact me with your questions

Confidential consultations, mediation, and advocacy services available. Please complete the contact page for more info.


Welcome to All Can Learn Educational Consulting. We are a group of Educators with over 20 years experience meeting the needs of students with Special Needs.

For the parents, you are your child’s most important advocate. The Education process, which may also include Special Education services, can be compared to a maze.

However, with the guidance of experienced Educators, your child can and will be successful. However, you do need the best resources, a plan of action, and effective implementation.

Looking forward to any questions and opportunities to promote success of students with special needs.

Confidential consultations, and referral services available. Please complete the contact page for more info.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us on the journey!  For some, the journey began as a Special Education Teacher or General Education Teacher. For others the journey began as a parent of a child with special needs.

It’s not always an easy road to travel but the experiences are priceless.  Parents and Teachers can learn about the necessary tools to help navigate through the complicated Educational process.  

Maybe your child is not making sufficient progress in school.  Or, it could be a medical diagnosis that may require accommodations.

There are steps you can take to get results.  

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


Confidential consultations, and referral services available. Please complete the contact page for more info.