Section 5: Supplementary Aids and Services
Supplementary Aids and Services include Accommodations, Modifications, Assistive Technology, and Adult Support. These aids and services should be applied to all general education and special education instruction as appropriate and reviewed annually.
Program accommodations and modifications must be specific and appropriate to meet the needs of the child as defined in the IEP. The purpose of accommodations and modifications is to enable the child to advance appropriately toward attaining their annual goals; to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; to participate in extracurricular and other non-academic activities; and to be educated and participate with other children with and without disabilities.
Accommodations are changes to instruction that change how a student learns. Accommodations may relate to the presentation of material, how the student responds, the environment, timing or scheduling, organization, behavioral interventions and support, and instructional strategies. Accommodations should be used and evaluated for their effectiveness before considering modifications.
Modifications are changes to the content/delivery of instruction and/or performance criteria, which affect what the student learns. For example, if the content standard is that students will learn multiplication facts and the expectation is that the students will achieve mastery of the multiplication facts 0-9, a performance criteria modification would be that the student would be assessed on the mastery of multiplication facts 0-5.
An assistive technology device is any piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of that device. An assistive technology service is any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
Adult Support as a supplementary aid and service is support provided by an adult (for example, 1:1 paraprofessional, Sign Language Interpreter, RN/LPN) directly to the student. In this context, adult support does not include classroom paraprofessionals that are assigned to assist a teacher in providing instruction to a class or small groups of students – that type of support should be recorded as an Indirect Service (see section 8).
The PPT should list the specific accommodations, modifications, assistive technology devices and services, and adult support as they relate to the individual needs of the student as established by the present levels of performance and the annual goals and objectives. Many accommodations are effective instructional practices and are used for all students by effective teachers; however, it should be noted that the distinction between accommodations and effective instructional strategies is what an individual child needs as a result of their disability and must have in order to be involved and progress in general education curriculum.
For example, highlighting key vocabulary words is an effective instructional strategy that most teachers employ as part of their practice; however, this specific student with a learning disability must have key words highlighted. Therefore, although highlighting key words is something that is already done in the seventh-grade classroom, the PPT should record that this student must have key words highlighted in order to ensure that this accommodation is provided. Conversely, not all effective instructional strategies, although they enhance the instruction of the student with a disability, are necessary to address the student’s needs. For example, in the case of a student with an emotional disturbance, having a study guide for tests is a good practice for learning, however, based on the PPTs assessment of the student’s progress and present level of performance, it is not required in order to address the student’s specific learning needs as they relate to the student’s disability.
PPTs should be thoughtful in the decisions regarding accommodations, modifications, assistive technology, and adult support in order to ensure that the selection specifically addresses the learning needs of an individual student as they relate to the disability and the participation and progress in general education curriculum, appropriate preschool activities, summative assessments, extra-curricular and non-academic activities, and participation with students without disabilities. The decision to continue or fade the use of specific supplementary aids and services should be discussed at least annually by the PPT.
The area(s)/location(s) for use of each supplementary aid and service must be identified in the IEP. While some of the supplementary aids and services may be needed throughout the day (in other words, “All Areas” “All Classes”), others may only be needed in specific settings (for example, “Lunch” “Vocational Activities”). The PPT should consider how the accommodations, modifications, assistive technology devices and services, and adult support will appropriately serve the specific needs of the student in the various types of settings and activities that the student will encounter throughout the school day and year. Not all of the items may need to be implemented all day long for every school setting or activity.
IEP supplementary aids and services will be provided for the duration of the IEP unless otherwise specified. If particular aids and services are not needed for the entire time covered by the IEP, the duration may be narrowed by the selection of the area(s)/locations for the aid or service (for example, “Computer Science,” which the student will only take Semester 1). The shorter durational period can also be noted in the “Recommendations” section of the IEP document.