Accommodations for Students With Special Needs

Teacher Checklist to Maximize Accommodations

Young woman teacher reading a story to a boy in a wheelchair

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Rarely are there specific lesson plans for special education. Teachers take existing lesson plans and provide either accommodations or modifications to enable the student with special needs to have optimum success. This tip sheet will focus on four areas where one can make special accommodations to support special needs students in the inclusive classroom. Those four areas include:

1.) Instructional Materials

2.) Vocabulary

2.) Lesson Content

4.) Assessment

Instructional Materials

  • Are the materials you select for the instruction conducive to meeting the child(ren) with special needs?
  • Can they see, hear, or touch the materials to maximize learning?
  • Are the instructional materials selected with all of the students in mind?
  • What are your visuals and are they appropriate for all?
  • What will you use to demonstrate or simulate the learning concept?
  • What other hands-on materials can you use to ensure that the students with needs will understand learning concepts?
  • If you are using overheads, are there extra copies for students who need to see it closer or have it repeated?
  • Does the student have a peer that will help?


  • Do the students understand the vocabulary necessary for the specific concept you are going to teach?
  • Is there a need to focus first on the vocabulary prior to starting the lesson?
  • How will you introduce the new vocabulary to the students?
  • What will your overview look like?
  • How will your overview engage the students?

Lesson Content

  • Does your lesson focus completely on the content, does what the students do extend or lead them to new learning? (Wordsearch activities rarely lead to any learning)
  • What will ensure that the students are engaged?
  • What type of review will be necessary?
  • How will you ensure that students are understanding?
  • Have you built in time for a breakout or change in activity?
  • Many children have difficulty sustaining attention for lengthy periods of time. Have you maximized assistive technology where appropriate for specific students?
  • Do the students have an element in choice for the learning activities?
  • Have you addressed the multiple learning styles?
  • Do you need to teach the student specific learning skills for the lesson? (How to stay on task, how to keep organized, how to get help when stuck etc).
  • What strategies are in place to help re-focus the child, continue to build self-esteem and prevent the child from being overwhelmed?


  • Do you have alternate means of assessment for students with special needs (word processors, oral or taped feedback)?
  • Do they have a longer timeline?
  • Have you provided checklists, graphic organizers, or/and outlines?
  • Does the child have reduced quantities?

In Summary

Overall, this may seem like a lot of questions to ask yourself to ensure that all students have maximized learning opportunities. However, once you get into the habit of this type of reflection as you plan each learning experience, you will soon be a pro at ensuring the inclusional classroom works as best as it can to meet your diverse group of students. Always remember that no two students learn the same, be patient, and continue to differentiate both instruction and assessment as much as possible.


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Your Citation
Watson, Sue. "Accommodations for Students With Special Needs." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Watson, Sue. (2023, April 5). Accommodations for Students With Special Needs. Retrieved from Watson, Sue. "Accommodations for Students With Special Needs." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 4, 2023).