The Bridge School

Self-Determination Program

Accommodations & Modifications

Accommodations change the way a student with a disability accesses the curriculum. An accommodation does not change or alter the standard or expectation of the curriculum. Accommodations can be provided to any student with a disability, even those students who have a disability but do not require special education. (Examples of accommodations are: extended time, enlarged text, quiet work area…).

Curriculum modifications are changes or adjustments made to instructional materials or curriculum content based on the needs of the individual student. Typically, it is the regular education curriculum that is modified for the student who has been identified as requiring special education services. Anytime the content of the curriculum is changed to meet the needs of an individual learner, a modification has taken place. (Examples of curricular modifications are: reducing quantity/complexity of assignment, alternative format for responding…).

Definitions taken from: The Inclusion Notebook

Example of Using FAF with Accommodations

Angela is a 16 year old with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. She is non-ambulatory and severely speech impaired. Angela uses a voice output communication device called a Liberator1 and accesses a computer to complete her written tasks independently. Angela is currently a sophomore fully included in a highly academic high school and has plans to go to college. Angela expressed interest in completing the FAF survey and sharing the information with her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team. Angela completed FAF on two separate occasions. On the first occasion, Angela was an 8th grader preparing to move into high school. At that time, Angela’s communication device, the Liberator, was being repaired so Angela chose to give her responses to the statements by pointing to one of the three written choices: Very Important, Pretty Important, Not Important. She read the statements independently while a partner held the form and then recorded her response. This process required someone to work along side her throughout the entire activity. Upon completing the survey, Angela requested that the next time she completed FAF, she would like to be able to work on it as independently as possible.

This case illustrates how FAF was adapted for independent access for a student with severe physical impairments. Given the adaptations, the student was able to complete the activity at her own pace, privately as well as independently. Angela was able to complete FAF the following year using an adaptive keyboard, the Intellikeys2 with custom designed overlays and a talking word processor program to complete the survey independently. Given these tools, Angela was able to independently read (or listen to) each of the statements and then rate them accordingly. The design of the custom overlay also gave her independent access to the explanations for each of the categories so that she could review as needed.

PDF version of the Classroom Suite Activity [PDF, 68KB]

Watch an example as Clay uses the same Classroom Suite activity, but with 2 step directed scanning.

Example 1 of Using FAF with Modifications

Mark has a medical diagnosis of cerebral palsy with delays in receptive and expressive language. Mark is 15 years old and in a Special Day Class at a Middle School preparing to move on to a High School and it is his first Individual Transition Plan (ITP). Mark, like other kids his age, enjoys sports, race cars and listening to stories. Both Mark and his mother, MaryLou, completed the FAF survey in preparation for this ITP meeting.

How the FAF Format was Modified: Personal Priorities

One of the ways the survey needed to be modified was to reduce the number of items on the survey. The determination for which items were to remain on the modified version of FAF came from the results of the first phase of development for FAF. During the first phase of FAF, the survey was completed by several different groups of people: teens and young adults with disabilities, teens and young adults without disabilities, parents (caregivers), and professionals. Those items from the original version that 80% or greater of the teens and young adults with disabilities rated “Very Important” were the items used on the modified version of FAF.

The response format was modified so that the complexity of the language used was reduced. Instead of providing the options of very important, pretty important, or not so important in response to the statement, two contrasting responses were given. For example, Mark was presented with: Tell me if making friends and hanging out with friends is very important to you OR is making friends and hanging out with friends not important to you? These contrasting responses made it possible for Mark to answer the questions independently regarding what was important to him.

FAF Modified Survey [276KB, PDF]

It was decided that the FAF should be completed by both mother and son. Once both surveys were complete, they were then compared and a list was developed of the items that both Mark and MaryLou thought were important.

Mark’s top 5 “very importants” from the survey then translated into goals and objectives on his Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

  1. Choosing where I want to go and with whom, after school and on weekends
  2. Being able to go places I like that are far away (out of the neighborhood)
  3. Being around people who like what I like
  4. Having a very good friend
  5. Making my own plans for doing things and going places

Example 2 of Using FAF with Modifications

FAF Modified Survey [276KB, PDF]

Emily is 20 years old and has a medical diagnosis of cerebral palsy and cognitive delays. She is non-ambulatory and severely speech impaired. Emily communicates with others using aided strategies that include using a speech generating device (SGD) which is mounted on her wheelchair (DynaVox 31001), and a strategy called Live Voice Scanning (LVS), to communicate with others. Although she is able to independently access her DynaVox for communication and writing using an infrared light mounted on her glasses, motoric accuracy is inconsistent. Emily also relies on LVS. Emily is a very competent communicator using partner assisted LVS. This strategy relies on speaking partners giving choices verbally as Emily signals “yes/no” to accept or reject one of the choices given. Emily answers questions using “yes”, “no” effectively. She looks to her left (at a printed YES card mounted in the top left corner of her lap tray) to indicate “yes” and to her right (at a printed NO card in the top right corner of her lap tray) to indicate “no”. Emily is currently in a post high school program. While she was still attending her high school program, Emily was given an opportunity to complete FAF to prepare her for her Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

This case illustrates how FAF was modified in the following ways:

Presentation Format

  • Reduced number of items from original survey
  • Reduced complexity of language
  • Activity to review and build on personal experience/knowledge in each of the categories

Response Format

  • Questions posed in Yes/No format

Emily completed FAF using a modified version of the original survey. The survey was modified as follows

  1. The category descriptions were presented to Emily with explanations that included relevant personal experiences.  For example, specific names of places in her community were named and described as she listened to the description for Community Membership.  This information was prepared ahead of time and was necessary so that Emily could have a better understanding of what was meant by “community membership”. FAF Background Survey [53KB, PDF]
  2. The response choices were changed from Very Important – Pretty Important – Not Important to contrasting statements.  Emily rated each statement item as “Yes, that is important to me” or “No, that’s not important to me”.
  3. In order for Emily to prioritize what was most important to her, an additional activity was developed to help her understand the concept of ranking things in order of importance.

Once Emily had completed the survey, she was asked to rank in order of importance, those items which were “most important” to her within each category. These would be items that would be shared with her IEP team and potentially targeted as goals in her ITP.

In order to help Emily better grasp the concept of prioritizing her value statements, a “preparation” activity was created using real, familiar items to illustrate the idea of something being more desired or more important than another. Emily was asked to “rank” beverages in order from most favored (i.e. “most important”) to least favored (i.e. “not as important”). Graphic icons (with text) for COFFEE-TEA-ORANGE JUICE were then used to rank each value statement that Emily had identified as being important to her. Her “coffee”/ “most important” choices were then used to illustrate to Emily, that even though she had said many (or all) the things in a particular category were important to her, we wanted her to choose the ones that were most important. It was explained to her that we would eventually work on most of the things she had indicated that were “very important” to her, however, we needed to start with a limited number of goals. From the list of most important items, Emily established her top 7 priorities.
















orange juice