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Caring for Our People with Disabilities & Chronic Illness

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Willie and student in class

When you don't need special education but you still need help

More on 504

Why would a school change a course for a student with a disability to have different requirements? The reason it is required is for the student's benefit. Physically, the student benefits from receiving physical activity that meets his needs. Educationally, he learns skills he can use throughout life. Socially, he has the chance to be with other kids from his town who are his own age.

Schools are not allowed to use cost or convenience of the school as the reason for denying a needed modification. However, the fact is that allowing modifications is often easier for the school. A school in a small town is not going to have several children who use wheelchairs, are visually impaired or have any of the less common disabilities. (Disabilities that do not occur often are called low incidence disabilities.) For these low incidence disabilities, it is much more trouble for the student to be educated alone in a separate class than with the rest of his classmates. Sending the student away to a special school is very expensive, and this cost must be paid by the school district.

While, at first, someone may argue that it is wrong to make changes that make the course different or easier for the student with a disability, after some thought it can often be seen that this change is both better for the student and better for the school.

Modifications, as we described in the previous page, are changes which result in lower or different standards for the student with a disability. Accommodation is changes in the following

course content
teaching strategies
student responses
environmental structuring

which do NOT fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectations of the course/standard/test.

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