On Sept 19, 2023, REEL hosted a panel discussion entitled “What Can You Ask Your School For?” Emon Reynolds shared creative accommodations she has requested and what has worked and not worked. Amber Wilburn discussed parents rights in this process and the guide to IEPs for 2e students that she is creating in partnership with REEL. Neuropsychologist Mark Westerfield shared school supports he recommends for 2e students in his neuropsych evaluations.
We also conducted a crowd-sourcing exercise to generate a list of ideas across various challenges, strengths, and K-12 grade levels. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the accommodations Padlet. You can continue to add your ideas!
Here is a summary of some of the great ideas our community shared for supporting 2e neurodivergent learners:
If the lesson isn't learning to write, allow alternate ways to show mastery - such as graphic novel, slide show, skit, etc
Allow speech to text, scribing
Allow mind mapping software such as MindManager for helping with the writing process.
Leverage online or computer-based graphic organizers such as Creately rather than physical organizers that can tax handwriting skills.
Allow student to choose writing instruments (gel pens over pencils) for all subjects (i.e. for math, students cross out rather than erase).
Eliminate timed written assessments
Note taking assistance/notes provided
Allow audio-recording of lectures
Allow to take photo of "board" vs writing notes
Using photos to save posters and groupwork for later work.
Using multi-sensory techniques for kids with reading challenges
Provide rubric and examples of completed work
Include visual organizers of the day, calendars of the week/month, with due dates, check-in clues, etc for the full class.
Provide students with a single location for work submission, grade check in, homework requirements, etc.
Planner and assignment completion check ins
Chunking larger assignments into smaller pieces
Providing checklists for multi-step assignments
Allow digital submitting of assignments- at any grade level- once found, take a picture and email it in- done. No follow up steps and there is a record of things turned in.
Teacher check in before independent work
When possible, give the student a preview of what particular work is coming the next day/week
Allow "self-breaks" from class to take deep breaths, take a walk, get a drink of water, etc. when the student is feeling overwhelmed
Avoid "cold calling" on a student for answers, to check "if they are listening', etc. Instead, let the child take the lead by raising their hand or observing quietly.
Note early signs of dysregulation and check in to problem solve/offer support as soon as possible
Provide a choice when an assignment topic induces anxiety or is emotionally charged.
Allow student to do research / read / write in area of interest
Allow student to show their strength by making them an expert about their favorite topic so kids come to them, or they teach a math game to the class, etc - a time of day they get to show what they're good at
Allow multiple methods for demonstrating mastery, for example a video, a paper, a class presentation, a song, etc.
Physical education support/alternatives
Check in 1:1 after assigning work to ensure student understanding
Weave student interests into assignments
Allow for sensory strips, wobble chairs, quiet fidgets, doodles, standing desks, etc for all students.
Allow students to dive deeper into materials if interest and ability follow. For example, if the class assignment is on the cell, allow the student to talk about the differences between animal and plant cells.
Allow students to test out or telescope subjects where they have already gained mastery. In these areas, allow students to dive deeper via independent study.
Frequent movement breaks
Testing in a separate room
Social skills/ social anxiety
Provide structured activities during recess
Allow a choice of working alone or in partners
Explicitly outline roles and goals in group work
Lunch bunch or lunch clubs that kids can create by topic of interest
Play helper at lunch
Pragmatic speech support group
Do an emotion / energy check in with student to understand what they may be able to handle that day
Use a visual (e.g., notecard, coping "toolbox", etc.) to remind student of self-regulation strategies they can use. Communicate with the child's school counselor/therapist to develop this visual.
Pre-planned breaks each day with a trusted adult in a safe/preferred environment for the student.
Shorten the assignment when mastery has already been shown (e.g. skip some math problems)
Don't give timed tests like "Multiply 50 problems in 1 minute"
Give extra time on tests
Repeat/rephrase student responses
Provide written directions/instructions
Provide a copy of class notes/PowerPoints
Allow for extra time to respond to questions verbally
Allow student to leave loud classroom environment for a safe, quiet space for breaks
Flexible seating (sitting, standing, lying down, etc.)
Noise canceling headphones /earbuds allowed as needed
Auditory Processing: ask for teacher to provide written assignments (not just verbal communication)