Step 6: Determine Adaptations That Will Allow the Student to Meet the Demand

Step 6 in the framework for adapting language arts, social studies, and science materials in the inclusive classroom.
Teaching Strategies:
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Step 6: Determine Adaptations That Will Allow the Student to Meet the Demand

Once the materials have been evaluated and potential problem areashave been identified, the type of format adaptation must be selected.Format adaptations can be made by:

  1. Altering existing materials – Sometimes materials are appropriate but must be modified to make them more accessible or moresensitive to learning needs. In this type of adaptation, the teacherrewrites, reorganizes, adds to, or recasts the information in alternateways so that the student can access regular curriculum materialindependently. For example, the teacher may prepare an audiotapeand a study guide for the student to use while other students read the text material.

  2. Mediating existing materials – When learning problems require moresupport than mere alteration of the existing materials, the teachercan provide additional instructional support, guidance, and direction to the student in the use of existing materials. The teacher altershis or her instruction to mediate the barriers presented by thedesign of the materials. The teacher directly leads the student torespond to and interact with existing materials in different ways.For example, the teacher can direct students to survey the readingmaterial to collaboratively preview the text and then have them create an outline of the reading material as a reading and study guide.

  3. Selecting alternate materials – Sometimes the existing materials are so poorly designed that too much time and too many resources wouldbe required to alter or mediate existing materials. When this levelof frustration is reached, the format of the existing curriculum maybe inappropriate, and a new set of curriculum materials should beselected – materials that are more sensitive to the needs of studentswith disabilities or that are inherently designed to compensate formany student learning problems. For example, a teacher may usean interactive computer program in science that cues critical ideas,reads text, inserts graphic organizers, defines and illustrateswords, presents and reinforces learning in smaller increments, andprovides more opportunities for practice and cumulative review – in short, universally designed curricular materials.

Most of the examples described here refer to instructional adaptations, but the same principles apply when making adaptations to written tests. For example:

  • Audiotape an existing test or break it down into chunks.(Adapting existing materials)

  • Lead students through an existing test by helping them organizetheir time, rephrasing test questions, or allowing them to askquestions about test questions. (Mediating existing materials)

  • Obtain interactive CD-ROM software that tests the studentthrough an interactive process and provides feedback on anongoing basis. (Selecting alternate materials)

  • Inquire about the types of adaptations that are appropriate forstandardized tests used by the school district. Test publishersoften provide information about the types of adaptations thatwere included in the norming of the test and that are allowed.

More on Adapting L.A., S.S., and Science Materials for the Inclusive Classroom.

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.

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