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Tier 1 - Behavioral Accommodations

The first tier of interventions for students who have not responded to the consistent, deliberate use of universal interventions is behavioral accommodations and/or strategies.  Behavioral accommodations/ strategies  are specific interventions implemented by the classroom staff to support the student in the school setting.   Behavioral accommodations/strategies are typically used for behaviors that are low in frequency and intensity and do not impede learning.  These accommodations/strategies are put in place to structure and manipulate the environment in order to promote both the behavioral and academic success of the student. Identifying the academic, sensory and environmental conditions (setting events) that contribute to the occurrence of the behavior will assist in determining what accommodations and strategies are necessary to support the student. Setting events are situations which exist that may or may not immediately precede the problem behavior. Setting events “set the occasion” or make it more likely that a target behavior will occur, such as physiological factors, classroom/environmental factors, disability related factors, familial factors and/or cultural factors.  

Accommodations can be environmental, academic, instructional and/or sensory and should specifically address a need or a setting event for the student.

Environmental Accommodations

School setting

  • Provide a classroom environment with a minimum of visual/auditory distractions.
  • Seat near positive role models for the student
  • Seat away from areas where materials are stored.
  • Monitor the student's access to small objects.
  • Provide the student with adequate personal space when working in a group.
  • Seat at the front of the room to minimize the distraction of other students.
  • Seat at the back of the room to minimize the distraction to other students.
  • Seat in close proximity to staff.
  • Provided visual boundaries for the student that will help him/her identify own personal space.
  • Keep books and supplies in an alternative place other than desk.
  • Provide the student with a designated place to take a break or to "cool off.
  • Provide the student with an alternative place to work independently
School routine
  • Post and review daily clearly defined rules/expectations for behavior
  • Establish consistent routines and teach these behaviors at the beginning of the school year. Review quarterly at a minimum, monthly or weekly if needed.
  • Provide the student with activities to keep him/her appropriately engaged during less structured times of the day,
  • Allow the student to choose between a variety of activities provided.
  • Provide the student with opportunities to practice emerging social skills at "teachable moments" of the day.
  • Use a timer/clock to signal the student or to help him/her function within time limits.
  • Pre-plan tasks to redirect the student's behavior to an appropriate activity (e.g., sharpening pencils, sorting papers).
  • Provide peaceful activities to help the student calm down (e.g., soothing music, lights dimmed).
  • Ask the student for permission to give him/her a positive physical gesture (e.g., a pat on the back) or to use a physical prompt.
  • Anticipate when a student needs physical activity and develop ways for this to be done appropriately (e.g., running an errand, passing out materials).
  • Have the student verbalize the rules/expected behavior several times a day.
  • Practice common routines following a long school break.
  • Provide time at the beginning of each school day (or more often) to help the student to organize materials
Daily schedule
  • Provide a written, photo or PCS (Picture Communication Symbols) schedule of the day.
  • Schedule preferred activities throughout the day as possible.
  • Notify the student of any changes in the schedule as early as possible.
  • Schedule specific breaks, every "X" minutes, when it will be permissible for the student to be out of seat.
  • Allow the student input into the daily schedule when possible.
  • Allow the student to check in each morning with a designated person to "debrief" or set daily goals.
  • Review the rules/expectations prior to making a transition to a new setting or class period.
  • Maintain close proximity to the student during transitions in the hallway.
  • Give the student a warning "X" minutes before a transition will take place.
  • Monitor the student during all specified transitions (e.g., restroom, arrival, dismissal).
  • Minimize the number of transitions necessary for the student to make.
  • Make a transition at an alternate time than other students.
  • Give the student a specific responsibility to be performed during the transition.
  • Use a timer to help the student get to a designated activity/class on time.
  • Have a peer accompany the student to an activity.
  • Make sure that the student has all necessary materials for activities.
  • Give the student a preferred responsibility at the beginning of the new activity.
  • Make the student a leader of the group or activity.
  • Provide the student with a demonstration of the expected way to make the transition.
  • Inform other school staff of any difficulties that the student may experience in order that supervision can be provided in all areas.

Academic (Curriculum and Materials) Accommodations

  • Provide the student with designated work periods. Monitor with a timer.
  • Increase length of work period as on-task behavior increases.
  • Provide assigned tasks in small segments or in step-by-step manner.
  • Provide the student with additional time.
  • Follow a less desirable task with a desirable task to increase motivation to complete the first task.
Response to curriculum
  • Allow the student to choose among materials to use.
  • Provide the student with work samples to use as a model.
  • Present tasks in the most attractive and interesting manner for the student.
  • Rewrite directions at the student's level of understanding.
  • Provide the student with a list of items/materials needed for each activity/class.
  • Provide the student with clearly stated criteria for acceptable work.
  • Provide visual cues to supplement materials.
  • Apply learning to real life situations.
  • Modify difficulty of assigned work or tests.
  • Have the student keep track of the assignments completed.
  • Allow the student to perform alternative assignments. Gradually introduce the components of the regular assignments.
  • Provide the student with a selection of assignments and allow him/her to choose a minimum number to be completed.
  • Practice direction-following skills with non-academic tasks.
  • Reduce the amount of information on a page if it is causing a visual distraction for the student.
  • Provide a list of resources (i.e. materials or people) that the student can access if he/she needs assistance.

Instructional Accommodations

  • Model appropriate response/ behaviors for the student
  • Require the student to begin an assignment within a designated period of time
  • Assist the student with the beginning steps to the assigned work
  • Move about the classroom to monitor on-task behavior
  • Give directions in a variety of ways to increase the student’s understanding
  • Have a peer model the appropriate response for the student
  • Allow the student to act as a peer tutor for another student
  • Require the student to repeat the instructions before starting an assignment
  • Record the instructions for the student to use individually and repeat, as necessary
  • Get eye contact before giving instructions
  • Provide a designated peer to answer any questions the student may have
  • Highlight keywords in the written instructions
  • Provide a list of homework assignments daily
  • Use a pre-determined signal to cue the student
  • Use language in directions that emphasizes the student’s choice and responsibility
  • Recognize the student’s indications the he/she needs assistance
  • Use as few words as possible in explanations.

Sensory Accommodations

  • Push, pull or carry items
  • Use seat cushions, wiggles
  • Provide “fidget” items/ “wait” items
  • Provide a Sensory bin for exploration of textures, shapes (rice, playdoh, cotton balls, etc)
  • Provide an exercise programs such as Minds in Motion, Yoga, Brain Gym
  • Provide low lighting/ color lighting
  • Provide foot stools or supports for better positioning with school furniture
  • Provide stress reduction items (balls, toys,bubbles,etc.)
  • Use a “white noise” machine
  • Provide headphones
  • Provide age appropriate toys for educational stimulation. However, if a specific sensory response is desired by its use, it must be monitored by OT/PT.