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You want ideas to submit to the IEP team, but you just don’t know where to start. Well, here you go! You asked for it, you got it! I’ve received many, many reader requests for a list of SDIs or strategies. I hope this list of SDIs, strategies, and accommodations for an IEP or 504 is helpful.

SDI Specially Designed Instruction. 

An SDI is anything specific and unique to your child. They are determined by their areas of need, to help them access their education. It is based on the evaluations done on your child, to determine their areas of need. SDIs are used to help your child achieve the goals listed in the IEP. Most SDIs should be applied across all environments, not in just one class or classroom. They are adaptations or modifications to the regular curriculum. SDIs are in place to help your child reach their IEP goals and objectives.

Keep in mind, this is mostly accommodations. A child does not learn how to read with accommodations. They need an intervention, which is the specific teaching program or curriculum. Know the difference! 

Classroom Accommodations

  1. a quiet area to complete the work or take a test
  2. having someone read a test to them
  3. “preferential seating,” means sitting near the front, or away from distraction or in their area of preference (if they prefer a left or right visual field)
  4. preferential seating for hearing/audio
  5. preferential seating away from distractions, windows, doors, speakers
  6. extra time to complete the work or reading given
  7. early dismissal from class to get to the locker and to next class
  8. identify and limit distractions
  9. opportunity for practice
  10. “hot pass” or “cool off card” which is a card the student gets and they can leave class, flash the hot pass to the teacher, and go to the office, guidance counselor, nurse (designated ahead of time) to cool off, if they feel a negative behavior coming on
  11. high contrast materials, limited visual clutter
  12. adapted lunch setting to reduce sensory stressors
  13. adapted recess with adult lead activities to increase peer interactions
  14. recess and group activities to be designed with IEP goals in mind
  15. keep days and activities structured
  16. structured seating arrangements
  17. small group instruction with appropriate intervention
  18. access to the resource room or learning support room

 Transitions-Strategies and Accommodations

  1. visual cues in hallways to guide the child to the next classroom or cafeteria
  2. personal timeouts to regroup and prepare for the transition
  3. time warnings and increased transition time
  4. advance notice of transitions
  5. schedule on the blackboard (or whiteboard/smartboard, I know, I’m old using the word blackboard)

Instructional Strategies List

Tools and Equipment

  1. visual charts
  2. visual schedules
  3. visual cues in a locker, lunch box, on a desk
  4. fidget spinners/fidget toys
  5. written schedules on locker, lunch box
  6. graphic organizers
  7. choice cards
  8. emotions cards
  9. earplugs or headphones
  10. special seating-seat pads, sit-upon balls, etc.
  11. adaptive equipment-pens, pencils, calculators, fidgety toys, large print books, audio, etc.
  12. use of FM headsets to either have blocked out music or FM transmission of teacher speaking, use Beatz or something else socially acceptable, blocks out outside noise
  13. rewards charts
  14. yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques
  15. use of a scribe or oral testing to open-ended or essay formats
  16. provide a study guide
  17. provide audio recordings
  18. provide video/audio recordings
  19. voice recognition software
  20. extra set of the textbooks-1 set for home, 1 for school
  21. pencil grips, slant boards
  22. develop a sensory diet
  23. spelling dictionary, spell checker
  24. provide notes, outlines or organizers with key concepts or terms highlighted
  25. mnemonics
  26. remind the student to wear glasses/hearing aids
  27. allow the use of a preferred writing implement

Language-Based Accommodations and Strategies

  1. minimal use of open-ended statements or questions
  2. do not use sarcasm or inferences when communicating with the student
  3. allow 5 or 10 seconds (whatever child needs) processing time when a request is made
  4. chunk down verbal instructions
  5. use only 1 question or instruction task at a time if the child cannot do 2-3 part questions
  6. speak slower
  7. use literal language
  8. Use of first____, then_______.
  9. having someone read the material to them
  10. concise, direct prompts
  11. clear, concise instructions that are at child’s ability
  12. activity based learning
  13. explain metaphors and double meanings
  14. limit oral questions to the number that the child can manage
  15. provide direct feedback in appropriate settings

People and Peer-based Accommodations and Interventions

  1. special sign or signal between teacher and student to notify the student of something
  2. encourage but do not force eye contact; forcing eye contact may break the train of thought
  3. buddy system for unstructured times
  4. peer to peer tutoring as appropriate
  5. structured social skills groups
  6. set up opportunities for the child to self-advocate
  7. peer modeling-appropriate play, interaction
  8. role play
  9. social stories
  10. pair with the student prior to learning a new task
  11. cooperative games rather than win/lose
  12. facilitated socialization at recess, lunch, breaks
  13. education sessions for peers to help them understand disability
  14. watch videos of social stories/interactions and ask to explain
  15. role playing-both with successful and undesired outcomes (ie-troubleshooting)

IEP Sensory Accommodations and Strategies

  1. give sensory breaks-have child carry down attendance sheets or just a few envelopes down to the office to allow for movement
  2. timed bathroom breaks (every 60, 90 120 minutes)
  3. awareness of sensory issues–smells, sounds, lighting; adjust as appropriate
  4. scheduled sensory breaks
  5. {Sensory Diet} What is it? Should it be on your IEP?

Behavior Accommodations and Strategies

  1. frequent reinforcement for desired/positive behaviors
  2. token board
  3. intersperse preferred and non-preferred tasks
  4. agenda checklist for check-ins with a preferred staff member
  5. task strip with preferred activity at the end

Testing and Assignments-SDIs and Accommodations

  1. monthly, weekly or bi-weekly phone or in person conferences with parents (progress monitoring)
  2. homework assignments chunked down by the teacher to define each task
  3. have the child write down verbal questions to aid in processing
  4. breaking down tests into segments
  5. pre-teaching information, then post-teaching afterward
  6. alternatives for completing assignments (typed instead of written, or verbal)
  7. provide facilitated experiences
  8. frequent test breaks with opportunities to move
  9. testing in a study carrel
  10. testing in the morning only
  11. masking test items so only single questions are visible
  12. permission to hand in all assignments late, as pre-determined
  13. modify assignments to only include essential content
  14. intersperse easy and difficult demands on an 80/20 basis (and work to increase)
  15. longer assignments are broken down and scheduled out in pictures or words

IEP Interventions for Cognitive and Academic Deficits

  1. AM/PM check in with a preferred staff person
  2. Use of prompt hierarchy
  3. incorporate child’s personal interests into activities whenever possible
  4. to do list
  5. journal
  6. show example of completed projects
  7. picture calendar or schedule
  8. when appropriate and will not cause a distraction-guide student through real-life situations
  9. provide with calming strategies
  10. test format to tap “recognition memory” such as matching or multiple choice rather than fill in blank without a word bank