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Accommodations and Supplementary Aids

You’ve just received a new IEP for a student and you’re confused on how to read the Accommodations and Supplementary Aids section. Don’t worry! You’re not alone. As a special education teacher, these sections are by far the sections I get the most questions about. Let’s dive in and learn how to easily read accommodations and supplementary aids on an IEP!

What’s the difference?

The first question I get a lot, is, “What is the difference between an accommodation and a supplementary aid?” Honestly, it can get a little confusing. I’m going to try to break it down in the most basic sense, but know that there is more to it than this.

Let’s start with the basics. First, according to IDEA students with disabilities are required to participate in their state’s grade-level assessments. If they can’t, then we need to explain why not and what alternate assessment will be used. And second, there is a difference between classroom accommodations and testing accommodations. In my state, to have a reader on the ELA state assessment the child must be in a reading intervention program for two years and have at least a three year discrepancy on reading levels.


Testing accommodations are just what they sound like. When you read the accommodations section of the IEP, these are the things that the student can receive for testing. There are four categories of accommodations that a student can receive:

  • Presentation Accommodations (change the way the student receives the information)
  • Response Accommodations (change the way the student gives information)
  • Setting Accommodations (change the setting of the test)
  • Time and Scheduling Accommodations (change the amount of allotted time)

Supplementary Aids

Supplementary Aids are the extra things that students can receive during the school day. These supports are things that can be received during instructional, or non instructional, time. Supplementary aids and services can be accommodations/modifications, or could be things like supports for the child or support/training for staff who work with the child. Generally, supplementary aids and services fall into one four categories:

  • Instructional Supports
  • Program Modifications
  • Physical/Environmental Supports
  • Social/Behavioral Supports

Examples of Accommodations

List of Accommodations

Examples of Supplementary Aids

List of supplementary aids

What information is found in these sections?

When you learn how to read an IEP accommodation and supplementary aids section, you should see some (or all) of the following information:

  • A description of the support
  • How frequently it occurs
  • Who will provide the support
  • Why the child needs the support
  • What the support looks like
  • Examples of the support

Questions to Ask When you Read an IEP Accommodations and Supplementary Aids Page

When reading the IEP, ask these questions about the accommodations and supplementary aids pages:

  • Do these supports help build student independence?
  • Who will be responsible for providing the supports?
  • Who will be responsible for tracking if the supports are effective?
  • What changes need to be made in order to implement the supports?


Learning how to read an IEP accommodations and supplementary aids section can be daunting – but it doesn’t have to be! Those pages of the IEP are filled with great information on how to help the child be successful in the classroom. Make sure you fully understand what your roles and responsibilities are when you are implementing the accommodations and supplementary aids. These supports are such a critical part of providing services to students.

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