Classroom Accommodations that Help Everyone!

As you begin a new school semester, it’s a good time to look at the accommodations that you can make to help everyone in your classroom have a successful learning experience. We tend to think of accommodations as something to implement or consider when working with a student on an IEP (Individualized Education Program). However, everyone in the world needs accommodations.

What? you say.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I need lights to see inside a building whereas my friend who is blind does not. I also happen to be height challenged. In other words, I am short. So, I need a stool to reach most things people can get to just by reaching. If you are over 6 feet 7 inches tall, you probably have to duck when you enter most people’s houses. Even Shaquille O’Neal had his Lamborghini stretched to accommodate his 7-foot-1-inch stature.

As teachers, we want all of our students to be like Shaq- to find ways to make the world fit them. When they are in our classroom, we can help by providing standard items in the classroom that everyone can use, but that will specifically benefit children with Learning Differences.

Classroom Environment

The visual processing system of children with Learning Differences can sometimes become over-stimulated. Keeping display items to a minimum in the classroom can help students who have difficulties with visual processing. Keeping visual stimulation to a minimum can also help children who have difficulty focusing. The fewer items there are in the classroom, the easier it is for the students to focus on what the teacher is teaching.

Headphones/Music Area

Many people get distracted by others in their environment. Allowing times in the classroom when children can play music while wearing headphones, to help them focus or relax, can benefit everyone.

Fidget Toys

Fidget toys are good for every age. Having a box of gadgets that help keep hands busy and the mind focused can be helpful no matter what age you are. They can also be used to reduce stress. Check out Office Oxygen for some ideas for the classroom, as well as the teacher work room. Their products not only can be good fidget toys, some of them can be fun and help reduce stress.

Cozy Corner

If at all possible, a corner of the classroom can be made into a relaxing space. This space can be as simple as a rug and a pillow or as complicated as a couch and coffee table. This kind of space can allow a student a place to calm down and relax. We all have days when the world just seems to be too much to handle. Providing a safe, approved place for students to deal with stress can help them cope.

Anti-Anxiety “Box”

For younger children, having a box of soothing items can help a child who is having difficulty with anxiety. This box can contain a stress ball, play dough infused with calming lavender oil or real lavender, a stuffed animal, or other things the children in the class suggest. For older children, it might be best if they develop their own box that they can use in any class. The items in the box need to be school appropriate and not disturb others in the classroom.

What accommodations do you make in your classroom that you have found to help all children?

If you have made some adjustments to your classroom for one population and found that it has really helped others, let us know about it. The more we all share what works, the more we can support all of our students to be successful learners.

If at all possible, a corner of the classroom can be made into a relaxing space. This space can be as simple as a rug and a pillow or as complicated as a couch and coffee table. This kind of space can allow a student a place to calm down and relax. We all have days when the world just seems to be too much to handle. Providing a safe, approved place for students to deal with stress can help them cope.

Anti-Anxiety “Box”

For younger children, having a box of soothing items can help a child who is having difficulty with anxiety. This box can contain a stress ball, play dough infused with calming lavender oil or real lavender, a stuffed animal, or other things the children in the class suggest. For older children, it might be best if they develop their own box that they can use in any class. The items in the box need to be school appropriate and not disturb others in the classroom.

What accommodations do you make in your classroom that you have found to help all children?

If you have made some adjustments to your classroom for one population and found that it has really helped others, let us know about it. The more we all share what works, the more we can support all of our students to be successful learners.