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How to Accommodate and Modify Your Math Curriculum



By Dawn Spence

This is the second article in my series on accommodations and modifications. In my first article, I explained the differences between accommodations and modifications.  But, now I am going to tackle the subject of math.

No one curriculum is one-size-fits-all, including math. Children with special needs and learning differences can make it a challenge to find a curriculum that meets all their needs. I have bought curriculums and then realized that my child was not able to complete the activities the way that they are written. That is when I have to make the curriculum fit her.

Math is an easier subject to accommodate and modify as it lends itself to use hands-on materials and can be done on a computer. Math is an abstract subject, but by using manipulatives or other accommodations, it provides a way to make it more concrete.


Accommodating Math
Here are some ways to accommodate your present math curriculum. This is how we teach our learners:

  • provide graph paper to line up numbers so that information stays organized especially helpful with long division (I printed mine free from www.printfreegraphpaper.com)
  • allow the use of calculators
  • provide visuals and stories to learn math facts
  • provide a list of the steps in written or visual form
  • use dry erase boards instead of pencil and paper
  • reduce the number of problems and even do some problems with your student before having them do it on their own
  • draw a picture of story problems


Modifying Math
Here are some ways to modify your math curriculum. This is where we are changing what we teach the learner and what they are responsible for learning.

  • creating work boxes that address a specific skill
  • using stamps for writing numbers for those that are not able to write numbers yet
  • making a math problem multiple choice
  • using stickers or hands-on objects to help your learner count
  • writing some of the steps for the learner and they have to complete the remaining steps 
  • use real objects to work out story problems





This list is a starting point to modify your math curriculum. If you have specific questions about how to modify or adapt your curriculum please see my page on the website for consultation information.


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