What accommodations are commonly used for students with disabilities?

Page 6: Setting

accommodation type is settingSetting accommodations allow for a change in the environment or in how the environment is structured. Instructional or testing environments should be well lit with a comfortable temperature, good ventilation, and minimal extraneous noise or other interruptions. The table below includes some examples of possible setting accommodations.

Setting Accommodations
Teachers might:

  • Supply adaptive furniture and equipment
  • Adjust table height for students who use wheelchairs
  • Provide appropriate seating (e.g., a chair size to allow student to be properly positioned)
  • Provide tables with ample room for materials
  • Eliminate visual and auditory distractions
  • Provide preferential seating (e.g., a study carrel)
  • Allow the use of headphones to buffer extraneous noise
  • Permit students to work individually or in small groups
  • Create room for a student’s guide dog or service animal
  • Allow students to test in a separate room (e.g., library)

Guiding Questions for Teachers

When teachers consider whether students might require setting accommodations to access the general education curriculum or for taking tests, they should ask themselves some guiding questions. For example, does the student:

  • Have difficulty regulating his or her behavior?
  • Have a hard time navigating the environment?
  • Have trouble focusing his or her attention in large group settings?
  • Perform better when reading and thinking aloud?
  • Need access to the part of the classroom with the best lighting?
  • Need access to a computer?
  • Use assistive technology or other equipment (e.g., a digital print magnifier) requiring a table with a larger surface than the standard classroom desk?
  • Require access to adaptive furniture (e.g., a standing work station)?
  • Use a wheelchair or walker, which requires that classroom aisles be kept clear?

Setting Accommodations in Action

EmmaMs. Harbison is a kindergarten teacher. One of her students, Emma, has difficulty paying attention and staying focused in the classroom. She is easily distracted by other students and the activities around her. Ms. Harbison describes Emma as always on the go and needing to move constantly.


Claire Harbison
Kindergarten Teacher
Nashville, TN


Listen as Ms. Harbison discusses some setting accommodations she has provided in her classroom to help Emma be more successful in participating in learning activities and in completing her work in a timely manner (time: 3:12).

View Transcript

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