Environmental Accommodations for Virtual Learning

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

Whether you are a special education teacher designing a new IEP for a virtual learning environment or a general education teacher trying to navigate what accommodation might look like virtually, this article is for you. The basis for any student accommodations within the classroom is their need to be successful. What changes can be made to allow the material to be more accessible to the student through their disability lens? Let's take a close look at the top student environmental accommodation for virtual learning as reported by teachers like you.

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Environmental - Alternate Location Accommodations

Preferred seating in the classroom

Face to Face classroom - Change the student's location within the room, such as away from windows, doors, or pencil sharpener's. Sitting near the teacher's desk or in front of a classroom may help avoid distractions for some students.

Virtual classroom - Change the students' location within the learning environment, such as away from windows, doors, and high traffic areas. Sitting facing a wall or near an adult can help avoid distractions for some students.

 

Reduced visual distractions

Face to Face classroom - For students who are easily distracted by other students' presence, an alternate location accommodation allows them to work individually in a separate part of the room or a small group within the classroom.

Virtual classroom - For students who are easily distracted by others' presence, an alternate learning location accommodation allows the student to work independently in a low traffic area of the home/learning environment.


Use a study carrel

Face to Face classroom - For students who are easily distracted, a study of carrel accommodation allows them to work individually within a broader work environment.

Virtual classroom: For students who were easily distracted, study corrals accommodation allows the student to work individually within a broader work environment by partitioning the student from within the room distractions such as kitchens and living rooms.

Allow movement within the assigned area

Face to Face classroom - Physical breaks for stretching or fidgeting will be given at predetermined intervals or after completion of assignments or activities.

Virtual classroom - Physical breaks for stretching or fidgeting may be given at predetermined intervals. After completion of assignments or activities. (within 5 feet of the work environment, viewable by camera and microphone for auditory responses)


After reading a few environmental accommodations, we hope you are inspired to think outside the box and find creative ways to accommodate students remotely. The number one piece of advice from our collaborating teachers was to incorporate families in the accommodation process. Family members will have the most knowledgeable view of working and what is not working for their students. Families will also know what alterations or alternate locations can be reviewed within their homes for the best possible learning outcomes.


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