Classroom accommodations for language disorders

Explore this list of classroom accommodations for language disorders. They can help to keep language challenges from getting in the way of students’ learning.

Language disorders make it hard to understand and use language. (The main types are receptive and expressive, and some kids struggle with both.) 

The challenges show up in different ways. Kids might struggle to complete sentences and learn vocabulary. They might tell people about personal experiences in the wrong order. Understanding directions in class can be hard.

But schools can provide accommodations to help with these disorders. Here are common supports students might get.

Classroom materials and environment

  • Give students extra time to process classroom directions.

  • Use visual supports such as highlighted written directions, photos, or picture symbols.

  • Seat the student toward the front of the classroom to reduce distractions.

  • Provide graphic organizers to help students include details and organize ideas in writing assignments.

  • Provide lists of key vocabulary words for topics or units.

Completing assignments and tests

  • Adjust the length of written assignments.  

  • Reduce the number and complexity of questions on worksheets. 

  • Provide two-choice options for helping students answer open-ended questions.

  • Break directions into short, manageable steps, and present them one at a time.

  • Check for understanding by having students repeat instructions.

  • Provide vocabulary lists related to the topic of the writing assignment.

  • Check with the student during the first few minutes of an assignment to ensure they understand the task.

  • Provide a sample of the finished assignment when appropriate.

Teaching strategies

  • Supplement lectures with videos, demonstrations, pictures, and hands-on activities.

  • Explicitly teach the parts of a complete sentence and provide sentence frames if needed.

  • Expand students’ statements, restating them as complete sentences or adding more detail.

  • Allow extra wait time for students to ask and answer questions.

  • Give examples of how to answer or ask questions, make requests, or solve problems during non-academic times, like morning meetings or recess.

  • Use games to help students learn and practice new vocabulary.  

  • Provide opportunities for students to talk about personal events and to retell stories. Help them with sequencing and providing key details.

Students usually get accommodations through an IEP at school. Make sure to check these supports to make sure they match the child’s needs. You can also talk to the speech-language pathologist

Educators: Get the facts about language disorders

Families: Explore more resources about language disorders.


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