What Does Access to the Curriculum Mean?

When participating in an IEP meeting and working with children with special needs, you will constantly hear the term “accessing the curriculum.” All students, by law, are entitled to have access to the general curriculum. That term can be used in so many ways, but what does it really mean to have access the curriculum?

Mrs Ds Corner Blog Header Templates 6

Simply put, access to the curriculum means providing students the right to the same curriculum that is provided to all students. In terms of Special Education and IEP’s, teachers are talking about HOW a student is going to be able to successfully access the curriculum that their same aged peers are receiving. What supports and accommodations are going to be put in place so that the students can be successful?

How a Student Can Access The Curriculum

Assistive Technology

Does the child in discussion have a disability such as dyslexia or dysgraphia? Or have difficulty with fine motor skills and/or writing? Then maybe they have access to their curriculum through technology – like being able to listen to a text being read to them when answering questions. Or having the ability to type their writing assignments or using talk to text instead of writing them in order to be successful.

Visual Support

If the child has a visual impairment, maybe they need access to their curriculum using braille. Or having their work provided to them in a larger print. Or taking away the colors that may be too overstimulating. If blindness or visual impairments are going to impede the child’s learning, then as a team, supports need to be put in place for that child to be successful.

Auditory Support

Let’s think about a child who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Sometimes they can be successful having an interpreter with them interpreting what the classroom teacher is saying. Or if they have an amplification system, maybe the teacher wears a microphone style device that only connects to the hearing device of that student to be able to hear better.

Screenshot 2023 05 10 at 10.54.50 AM

ADHD Support

For a child with ADHD, maybe having some alternative seating, wiggle seats, fidgets, or even movement breaks built into their day in order to be successful in paying attention so they can learn and understand the information being taught.

Test Accommodations

If a child has difficulties with taking tests in the regular classroom, do they need a separate setting? Or a small group/one-on-one testing group? Extended test time? Frequent breaks every few minutes? If the student needs these to be successful in taking a test, then that is what they should be provided.

Having access to the curriculum means taking away or accommodating for barriers that may prevent a student from successfully engaging in the general curriculum, however that is appropriate for the student.

What is one thing that you like to do to help your students be successful in accessing the general curriculum? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.




  • Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner