Planning Considerations

Considerations in Instructional Planning:

  • Accommodations
  • Modified Expectations
  • Alternative Expectations
  • Physical Strengths and Needs
  • Cognitive Strengths and Needs
  • Academic or Educational Strengths and Needs
  • Cultural Strengths and Needs
  • Behavioural and/or Emotional Strengths and Needs
  • Social Strengths and Needs
  • When you are planning a student's program, keep in mind the difference between accommodations, modified expectations and alternative expectations.


    Accommodations refer to the teaching strategies, supports and/or services that are required in order for a student to access the \ curriculum and demonstrate learning. Accommodations do not alter the provincial learning expectations for the grade. Examples of the individualized accommodations that may be identified in the IEP include the following:
    • giving students extra time to complete classroom assignments
    • allowing students to complete tasks or present information in alternative ways (e.g., through taped answers, demonstrations, dramatizations, role play)
    • allowing students to tape lessons for more intensive review at a later time
    • providing a variety of learning tools, such as adapted computers for completing writing tasks and calculators for completing numeracy tasks
    • providing for the use of scribes
      using pictorial schedules to assist students in making transitions


    Modified Expectations

    "Modified expectations" refers to the changes made to the grade level expectations from the Ontario Curriculum for a subject or course in order to meet the needs of the student. Modified expectations may be drawn from a different grade level, above or below the student's current grade placement. They may also include significant changes, an increase or decrease, to the number and/or complexity of the grade level learning expectations. Where curriculum expectations are modified, the IEP will set out the knowledge and skills that the student is expected to acquire in a particular subject, course, or skill area. The grade level, from which the expectations have been drawn, will be included in the IEP. Care must be taken to select age-appropriate materials which challenge the student and are at the student's level of interest.

    Alternative Expectations

    "Alternative expectations" are expectations that are not derived from a provincial curriculum policy document. Learning expectations in the areas of life skills, anger management and orientation and mobility training are examples of alternative expectations. A representative sample of the alternative expectations for each skill area outlined for the student must be recorded in the IEP.

    Physical Strengths and Needs:

    When you are developing a student's program, consider these elements:
    • age; chronological, functional, maturity level
    • size
    • difficulties with:
    • vision, hearing, speech
    • motor skills - fine motor and gross motor
    • hand-eye co-ordination
    • handedness - left, right, mixed
    • activity level
    • medical concerns:
    • medication
    • allergies
    • injuries and accidents
    • involvement in activities, e.g., sports, dance
    • side effects arising from medical treatment which may have an impact on the pupil's participation in class activities

    Cognitive Strengths and Needs

    When you are developing a student's program, consider these elements:

    • language development
    • modality preference: visual, auditory, tactile
    • ability to deal with:
    • generalization and abstraction
    • sequencing (with/without practice)
    • specific abilities and interests
    • adaptive behaviours (response to change, ambiguity)

      Academic or Educational Strengths and Needs

      When you are developing a student's program, consider these elements:

    • achievement levels in language arts (reading, writing, spelling, speaking)
    • achievement level in mathematics (spatial manipulation, numeracy skills)
    • preferred areas of study
    • ability to handle tasks independently
    • frequency and level of academic support required
    • ability to learn from errors
    • task commitment and motivation
    • attendance
    • coping and compensatory strategies used by student
    • level of computer literacy
    • accommodation strategies used successfully by past teachers

      Cultural Strengths and Needs

      When you are developing a student's program, consider these elements:

    • gender and its relationship to cultural issues
    • cultural background and its relevant components, e.g., values, languages
    • past and present educational experiences, e.g., within/outside school
    • parental and extended family expectations
    • personal customs, personal experiences, personal expectations and responses to culture
    • need for ESL or ESD

      Behavioural and/or Emotional Strengths and Needs

      When you are developing a student's program, consider these elements:

    • self concept
    • attitudes towards:
    • other people (family, at school, elsewhere)
    • school
    • strengths and needs
    • maturity level
    • motivation and locus of control:
    • internal
    • response to external sources
    • willingness to take risks
    • overt behavioural problems, e.g., aggression, passivity, language usage, anxiety
    • difficulty with concentration
    • psychological concerns

    Social Strengths and Needs

    When you are developing a student's program, consider these elements:

      • interpersonal relationships, e.g., family, friends
      • peer involvement, e.g., nature of participation in group work, 'loner'
      • preference for the company of younger/older children/adults
      • manner of conflict resolution
      • leadership abilities
      • understanding of the consequences of actions


      Source/Adapted From: