Learning foreign languages opens the door for a lot of newer opportunities even for students who face learning difficulties. But, they need some assistance in these classes too. Fortunately, the 504 plan and its provisions can be employed to make a sure-shot lesson for languages.
There are some special areas in the 504 plan that makes its accommodations applicable for learning foreign languages as well. While the insights list out these provisions, these ideas can further assist you to avail them.
504 plan – How does it work?
Section 504, is an amendment of the “Rehabilitation Act of 1973”, and is a precursor to “The Americans with Disabilities Act”. It is a federal law that has been designed to preserve and protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funding.
This amendment makes sure that individuals with disabilities are provided free and equal education in the institutions functioning under federal funding. They also aim to ensure that the rights of these individuals, including children, stay protected and are enforced.
Institutions that could receive federal funding include:
- public school districts,
- higher secondary schools,
- universities, and
- other state and local educational agencies
which will then be required to regulate under Section 504, and accept students qualified under the 504 plan, irrespective of the nature or severity of the disability.
There are points under this section that state the provision of regular or special education, and related aids or services that might be required to aid an individual’s disability in order to provide them with an equal environment.
With a constitution that has been evolving with the changing needs of the world, new amendments like section 504, have helped bridge the gap of equality for students with learning disabilities as well. Now, it provides an equally accommodative environment for students with dyslexia, as they would, for a student with cerebral palsy.
504 Accommodations for assisting special needs aspirants in learning a foreign language
It can be extremely taxing to teach a student a foreign language if they have difficulty learning with more phonetics. Even though it depends upon the language they are learning, accommodations can bring out abilities with more comfort.
In a research study done by Emily Duvall, she shares the accommodations that can be made for students with learning disabilities to bridge the gap toward a better and more inclusive learning process. It is outlined that any subsidy like visual displays or extra time can assist these individuals. With that idea, Below is a list of some accommodations and associated insights to help achieve a rather inclusive classroom. Collaboration with an allied educator like a special educator can help to get precise information about the needs and limitations of a student and help in curating accommodations accordingly.
According to the reasonable accommodations section of the 504 plan, the overall size, type, and nature of the program can be taken into consideration to provide accommodations. Accordingly, the following accommodations can be considered for foreign languages:
1. Classroom Arrangement
In regular classes, the special students are allowed to be seated with other fellow mates ensuring proper inclusion. Also, based on the specific need of the aspirant, mainstreaming can be eased out and assistive aids in the classroom can be facilitated.
The educator can decide on the basis of the student’s information, whether the instructions require a more focused approach or a classroom-based approach. The accommodation would work in smaller groups of students who have difficulty decoding multiple or complex instructions at the same time.
3. Mode of Teaching
This accommodation would require the educator to make sure that not all students are exposed to a written set of instructions all the time. The mode of instruction needs to be assessed through trials to analyze if the students better understand a lesson through role-play, movies, peer tutoring, audiobooks, etc.
The educator can allow the students to use devices like tape recorders or video recorders, to document the teaching and eventually go home to use the recording at their own pace and disposal and make audio/handwritten notes out of it, while making sure that the doubts are also logged in for referral.
5. Self-study and Homework
This accommodation supports aspirants to explore their maximum potential while giving the work. Students can be allowed to use typed responses for assignments. They can be mitigated from feeling overwhelmed by being consistent in the amount of work given and finally, making sure that they have flexible deadlines.
How to avail these accommodations
There are several steps. Following this, a parent or a guardian can apply for a 504 plan, and avail of the required accommodations in their respective jurisdiction.
Step 1: Document the needs. Here the caretakers collect any sort of document that could enlist the needs of the student or provide his/her diagnosis. This could involve medical diagnosis or private evaluations from special educators.
Step 2: Role of 504 Coordinator. The motto here is to identify the authority that coordinates between the school and the 504-related demands to the authorities. This staff member would help the student in incorporating the 504 approvals, and accommodations in their classrooms.
Step 3: Out up a Formal Request. This would require a formal request listing the exact needs of the child. For example: “I would request a 504 Plan for my ward who due to dyslexia is unable to comprehend multiple instructions simultaneously, and will be requiring simplified instructions at a lower speed to which he can comply.”
Step 4: Work Together to accomplish. This is a comprehensive test where parents get directly involved in the evaluation process. This means they will have to undergo frequent observations and interviews. They can understand the root of the issues and thereby derive the best possible accommodation for their child under the school’s credible services, allowing a rather equal environment.
Learning a foreign language with 504
The special children in school need to seal out a few gaps. Nonetheless, through the amendment of section 504, this gap has been bridged for an easy transition from learning to execution.
Easier education can focus on learning subjects of choice like foreign languages have also been formulated under guidelines for better understanding giving equal opportunities to individuals irrespective of the type of their disorder. Mentioned above, are a few accommodations and steps to avail them, in case of students with learning disabilities, looking forward to learning a foreign language.
- Duvall, E. D. (2006). Including students with disabilities in a foreign language class. Teaching Exceptional Children, 38(6), 42-48.