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Ready, Aim, Now What?!?!?...


FIRE at the target, of course!

For children that need instructional modifications to access grade level content, it is possible that the target needs to be adjusted.

And that is ok.

The concept of "Ready, Aim, Fire!" is the same.

What's different is the target.

Let's consider this principle when creating instructional modifications for children with intellectual disabilities. You are still:

  • planning (the "ready")

  • setting a goal or target for learning ( the 'aim")

  • delivering instruction (the "fire")

Is the plan the same as that for a typical peer? NO

Is the goal or target the same? NO

Is the instructional delivery the same? NO

And that is OK!

When we modify instruction (i.e. standards, curriculum, pacing guides, modules or whatever else your district is calling the materials you use to instruct), you may change, alter, and adjust to meet the needs of a specific children based on their intellectual ability.

Side bar: Criteria for meeting the requirements of an intellectual disability vary by state, so check with you State Department of Education.

Let's take a look at an English Language Arts (ELA) standard and consider some instructional modifications. For the benefit of all, let's use Common Core.

Here's a 3rd grade ELA standard for reading informational text:

RI.3.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational text, including history/social studies, science and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Depending on the needs and present performance levels of the child, here are some possible modifications to ensure access to grade level material.

  • Listen to a audio recording of a grade level text, then answer comprehension questions orally.

  • Listen to a portion of an audio recording or a grade level text, then answer comprehension questions using visual supports (i.e. pictures, images, real objects).

  • Read or listen to an informational passage at the child's independent level and orally share a key detail(s) with a partner.

This standard can be additionally modified by addressing 3 or fewer subject areas and eliminating the need for proficiency. The better you know the needs of your students and the availability of materials, the easier this becomes.

There are many benefits to modifying instruction for children with intellectual disabilities.

  • Provide access to grade level content

  • Encourage engagement with peers

  • Provide equity to grade level learning

  • Maximize engagement and accessibility

  • Increase opportunities for inclusion and high quality instruction

For more support and information on how to modify instruction and meet the needs of children with intellectual disabilities, join us in The Academic Inclusion Network.

For more information on how to create inclusive school communities, visit

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