By Zach Simon, Temple Ohev Shalom

Shalom! My name is Zach, a 9th grade student in TAP. The students, teachers, lessons, and guests have all taught me so much. The most common topics we have learned about are about the learning environment for those with disabilities. The disabled community is treated like they are a burden to the normality of society, and this has been no less prevalent at school or the classroom. Though they can make teaching somewhat more difficult, or learning with them more challenging, what we have worked on at TAP is how one must not only deal with this, but help them and make them feel included and happy with their environment. What these changes to our routine are called adaptations or modifications.

These are both helpful toward the disabled community, since it gives them a chance to be on the same page as the kids without these disabilities. But they are commonly mixed up. Adaptations are things in the environment changed to fit the needs of these students. For example, if a kid with a hearing problem requested everyone be louder, that is an adaptation. It is something we must do to help them. The problem with this is the other students must change their behavior for one student, which is inconvenient. On the other hand, a modification is something that is changed to the learning material. On that same example of the student with a hearing disability, if the class was assigned to listen to a podcast for homework, the teacher may give him a video with closed captions to watch instead. The rest of the students learn the same material they were going to, with no change to their routine, while the student with the disability has a changed version. The problem with this is the student is singled out and does not feel included. Both have their ups and downs, but the important thing is, they are learning.