Special Needs & Accommodations

What are special needs?

Special needs in the contexts of school students refer to specific educational requirements due to significant long-term physical, intellectual or emotional difficulties that present a barrier to learning and hamper a student’s performance during assessments. It is in such cases that an accommodation maybe granted to offset a student’s specific barrier to learning.

A year ago, I did not know where to go to with my daughter, Tamron. She has a hearing problem and had been in a public school for most of her life. The pressure just got too much for her there. That’s when I started looking for other options and Brainline crossed my path. I regret not putting her on this awesome road earlier. My daughter was under a lot of pressure in school, where she had to work so much harder than the other kids. With Brainline, she works at her own pace and is just loving school. Thank you to everyone at Brainline for your support and caring for our children, my child will definitely finish her Matric with Brainline.

Tania C., Mother of Tamron

What are accommodations?

Accommodations are specific allowances for test conditions that are granted in line with a learner’s specific barrier to learning. Accommodations do not give one student an advantage over others.  Its purpose is to create an equitable testing environment, allowing their knowledge and skills to be tested accurately.

Accommodations remain valid up to and including, tertiary level.

Accommodations vs Remedial education

Although they are often used in conjunction with one another, accommodations and remedial education are not the same. Remedial education focuses on foundational skill development, and involves offering additional guidance and teaching to students who need extra assistance in fundamental subjects like reading and mathematics.

Types of accommodations:

  • Scribe – the invigilator is allowed to write on behalf of the learner, as per the instruction of the learner.
  • Reader – the invigilator is allowed to read the questions to the learner.  He or she is however not allowed to explain, elaborate, or interpret the question to the learner.
  • Prompter – the invigilator is vigilant as to when the attention of the learner is diverted. He or she then gently reminds the learner to attend to his/her paper.
  • Full amanuensis – the invigilator may read to the learner and act as scribe.
  • Separate venue – the learner is allowed to sit in a separate venue, in the presence of an independent invigilator, while he/she is writing the assessment.
  • May eat/drink - usually due to medical condition, a typical example may be diabetes.
  • Spelling (dyslexia/dyscalculia) – markers are made aware of this learning issue by way of a sticker on the answer book.
  • Extra time
  • Computer/Allowed to type

How does Brainline help with accommodations?

Brainline is the only online school in South Africa that actively supports applications for accommodations.

How do we do this?

  • We maintain an excellent relationship with the IEB.
  • We identify learners who may need an accommodation.
  • We work together with a practicing educational psychologist who:
    • Is very familiar with the IEB’s accommodation requirements.
    • Facilitates the application process, guiding parents and learners to complete it as smoothly as possible.
    • Motivates for a particular accommodation, based on the student’s evaluation, to expedite the process.
    • If necessary, recommends the best subjects to enroll for, based on the student’s barriers to learning.
  • We take particular care to properly implement assessment accommodations whilst protecting the dignity of our students.
  • We provide special training to individuals who invigilate students with accommodations to ensure the validity of assessments.