Educators educating Educators

Nov 24

Sp Ed Accommodations



“‘Fair does not mean that every student gets the same treatment, but that every student gets what he or she needs.” ~ Richard Lavoie

See #5 for a discussion of this quote

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“ My job is not to standardized education but to customize it by personalizing it.  Great teachers have always understood that their role is not to teacher subjects but to teach students.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson

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Accommodations

1. Accommodations do not eliminate the impact of the disability, but lessens them or reduces the impact of the disability. Inappropriate interventions can exacerbate the impact of the disability, not minimize the impact of the disability

Examples

Teaching blind children to read Braille

Intensive help to a child with dyslexia to read

Early intervention in the lives of a child with autism

Speech and language services for students with articulation/oral expression deficits to speak more clearly

 

2. Schools must designed services to respond to student’s needs that arise out of the disability while minimizing the impact of the disability.

 

3. Teachers must insure that we are testing/measuring the material, not testing/measuring the student’s disability. For example, a social studies test must measure a child’s knowledge of social studies, not his reading comprehension.

 

4. The disorder is the inflexible one; therefore, we must be the flexible one. We all have our strengths/needs. The child with a disability has a learning difference in a skill set tested in school.

 

Change classroom or change students? Schools/teachers must change classrooms to meet the needs of students, rather than change the students to meet the needs of our classrooms

 

5. Fair vs. Equal: A philosophical issue for the practitioner to examine is that of "fairness". It seems that, as parents and educators, we mold children's values and morals. We teach them valuable lessons related to honesty, courage, integrity, loyalty, and so on. Yet, it seems that we allow children to dictate to us the concept of "fairness". When asked to define "fairness," most children respond: "Fairness means everybody gets the same.” Unfortunately, we often allow children to convince us that this indeed is the definition of that concept. As a result, we attempt to deal with all children in an identical manner.

 

When a teacher modifies a lesson for an LD child or adjusts the course requirements for him, his classmates charge that the situation is "unfair". Rather than respond to their complaints, the teacher should explain that the mature conceptualization of "fairness" is not equal, identical treatment; rather, "fairness" means that every student receives what he needs. Because each individual's needs are different, "fairness" dictates that their programs and expectations will be different.Children are capable of understanding this concept if it is explained clearly and if it is observed daily in the teacher's modeling behavior. Richard Lavoie

 

Watch this short clip on You Tube as Dr. Lavoie explains fairness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G9--hUQDwY&feature=related

 

 

6. The onus for participation in the general education curriculum should not be placed on the child. That is, a child with a disability must perform at a particular academic level or behave in an acceptable way to access appropriate education.

 

Examples

A student with dyslexia must be able to handle texts that are far above their reading levels in order to access content areas

 

A child with autism must behave in a typical fashion to be included

 

7. Special education should not mean providing a different curriculum but providing a vehicle by which students with disabilities can access the curriculum and the means to address their unique needs.

 

8. IEPs/Programs must be designed to address the needs that arise out of student’s disability while at the same time ensuring access to a challenging curriculum. For instance, students with dyslexia will continue to need powerful interventions around their reading while being provided with access to a curriculum that accommodates their likely problems with reading, writing, and spelling.

 

9. Assumptions concerning a child with learning, functional, or developmental differences become dysfunctional when the education and development services provided to disabled children focus inordinately on the characteristics of their disability to the exclusion of all else. This is a failure to accept and value disable people as they are.

 

10. Students with a reading disability. Many believe that those with reading disability in reading must learn to read at grade level before they can access the curriculum/other subjects. This approach clearly magnifies the negative impact of the disability. It is similar to the deaf who must learn to lip-read and speak before they can access the curriculum. Can students with learning disability in reading access the curriculum above their reading levels? Of course, they can. How? Access cannot depend on their ability to read print or write at grade level. This approach focuses on the characteristics of their disability- their reading deficiencies- to the exclusion of their overall educational needs.

 

11. This approach clearly magnifies the negative educational impact of their disability. The focus of their special education program solely on learning how to read is not appropriate. This reflects the assumption that special education role should be to overcome disabilities, even when that is not fully possible. These children must have the appropriate accommodations and supports to access the general education curriculum.

 

12. For a child with laborious reading rate will need her entire educational program accommodated around this aspect of her disability. She may need both extra time on reading assignments and some content provided on audiotape. “For the dyslexia reader, accommodations represent the bridge that connects him to his strengths and in the process, allow him to reach his potential. By themselves, accommodations do not produce success; they are the catalyst for success. Accommodations grow more important as dyslexic progresses through schooling.” Shaywitz (2003).

 

13. Special education should not mean providing a different curriculum but providing a vehicle by which students with disabilities can access the curriculum and the means to address their unique needs.

 

14. IEPs and special education programs designed to address the needs that arise out of their disability while at the same time ensuring access to a challenging curriculum. For instance, students with dyslexia will continue to need powerful interventions around their reading while being provided with access to a curriculum that accommodates their likely problems with reading, writing, and spelling.

 

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Students with Emotional Support Needs

 

There are no poorer educational outcomes than students with emotional support needs. According to National Longitudinal Transition Study data, the drop out rate for students with emotional support needs are over 50% and only 15.3% pursue higher education.

 

15. Most of the emotional support is focused on responding to acting-out behavior (most common symptom) than on providing the accommodations and supports needed for the student to succeed in school.

 

16. Students with emotional support needs face discriminatory policies. The very nature of disability, which is often accompanied by acting-out behavior, often puts these children at risk of removal or outright exclusion from school, particularly in the era of ‘zero tolerance”.

 

17. Some may argue that discipline policies should treat students with emotional disability the same as nondisabled students, ignoring the impact of their disability can result in truly discriminatory practices.

 

Example. Requiring students with emotional support need to adhere to discipline policies without taking into account the impact of their disability is equivalent of requiring a student with MR to perform academically at grade level. Or a person in a wheelchair is provided “equal access” to a building but with no ramps or elevators

 

Solution. Students with emotional support needs need to be taught appropriate school behavior and be supportive in achieving that goal in a safe and stable environment. There is no evidence that punishing behavior that is the result of ED will help the majority of such children to learn appropriate behavior and be able to function in school.

 

18. The trouble with children with an emotional disability is assuming the symptoms of the disability their fault. The children need an individual program that recognizes the effects of their disability while seeking to create opportunities for them to learn and fully participate in school and society. In many situations, the disability requires special accommodations, and false impartiality, treating everyone the same, results in inequity.

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Reference

Thomas Hehir. New Directions In Special Education (2006). Harvard Education Press

 




News

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