Why Accommodations are Not the Best Thing for Your Child
I was reading a child's IEP the other day (let's call him Johnny). It said:
"...cognitive abilities fell in the average range overall... is not meeting grade level expectations despite high-intensity interventions for an extended period of time."
His testing accommodations are:
- Extended time
- Test passages, questions, items and multiple choice responses read to the student for tests not assessing reading
- Tests administered in a location with minimal distractions
- Use of break periods for test longer than 40 minutes
So here is a child who has average intelligence but does not improve with what the school is giving him. The school does not yet have in its bag of tricks any way to help him succeed. Instead they give him accommodations, which they also discuss in the IEP are not enough, either. Without help, what is the future for Johnny?
He cannot get a job that is consistent with his intelligence, because of all his issues. He will continue to get extended time as an accommodation, but employers cannot afford to hire young adults who take 50% longer to get their job done. Time is money, after all. Employers need people who can work in the location that is given to them. They need workers who don't take frequent breaks.
At this point, Johnny cannot read. Despite the quote that he is not progressing even with intense intervention, they will continue to give him reading intervention and expect him to reach grade level this year. Yet, it appears they are out of tricks.
What to do?
The parents have come to me for help. Through a thorough screening in which I test for developmental delays (testing for retained primitive reflexes) as well as screening for auditory development, visual development, and cognitive strengths and weaknesses (skills such as memory, attention, processing speed, etc) together we will come up with a plan so that Johnny will be able to achieve in school, and also achieve in life.
If you know someone like Johnny, please don't give up on him by giving him many accommodations that won't help him get a job! Instead, figure out the underlying issue. Get help for him. There are so many interventions available that do well; you just need to get to the underlying issues, find the resources, and follow through.
A possible resource for YOU is The Roadmap From Learning Disabilities to Success. Each chapter includes a quiz to see if this is the issue, a success story, general information, and best of all, resources in all price ranges. The chapters include information on mind health, nutrition, primitive reflexes, auditory development, visual development, and cognitive training. It's a great place to start!
Next week, I will give you some actual games to play that will improve processing speed. If you know it is an issue, start right away to make changes!
Johnny doesn't have to feel angry his whole life because he feels stupid. You don't have to feel frustrated that there is nothing to be done for Johnny. Science has told us for decades that the brain is elastic - schools just don't know how to make changes... yet.