Friday, May 27, 2011

Get An Advocate to Look Over Your Situation

Yesterday I had a new client.  As I viewed the Special Education documents I could see why the school had opted to remove the accommodations.  The fourth grader had a 135+ IQ and she was making all A’s.  Along with this very bright brain she had an average processing speed, this caused her to believe she was getting all the material and for her to constantly rush through her work.  She knew she was smart, however she will frequently make silly errors.  She really needs to slow down and not rush -- and if we keep allowing her to do this without consequences, then she is likely to have an entitled attitude when she enters high school and college.  I explained this to the parents and suggested giving her 3 months with no accommodations. Then, we can evaluate her scores and her effort after this trial period -- I will let you know how this ends up.  I think it is important for all advocates to look at the best needs of the child both long term and short term.  Obviously this girl is very bright and has a bright future in front of her, but too many modifications and accommodations can give the student false reason to work less diligently on their academics.  Plus, she will miss the opportunity to learn how to cope with her disability.  Of course we want all the  students on a level playing field.  In addition, we also want them to learn to use their strengths and identify their weaknesses so they can be successful in life.  If she struggles at the end of the trial period, we can place accommodations in slowly to see which ones have the most profound effect.  It would be improper to start immediately throwing all the accommodations possible at the school.  We need to know for sure which ones are helping.

I believe that the parents can use an advocate to see the situation from an unbiased perspective. In this case, a huge fight may be thwarted.  If we need to make changes in her IEP, we will have plenty of evidence to support those changes when we approach the school.

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