When a child can't read....

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ecteach, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Oct 8, 2018

    When a child can't read in middle school their options are so limited. Even with read aloud they can't succeed, as the processing is off. I have one boy who asks for me to read each question 4 or 5 times and you can see him trying to process the information. But, he can tell you the material. Part of me wants to give him alternative assessments, but then another part of me knows that this is part of the reason why he can't read. Everyone has always made accommodations for him instead of teaching him to read. I think we should teach nothing but reading to students until they learn to read. I have 2 students who are total non-readers, but bright otherwise. It's just heartbreaking to watch. I'm going to try Wilson with them, but like everyone else, I have limited time to do it.

    It's truly breaking my heart. More than anything I just need to vent.
     
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  3. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Oct 8, 2018

    Is the student sped? If so, maybe his goals can reflect his need to work on reading. If not, wow...maybe there is something organic that needs to be addressed at meeting with specialist?
     
  4. Mami1Maestra2

    Mami1Maestra2 Rookie

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    This is happening often with many of the students how my caseload. The students receive accommodations on their tests, and I feel like instead of the accommodations giving more access to the content, it's actually handicapping the students more.
     
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  5. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I had a student in grade 8 a couple years back. He couldn’t read English but he was bright as a button, in his language. He could just about write his name in English independently. I realised that he could draw amazingly so for his tests, I read the questions to him and he either drew me the answers or gave me answers in halting English. He passed Science. I have no regrets about how I assessed him. It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t speak read or write in English but was articulate in his own language.
     
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  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    In the example you gave, the student needing the question read 4 or 5 times, has a significant disability that goes well beyond reading. The intervention with a student with that level of difficulty in areas other than reading require much different intervention. Reading instruction won't do much for him until the other areas of disability are addressed with intervention and proper accommodation. Teaching nothing but reading to this student most likely won't address the underlying issues. Teaching reading might help, but it seems to me you are saying that these students have never had proper reading instruction, which may be very accurate based on my experience of special education in many different schools.

    This child need a whole plan, not just one focus.

    If you have limited time with Wilson and students that far behind, you are wasting your time. The Wilson program works when done as trained and directed because of intensity and structure of the instruction. Wilson studies show success when used in a prescribed method, intensity, and duration.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    There is a difference between giving needed accommodations at the expense of proper instruction and giving needed accommodations as part of a plan that includes proper instructions to help the student overcome the skill deficit. You wouldn't take supports away from someone receiving therapy if they were not ready for those supports to be removed nor would you take the supports away if they aren't receiving any therapy to improve their physical limitations. We just love to blame the student for academic failure regardless of whether or not they are receiving the needed help.

    This post is a perfect example of educational neglect. OP knows that there isn't enough time to properly implement Wilson but cares enough to try. Next year people will see the student received Wilson but then blame the lack of academic skill on the student rather than see that the amount of time allotted was insufficient for the program to work. At no time will people, unless lawyers get involved, with anyone say, our plan for this student just sucks and will not work even if an IEP meeting is done every year. Why, because everyone knows that they would have to admit violation of the law (can't blame lack of funding or staff on failure to provide sufficient services) for the student's failure. It is cheaper and easier to blame the student.

    OP, I admire that you have identified lack of proper services as part of the problem for your students. This was not directed at you, but the general idea that we don't provide what students need most of the time because it is expensive.
     
  8. Mami1Maestra2

    Mami1Maestra2 Rookie

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    I think a grand problem is chasing after pacing guides in efforts to cram in information for upcoming tests. Hmm..not sure where the idea of blaming students came in....
    Teachers are constantly having to keep up with pacing guides, regardless of whether or not students are mastering content or not. This is troubling because there are so many students who really just need more time to learn. Oftentimes teachers' hands are tied in this issue.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Oct 25, 2018

    I see this so often in the denial of education aides and pull out or push in time. Very frequently, students should have an aide in the classroom with them more often than what they get.

    I've also seen extreme (very extreme) behavior students put in gen ed classrooms with maybe an hour or two push in services per day. These particular students should have been in self contained behavior classrooms or at the very least in classrooms with full time aides. It's unfortunate that students are denied services and teachers are simply told to try harder or be better.
     
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  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oct 26, 2018

    A student with an IEP doesn't have to be a student who is expected to follow a curriculum with a pacing guide. Their individual program could and should be unique to what they need. That is the law, but that is not the practice in most schools.

    The blaming students comes in if you start listening to other teachers about students in your school and just by reading this site or other sites. There have even been research studies in the past that demonstrate that schools never take blame for students being behind. It is never the IEP, the curriculum for that student, or the services they receive or not. It is always that the student is not trying or the parent is not supportive.

    While you may never blame a student, blame is there in many cases.

    In your next IEP meeting with a student who needs slower pace or services to improve academic deficits, suggest something the school doesn't typically provide such as a very small group for a very long time such as what is needed with a Wilson program. Suggest what the student needs and watch the heads explode. Listen to the excuses. If you are forceful enough with your recommendations, I can guarantee you that it will come down to the student being capable in what they have if only he and his parent put more into it because they cannot say it is about money or staff.
     
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  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Oct 28, 2018

    That simply has not been my experience at all, a2z. The blame is ALWAYS on the teacher- not the child, program, or parent. We are beaten over the head with nonsense about "high expectations." God forbid you suggest a child get Wilson for a long block of time, because that is having "low expectations" and implying that the child is not capable of learning grade level curriculum. According to my state, the only excuse for not being on grade level, even with a disability, is having a cognitive disability. My kids all have normal IQs (even though they have cognitive weaknesses), so according to the state they should be on grade level and passing state tests.

    We're not allowed to put modifications on IEPs unless the child has a cognitive disability. We're also not allowed to put them in anything but the 80-100% setting. At the absolute highest end, they can be pulled out for around 5.5 hours per week- that's for all services combined- academics, OT, speech, mental health, etc. Not to mention there is extreme pressure to not pull out at all, even within that 80% setting. There is tons of documentation/proof required that "removing them from general education peers and core instruction" is absolutely necessary in order to make progress. Even then, it's expected that the pull out will be assisting with teaching the core curriculum, not teaching something like Wilson. My teammate only teaches what the gen ed teachers are teaching and receives non-stop praise for her "high expectations" and "collaboration." Suggesting anything else is met with, "But they have to take the regular state test at the end of the year" or, "This is their only opportunity to do (insert grade level), they need to learn this content," or, "We need to have high expectations." We are constantly under fire because our "students with disabilities" cohort is performing below other cohorts on state testing.

    I have sat through presentations with state department of ed people who talked about how our kids in resource are not performing because we're putting them in resource classes and providing "dummy curriculum." Yes, those exact words. This whole "inclusion" movement has placed general education on a pedestal and vilified special education settings. I know you believe that districts advocate for push in services in order to save money. Again, not at all my experience. Pull out is actually far less costly to run. I can pull kids from 3-4 different classrooms, sometimes even multiple grade levels, in order to run a small group. If I'm suddenly expected to push in instead, I can't be in 4 places at once. When I was student teaching and doing practicums in my home state, it was extremely common to have one sped teacher per grade level doing "co-teaching" only. They could have certainly done a pull out program with less teachers. Basically the only reason I've managed to avoid doing push-in for so long is that we don't have enough teachers to do it. I have kids in 11 different gen ed classrooms. "Clustering" doesn't work due to all of the kids that transfer in mid-year or get identified mid-year.

    There is also an expectation that special ed teachers have this magical "special knowledge" that allows us to "fix" disabilities with little time or resources. For many, many years, our kids actually got better services in title 1 than in sped, as we had many more title 1 teachers. It was not at all uncommon for a kid to be moved from a 3 student, 45 minute title 1 group to an 8 student, 30 minute sped group. Any complaints about this were met with, "But you have special ed training. I can't do it because I'm not trained in special ed."

    We are just now at a point where due to the changes with ESSA (where interventionists can meet IEP minutes), kids are at least getting an equivalent level of intervention when they get an IEP. Yes, I have complained about this until I am blue in the face. I have never once heard anyone say the kid or parent should try harder. I am told that as a sped teacher I should better know how to teach the child. I actually had a conversation with my sped director about this earlier this year, where I told her there is absolutely no benefit to having an IEP in my building. She said the benefit is a "long term promise" of interventions, a yearly parent meeting, and documentation should the child move to a different school.

    Even if you can find a place that truly believes a long pull out block with something like Wilson is a good thing (and in three districts, I have NEVER seen this attitude), yes, money is a factor. Maybe schools are better funded where you are. I'm in one of the lowest funded states in the country. Our sped programs have never been fully funded; they don't even give us the measly amount that is promised. Our tax structure severely limits what schools can get. I would guess that perhaps you buy into the argument that schools need to use their current funding better, perhaps by hiring less administrators. That all sounds nice, but if that's going to be the case, they need to get rid of the ridiculous paperwork and evaluation documentation that my state requires in the name of "accountability." They can't have it both ways.
     
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  12. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Oct 28, 2018

     
  13. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    I could have written this exact post!
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Yes, we do have discrepancy between how your state is functioning and how our state is functioning and some others I have met. That doesn't surprise me, but the funny thing is it is just a different way of denying services. Mine is more supportive of the teacher to deny giving what students need. Seems yours is not.

    I don't disagree with this statement. That is often what happens even when kids are in pull out. Most kids in pull out were put in large mixed groups without remediation based on their needs. How is it that 15 kids with reading disabilities magically all need the very same thing?



    So you have a gen ed class of 24 filled with non disabled kids and a class of 15 disabled kids with all different deficit areas getting instruction in reading - all the same way. This is what was rather standard. They were pulled away but the class was dumbed down because the supports and services didn't match needs so that they could save money.

    But then you have watered down services because you have a large group of students, I consider a group of 3 or more a large group when you talk about remediation for academic skills deficits for students with disabilities because you can't adequately give a group of more students the hour of service that is indicated in their IEP when you have such a large group. Most likely those kids you are pulling have different needs so you should be providing different instruction within that large group. Then you have the situation your district is talking about. Having a pull out that is not beneficial.

    You proved my point for me. Since not all schools are title 1 with addition funds for support then your special education was really producing a dumbed down pull out. The problem with the title 1 support is that it isn't tailored to kids with disabilities. There is usually some program, in my experience, that is used for title 1 rather than the specific need of the student.

    I would say funding has nothing to do with the situations I describe because when schools were flush with money, the same issues existed.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I have NEVER seen or heard about this "15 group pull out" that you always post about. Currently, I have four groups that have 3 students or less, three groups of 4, and two groups of 5. Our title 1 does not just use a blanket program for everyone. Data teams meet every 6 weeks and students are put into different small groups based on the next phonics skill they need. The program they use for that group depends on the skill needs of the student, and they're mostly using things that were written for kids with disabilities, like SPIRE. Before ESSA what would happen is that as the year went on, my group would get larger and less homogeneous due to the students who had to be with me to get their IEP minutes met (still, the biggest I ever had was 8, and that was with an aide). Now my students can be in any group that meets their needs because I can count that time as IEP time.

    Last year we were at a point where my kids were actually getting less than the "tier 3" title 1 kids due to the amount of pull out minutes I was allowed to put on the IEP. Our "low" kids get pulled out constantly and what they were receiving left them with far less than 80% of time in the classroom. This year, I was finally able to convince my sped director to let my kids participate in these intervention blocks that everyone is getting, even if it's more minutes than the IEP states (I was previously told I could not "over serve") because everyone is participating and they're not missing general ed instruction. Again, general ed instruction is put on a pedestal and the pull out is seen as something "bad."

    I'm not convinced there is any school that is "flush with cash." Even in schools that had more money than where I currently work, you're still dealing with the philosophy that inclusion/general ed settings are best and that "low expectations" and modifications are the problem. Like I already stated, in my home state they had more staff that could have run some really small pull outs for lengthy periods of time. They're simply not allowed to do that because of the "full inclusion" philosophy. If my school were to suddenly get significantly more funding, you can bet they'd be hiring more people and making those intervention groups even smaller, and the "tier 3" groups would absolutely be longer and provided for more subjects. But unless if was a whole grade level thing where everyone participates, I'd have an extremely hard time getting my identified kids more time in intervention due to the red tape of their IEPs and the philosophy that general education is best.
     
  16. Aces

    Aces Comrade

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    Oct 31, 2018

    The only thing I'm going to say here – because I don't want to get involved in the debate over Wilson sped or any of that – obviously somewhere along the lines the education system has failed this student. I know it's heart breaking, OP, and I hope you can find a solution to break the cycle.
     

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