Modifications without IEP

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by otterpop, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Consider this scenario.

    A student's work show great deficits in what they are able to do versus what they should be able to do. It seems these differences stem more from attention/behavior issues than actual ability. Regardless, the student has been passed on from grade to grade and is now writing about probably a second grade level.

    The class is working on an essay. Writing really frustrates this student and getting the student to complete the outline - just the outline - has been like pulling teeth. Finally, the outline (really, more like a rough draft) is mostly complete, after coming in for additional help at recess multiple days, but the work is rather poor.

    Spelling and grammar are not good. Although the paper follows the prompt requirements at a very basic level, generally it's not well written.

    Moving on to the next stage of writing, what's the best thing to do here? Have the student edit on their own before the final draft? Edit for them?

    I'm concerned because the student is trying, kind of, but if I grade it according to the rubric it would definitely still be a failing essay. This student is proud right now of their paper because it took such extreme perseverance (even if it was not an option) to get it completed. I think a failing grade would crush the student and make them feel that their efforts were worthless.

    I also don't want to falsely give the student a passing grade and make it look like the student has acquired skills that they do not have.

    How much is it possible to modify without an IEP?

    What type of interventions might I document for a situation like this, since the child clearly needs to be referred for more support?
     
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  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    If the student is truly proud of their effort and you concur that for this particular student it was an A effort(at this time), I would run with that as far as I could. Success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success. I would do everything I could to end this writing on the highest note possible. Then when you start the next writing, the expectation has already been set and met, up the ante SLIGHTLY. Slow growth over time=win.
     
  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Are you willing to modify your rubric, at least for this kiddo, and maybe pick out some other writing standards he is hitting?

    You could also go with how you're going and always be aiming to meet those standards... by the end of the year, not necessarily at the end of October or what have you.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It wouldn't be appropriate to modify the grading for a student so far behind. I understand not wanting to hurt the child emotionally or do something that might cause him to not work as persistently, but inflating a grade and modifying the work is not appropriate.

    Can you have a special lunch (or other such treat) with him to celebrate how hard he is working and to talk about where he is improving? Keep the focus away from the grade and on the qualities he is exhibiting? Make sure he knows that that is what is most important to you. If he knows you won't be disappointed in him because of the grade and you won't see him as a failure, he will most likely keep trying. This needs to be an ongoing type of relationship with him so he knows that you are working with him and his efforts to get him where he needs to be.

    Why hasn't this student been assessed for disabilities?
     
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  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I agree with all of this.

    I don't know why the student hasn't been assessed. Maybe it's because of the extreme behavior... I don't think the kid has a learning disability as much as extreme ADHD and maybe ODD. Either way, it's a kid teachers are warned about each year.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    What do you base this on? Also many kids with extreme ADHD and maybe ODD get the label of SLD because their disability impacts their learning. ADHD very often impacts cognitive processing which is the basis for a SLD. It can impact memory processes or processing speed. Either of which could directly impact the student's ability to learn.
     
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  8. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    If it were me, I would follow the rubric, giving partial points wherever possible. On the actual essay or at the bottom of the rubric page, make notes about whatever you can find that is good about the writing. Take an earlier example of the student's writing as comparison and meet with him/her to praise the effort and progress. Even if he/she went from a low F to a high F, emphasize the degree of improvement.

    How's the handwriting? If the student's handwriting is particularly bad, it may be dysgraphia. If it is ADHD, I've found that using a series of questions helps to develop writing. Directed questions (What's your main idea? Why do you think that? What can you tell me about ____?) paired with a checklist of basic tasks (I indented my paragraphs. I have a beginning, middle, and an end. I punctuated my sentences.) might help. If you have the time, do a lot of practice with short paragraphs using open topics. Have "conversations on paper" about anything from skydiving to tv shows.
     
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  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Take into account that if you put a grade and feedback together on the work, students will largely ignore any feedback and will focus only on the grade.
     
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  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    ADD, ADHD, and ODD are valid classifications in the SPED world. Do you have a lazy CST? Why is this child not classified, getting the help he really needs? Someone has to advocate, collect data, and present a case for this child to be tested as special needs. I don't know where you are, but I would expect that RTI would have been the reasonable first steps a long time ago. Now that people are throwing around ADHD and ODD to describe him and his problems, he is almost certainly in the third tier, where the SPED students reside. Advocate for this student to be tested, which may be avoided because of the cost of adding another SPED student to that roster. The real question is what happens, legally, if this student receives modifications without classification. That could open up a can of worms that is a legal mess. Push to have him evaluated and be persistent. By the way - good luck if the school is dragging their feet because of budget, services, or problems with the family. This student has been dealt a bad hand, but someone has to advocate for him, with data to back up the behaviors, interventions that were tried, and the outcomes. Time is ticking away, and the window of opportunity to truly help and deal with the disabilities is closing. I fear that your district has passed the buck until the delays are almost insurmountable, but legally, he needs a classification that allows him to recieve services The education system has failed the student miserably, recognizing problems without providing an IEP and services. I feel sorry for the student - it isn't his fault that he needs help. Shame on the district for turning a blind eye for so long, sweeping his shortcomings under the proverbial rug. The real question is simply this: are you strong and persistent enough to buck the system to do what is right for this student to help him overcome his problems, or will you look the other way and go with the flow? Can you pick this battle and take a stand? I hope so. :hugs:
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

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    they are recognized diagnoses, but the classification would be OHI, most likely.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    In some states the student can be classified in several areas.
    Since the student has not been evaluated and it is just a guess that it is ADHD or ODD, it could very easily be a learning disability and a medical/behavioral disability.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I work exclusively with students who are classified as ED/BD, and ODD is usually part of the alphabet soup they bring as baggage when they are admitted to our school. Fortunately, by the time they come to us, they have been tested, followed, and classified. Their behaviors get in the way of learning, and by the time they are in HS, they are difficult to work with, but they have managed to get themselves essentially kicked out of their home district because their disabilities create disruption in learning for the other students around them. They have become chronic behavior problems, and the usual deterrents don't work. They can't be taught effectively if they are chronically suspended or have excessive absences from discipline issues.

    The bottom line is that the CST should be testing this child and making recommendations about what interventions are appropriate. It should also be understood that if the interventions used to date haven't worked, this is a child who needs more intense or specialized instructional strategies. When we get to that point, only testing will tell you whether or not this child should be classified. I hate it when the behaviors are just "accepted", which takes the pressure off of the child study team, but leaves the teacher in legal cross-hairs should the parents decide to legally ask how their child was just passed along with failing grades, without ever being tested or evaluated. You can fight this battle for this kid now, or potentially fight charges that you didn't really educate this child in a court of law at a future date. Making modifications without the CST backing you up is risky. Modifications/interventions used to collect data would be beneficial to the CST to help them build a case for classification. If the CST knows he is "close" to the cut off for services, they should be collecting data to either show that modifications have been tried and they have been successful or they have failed. Decisions to classify a child rests in good part on the data that has been accumulated about interventions that have been used.

    I don't know where you are, but I suggest that you take a look at your state's mandates regarding special needs, which will give a road map of modifications and testing that should be used when considering whether or not this is a child with special needs. In NJ, ADD/ADHD/ODD, when substantiated, are enough to get this child tested, in the least, or classified if the tests back up the deficits. Sometimes these children are passed through simply because the classroom teacher didn't want to get involved with the CST or collecting data. In this day and time, data speaks louder than words.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
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  14. Backroads

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    vickilyn, thanks for your post.

    My school's own CST is rather terrifying. I was asked about a student I had last year just a month ago, and my honest response was that my team lead had so often been turned away from the CST with admonitions to "just keep intervening and waiting" she recommended the same at our team meeting about said child.
     
  15. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I had a student who was struggling many years ago (before RtI) and I was told to do accommodations AND modifications for the child but the school wasn't going to test because the higher up admins had said we had too many kids identified.

    I tutored and put the kid in small groups but I wasn't going to fulfill an imaginary IEP. Eventually, my hints to the parent to request testing were understood by the parent, the parent requested, and the kid got tested.

    I have had admin tell me in more recent years that because we have too many of a certain population in sped, a child of mine wasn't going to be tested. Too bad if the kid has been in tier three for four years. I didn't win that one even though I went up as far as I could and even contacted people out of my district for advice and help. The parent didn't get my hints that he should request testing. I did put notes in our online system and on the cum. folder that I asked for testing in case the district gets sued at some point by the parent or child after graduation.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Did you actually fill out the form and sign your name requesting testing?

    If so, was a meeting held to make a determination if there was sufficient data to show the need for testing?

    If so, did you file a complaint with the state DOE?
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Yes- we didn't have a form but I have printouts of the emails I used to request testing when my verbal requests were denied.
    Yes
    Yes
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This is a tough one. I can sympathize with the feeling of wanting to help this student feel successful but also not lowering the expectations for them.

    What I would do is maintain my high expectations, but refrain from grading it for now. I would bring them in and tell them how awesome it was that they persevered and got a paper in, and that you really want to give them a good grade for it, but it still needs a little more revising before that can happen. Have them sit with you one and one, and review all of the parts that need changing according to the rubric, and have them mark it up accordingly. Then have them take that home and just make the changes (reassuring them that it will be much easier now that they have the baseline done, and all they have to do is change it up).

    Or if you don't believe the student will complete it at home, have them make the revisions with you during your one-on-one sessions.

    That way you're not accepting inferior work and giving them a grade they don't deserve, the student is able to create something REALLY good and shows even further that perseverance pays off, and they get the opportunity to really work through the areas that they are weak in and create something they can really be proud of. You also avoid giving them a failing grade right off the bat and shutting them down even further. It really takes one-on-one work, and it's hard for teachers who have so many students, but I've done something similar with students similar to yours. These students really need someone at home who will do this with them before they turn in their work, but we all know that doesn't always happen in reality.

    As teachers we are expected to differentiate and provide scaffolds to help students meet the expectations, which I think these would fall under. But I don't think modifying instruction by reducing the expectations does them any favors, except in extreme cases.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Wow. Just wow. I can't believe even the state formal complaint procedure didn't bring about action. (I believe you but can't believe that the state would be that bad.)
     
  20. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Thank you all. Those who mentioned it could be a learning disability, that might be correct. However, and this is just my observation, it seems like attention difficulties are creating academic problems and not the other way around.

    My school doesn't have a large SPED program and referrals are not common. My school is reluctant to put students on IEPs due to the cost involved. I've been specifically told, in another situation, what would be the benefit of giving an IEP for ADD?

    Also, to answer another poster, handwriting is atrocious.
     
  21. luludc

    luludc Rookie

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    I'm a teacher in Texas too (after many years in another state) and have dealt with the same issues. Then this article came out and it confirms a lot of my (and my colleagues') suspicions:

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/denied/
     
  22. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Exactly.
     
  23. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    The bad handwriting may be dysgraphia, which can have many causes, as well as supports to improve performance. I believe that you are trying, but I do worry about students showing several signs of special needs who are swept under the rug.
    http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-web/article/625.html
    http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/ltrs/eligibility_add.htm
    http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/art/ld.rti.discrep.htm
    http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/read.dysgraphia.facts.htm
     
  24. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What kind of modifications or strategies would one use for a student with severe ADHD?
     
  25. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Don't modify for ADHD, unless it is absolutely needed - can't think of a situation where it would be needed for ADHD alone. Accommodations, on the other hand, could do a bunch of things, depending on the type of ADHD and how it affects them in The classroom
     
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  26. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Can you give some examples?
     
  27. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I have several very severe ADHD and ADD students in my class. One, per suggestion of his mom after reading something, suggested I stick headphones on him during independent work. it's like blinders for him.

    I also generally allow my kids to sit anywhere in the room for independent work.

    One common accommodation that cone up is extended time, but this is tricky: if they can't do the work, what good does tacking on more time do?
     
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  28. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    This is neither modification nor accommodation, but perhaps you could show a range of work quality examples. his immediate goal is to simply move up to the next stage without high pressure of immediate perfection.
     
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  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    One thing I typically do for my students with attention (or anxiety) issues is to chunk their work by cutting apart worksheets or tests and giving them only one section at a time.
     
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  30. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Yes, this is something I've considered but haven't tried. I think it might work well for this kid. Problem is, I don't do many worksheets. But I'm going to try something similar this week.

    I also do a lot of notetaking, which is fine for all of my other students, but sends this kid into ultra-distraction mode and zero work gets done. I might need to start providing a fill in the blank kind of sheet for this student.
     
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  31. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The problem with those generic accommodations is that they are not appropriate for all kids, but it makes it seem that something is being done for the student. The other issue is many times the work is so far above what the student can do that extra time won't help because the task is impossible for that child.


    Since ADHD is a set of behaviors with differing underlying issues, until it is determined what the individual child has problems with and design instruction, provide resources, and accommodations based on that individual child's problem, we will continue to have a bunch of generic accommodations thrown at the child.

    Some kids have problems with initiation as part of the ADHD. By that I don't mean just starting the task. I mean starting all of the sub tasks or processes along the way. This certainly takes a different set of accommodations and adult interaction than a child that struggles with planning and organization. It requires steps broken down and an adult to help the child initiate. Many times it takes helping the student get the started and restarted. They may know exactly what to do but their executive function stalls them at the start and along the way. Extended time alone will never help the child because it requires more.

    That is just one example. Since there is a list of areas that can be impacted by ADHD, you really need to understand what that individual child needs and start using methods and resources to help the child learn how to compensate and get around. Sometimes it is just training over years to get them where they need. Sometimes it is finding alternative ways to show what they know where the issue doesn't come up as often.
     
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  32. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    A few thoughts:

    1) Modifications/accommodations for assessments is different from making modifications/accommodations for how you deliver instruction - individualizing & customizing, provided you actually have time to do it, is perfectly fine and usually the best course of action. Modifying assessment without an IEP, when not used for grading, is also fine, provided that assessment is being used to inform your instruction. Modifying assessments to be used for grading would only be appropriate with an IEP, as others have mentioned.

    2) All of this discussion about why the child hasn't received more intensive services yet is exactly why we need RtI/MTSS - scaling services so that kids can receive help at earlier/lower stages of need. If the OP isn't in a district that supports Tier II support (not just crossing off a list of "interventions" that have been tried for purposes of qualifying for SPED), then you're in a bind without full eval.

    So, in my opinion by all means modify and display to the parent and child all kinds of ways the child is successful, but then explain how grades work and how work translates into grades.
     
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  33. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Very well said. I might qualify, though I don't think this is what you meant, that ADHD is interestingly not just a "set of behaviors with different underlying issues" like many other behaviors we may see, such as seeking attention, noncompliance, etc. There is some disagreement and lack of understanding of the exact neurological stuff happening, but the general consensus is that kids who are truly diagnosed as having ADHD generally have a deficit with prefrontal cortex functioning that translates into an inability to "inhibit prepotent responses" - in short, not being impulsive. This then prevents kids from having full access to their abilities with verbal & nonverbal working memory, emotional regulation, & behavioral organization/planning.

    Of course, how all of this manifests will be different with each child, but I think it may be helpful to know that there a few behavioral patterns out there which do have some commonalities underneath the hood.

    Pretty sure you knew all this, but for sake of public discussion...
     
  34. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I really like this idea, I am going to try this and see if it has an effect. Right now I am trying to find a way to break up the day more for this student, but we just don't seem to have the resources for someone to help him. He likely needs an aide.

    Headphones have not worked.
     
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  35. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I wasn't clear enough. ADHD is a neurological condition. Most studies do show problems in the pre-frontal cortex. I meant that the underlying issues are how ADHD manifests itself in the child, not that there are known different biological issues. Planning, organization, memory, inattention, impulsivity, etc are the different underlying issues which I was thinking about. They need to be addressed differently even though they all fall under ADHD which is diagnosed by criteria that are a set of behaviors.
     
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  36. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I have heard many people of giving the class notes beforehand to such students... Fill-in-the-blank just seems to be a variation of this. I'd give it a try.
     
  37. EdEd

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    Totally agreed ;)
     
  38. bros

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    It all depends on the grade level and student - for some, chunking the work might help. For others, making sure the student understands instructions - give them verbally in addition to written on a worksheet. Come up with a cue to give the student when they are not staying on task - something that the student would notice. If they need reinforcement, maybe write a quick note to the parent each week saying how the student did that week - if they do something really impressive, call/email/write the parent that day.
     
  39. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I had quite the distriction episode today. An assignment that took every other kid less than a minute took one kid over an hour.
     
  40. otterpop

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    Yes - that is what this child does too. It will be something they are perfectly capable of, but they will wrinkle the paper, talk to a neighbor, go to the bookshelf (even though they're not supposed to be out of their seat), pick lint off shirt, cry when I say to get to work... and then I have the student come in for recess, and after about 5 more minutes of this the paper gets done in 1 minute flat.
     
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  41. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Have you guys found any strategies that help with this. I really think this is most "real" ADHD" students. In my experience things like bubble chairs, headphones, less work, preferred activities..etc. have very very limited effects. I am searching for something more effective.

    Having the student put puzzles together helps them focus, but not sure it really transfers to other types of school work.
     

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