Questions about students with disabilities

Discussion in 'General Education' started by nstructor, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Oct 21, 2020

    1) Who is supposed to modify assignments for students with IEPS-the regular ed teacher, the special ed teacher, or both?
    2) If a student does no work or a very bare minimum, shouldn't they receive a failing grade?
    Thanks for your help!
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Oct 21, 2020

    If the student is in a general education class, the general education teacher needs to make the modifications. The special ed teacher could be used as a resource to determine modifications. If the student is doing nothing, the two should work together to determine how to make the work more accessible to the student.
     
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  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    With something as intense as a modification of should be a team thing. The sped teacher would be an excellent resource for determining what of the curriculum the student can reasonably do.
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Oct 21, 2020

    In my current state, modifications are not allowed to be included on IEPs unless the student has an intellectual disability. I teach mild/moderate, so therefore no students in my program have modifications. That was a big adjustment when I moved here.

    In my home state, modifications were very common (at least back when I was doing field experiences/student teaching) for students with even mild disabilities. In all of the schools I was in, the sped teacher was in charge of these. Providing the modifications and many of the accommodations was considered a major part of the job. My dad was also a sped teacher and this was how things worked in his district as well.

    That said, my home state also has a rule that no sped teacher can have more than 16 students, and it's very common for there to be one sped teacher per grade level. Services are almost exclusively "co-teaching" and the sped teacher is considered part of the grade level team.

    Here, we have many more students and are part of the sped team, not a grade level team. Covid has majorly changed everything, but in normal years I work with 4 grade levels and 12+ gen ed teachers. A "normal" caseload is around 25-35 students, but I've had up to 50. My school is the only one in the district that has two sped teachers; all of the others have one K-6 teacher. I was K-5 in a previous school and I was the only teacher K-6 when I was hired at my current school. My services are all pull out. Gen ed teachers are in charge of accommodations. If I were to do something like read all tests aloud to every child that has that accommodation, that's literally all I'd ever do.

    Your second question is pretty loaded and would depend on a variety of factors. We use standards based grading here, on a 1-4 system, so effort really plays no part in grades. It's all just based on the data surrounding the standard, and like I said, we can't modify anything. So a child who does no work would likely be receiving all 1s because there is no evidence they are mastering any standards. We wouldn't just be able to accept that a kid is going to do no work, though. We'd have to be doing tons of behavior interventions, behavior plan(s), tweaking the accommodations, having problem solving meetings, etc.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Oct 22, 2020

    To back this up a little more, if just any teacher can modify lessons for students with disabilities, why have a teacher who has acquired the Teacher of Students with Disabilities, or SPED designation? I spent my money and took the time to attend the graduate level courses that earned me the TOSD certificate. I learned a lot, put a lot of time into understanding how a myriad of disabilities can, and do, impact the ability or how students learn. There is no magic bullet or single modification that will make a student with disabilities into a so-called "normal student". There are, however, many measured steps that can be taken to help the child learn to cope and be successful, and that is the bread and butter zone of the SPED teacher.

    FWIW, when a special needs child "does no work", that is usually a pretty clear signal that the child needs more help to be successful. Do some just give up, figuring that they will fail anyway? Yes, they do. Do some become so frustrated in what they can't do that they prefer to simply not try? Yes, when you fail enough times, continuing to try starts to feel like a fool's errand. There is nothing simple, in most cases, when you are dealing with children who have special needs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  7. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    This was 1 of the most frustrating parts of teaching that I could never get a straight answer for after getting a new sped teacher leader in our school. It is very possible laws have changed and no1 told me. lol ( Seriously!)
    I always figured if the kid was in my class, I should provide the materials and lessons along with whatever modifications were on the IEP. I was very fortunate to be in a state that did not require a kid who reads way below level to do "on level" reading work.
    If the child tested on a 2nd grade level in reading or math, I was able to instruct on a 2nd grade level and use whatever materials/ assignments that worked. When giving grades, we made a notation saying something like : This grade was based on level ___ work. Once things switched to standards, there was a whole checklist of behaviors/ work effort to mark. I told sped parents to focus on those marks.
    If the student was pulled for reading or math, the sped teacher was in charge of providing the activities and assignments. That was the way I was trained ( a long time ago, I admit)
    However, our new sped program expected us to do what I saw as "their " planning and producing of materials/ activities for years now.
    When they pulled the kids, they wanted classroom teachers to provide all of the activities and assignments. Maybe that is a new law. I do not know. Someone should have been honest with me a long time ago. I felt like sped was ditching their responsibility often. It was not like they had a class of kids either. Often, they'd see some of the kids 1 on 1. Then when those kids were absent, they had free time. Some of the kids were absent a lot. I know it is not like this everywhere. It was not uncommon for them to have 3 free periods a day.

    There were only 3 times a year a test was required for everyone on the same level. I had to give the test to all, and it was ridiculous. I'd tell kids who couldn't read to do their best ( b/c we were told to), but then I'd assure them individually that they could color when they were done. ( If they can't even read, how are they supposed to take a reading test on a 4th grade level?)
    I had a really sweet new kid last year who couldn't read burst out crying b/c he really wanted to follow the instructions, but could not read. I think he just did not know me well enough to understand that I'd be happy with whatever he did ( drew.).
    If the sped child refused to do anything, I found over the years that it was effective to tell the sped teacher, principal, and parent at the same time via email, so everyone got the same message. If I thought it was needed, I called and talked to parents too. (I'd keep good relationships w/ these parents whenever possible.)
    It always led to a meeting where the student was either pulled or given 1 on 1 help. The 1 on 1 in classroom was not much help though b/c the people they had pretty much just did the work for the kid.
    Despite being told the purpose was to learn the material, not just to complete a worksheet, activity, or project. I am not sure what went on in the sped rooms. Maybe I was spoiled b/c I had known 2 of the best sped teachers I could imagine before or maybe laws changed! The Sped Dept at our school was the thorn in the side of most teachers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
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  8. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    Nov 2, 2020

    Perhaps a little off-topic, but modifications in general end up hurting a student. Students with various disabilities are going to have a harder time in time and need to be able to productively use their accommodations to achieve the same levels as others in their cohort. Limiting the number of questions or cutting the number of multiple choices in half is damning for any student, let alone one with special needs.

    Imagine an overhead light bulb needs to be changed. A short person may need a stepstool (an accommodation) to change the light. Lowering the ceiling (a modification) so that one person can change the bulb is not realistic nor beneficial for anyone.
     
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  9. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Nov 2, 2020

    Some students need those accommodations to be successful. If they could function without them then they wouldn't be in special ed. Apparently, you haven't dealt with students who truly need their accommodations.
     
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  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Nov 2, 2020

    1) Who is supposed to modify assignments for students with IEPS-the regular ed teacher, the special ed teacher, or both?
    Typically, the accommodations are done by both teachers to some degree. For example, some of my students receive extra time to complete assignments, but they may receive that extra time with the SED teacher during another class period, not mine. I can easily do things like provide copies of notes, but the SED teacher may be the one who provides a reader or scribe. Often we use modifications to lead up to the regular work. Those assignments are typically handled by the SED teacher outside of my regular-education classroom. We will deal with grade level materials in my class with accommodations provided as needed. The SED teacher will use modified work to build student skills in his/her class at a different time.

    We have done more modified work in the regular education setting since we have been remote just because it is so, so difficult to get some of the supports in place at home. Take two of my family members who have children in special education placements. One is able to do work pretty much like she does at school because she knows when to ask for help and what tools she has availab.e, plus Mom is able to provide the accommodations and understand the work enough to help out. The other is much lower functioning and needs consistent help. The parents are as low functioning, or perhaps more so. than the child, so they can't help out at home. At least when we are giving modified work, there is SOMETHING getting done.

    2) If a student does no work or a very bare minimum, shouldn't they receive a failing grade?
    Possibly. Is the lack of work related to the disability or not? If the student has not been provided the necessary supports laid out in the IEP, then that's not a kid problem. If the supports have been provided and the student still refuses, then that's a kid problem. The old saying, "you can lead a horse to water" applies to special education kids as well as regular kids.

    Anytime there is a discussion of accommodations vs. modifications, I always remember one teacher who was dead-set against accommodations for students. He felt that they gave a student an unfair advantage. He wore reading glasses, and I told him that he wasn't allowed to use them anymore because he would have an unfair advantage. Suddenly it clicked for him. The accommodation allows someone to have "normal" access to curriculum. It doesn't change the curriculum.
     
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  11. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Nov 2, 2020

    It seems in recent years that it was expected we plan the small-group/individual lesson if a para is taking the students out, which is all well and good, while the SPED teachers had their own lessons. But I also recall last year the SPED teacher wanting me to prepare.
     
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  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I see what you're saying, but I think you're also not taking into account the students who truly need modifications. Modifications shouldn't be tossed out like candy because giving a student a modification is truly changing what the student is expected to learn.

    We're not changing the lightbulb for everyone, we're giving that one student their own lightbulb to work with.
     
  13. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    This is what has been the norm up here for awhile. Classroom teachers do all of the planning and prep for the kids, I never figured it out if it was due to the new teacher leader or some change in law. ( I asked several times and never got a straight answer.)
    Most teachers where I was at could have done w/out any sped teacher. They did IEP's ( not even really knowing most of the kids) and writing ridiculous behavior plans. They'd be something like this: Every 5 minutes _____ does not _______, they will be rewarded with ______. When 8 of 20 some kids have those plans, they are impossible to follow due to time. I don't think they work either unless there is some consequence when _ does the behavior 10x and there is no consequence. I became very vocal ( I usually was not) about these types of plans. My guess is most places run differently. IDK....I am just glad to be done w/ it all! :)
     
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  14. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    In my state, we aren't allowed to modify curriculum unless a student is on certificate track instead of diploma track. Accommodations only.
     
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  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    That makes some sense to me. If everyone agreed they could handle the work needed for a diploma, they'd need to access said work, not have it modified.
     
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  16. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Nov 3, 2020

    Accommodations are what I mentioned.
     
  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Yeah, I think we're all just trying to differentiate between accommodations and modifications. =)
     
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  18. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Ah gotcha! I'm tired LOL
     
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