Let’s say I’m a really bad tennis player, but I want to get better.
I decide to go to a tennis pro and after sizing me up the pro gives me the following suggestions:
- Get a tennis racket with a bigger head size so you will miss the ball less
- Make sure to wear a headband to keep vision clear and unobstructed.
- Get a good pair of tennis sneakers so you are sturdy on your feet.
- Get a really good grip so the racket doesn’t turn in your hand.
- Make sure you have a strap for your glasses.
- Do a lot of push-ups and start running each day.
Now go play tennis and let me know how it turns out.
Wait, I’m confused. I’m a really bad tennis player. I don’t know how to play tennis. Shouldn’t someone teach me the skill before I start playing?
Drawing a parallel, here are some of the primary items on an IEP I saw recently for a kid who was severely struggling with reading, spelling and writing:
- Access to electronic text (e.g., downloadable books).
- Limit number of items student is expected to know.
- Read test aloud.
- Provide books on tape, CD or read aloud.
- Go for OT & Speech and Language.
There were about 10 more of these type of suggestions, but you get the idea.
Like the tennis teacher’s ideas, these are modifications, or work-arounds. They may be nice, just like getting good sneakers will be nice, but my tennis game is not going to be improving much with a new grip, sneakers and headband.
Neither will my reading, spelling and writing with the modifications proposed.
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