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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Well said, but….some of the modifications are necessary while remediation is taking place. For example, while the student’s reading is remediated using Wilson or OG, the tests should be read to him in the content areas to bridge this gap. Make sense?
Totally. I am actually referring to a situation where the child had a list of maybe 20 modifications, but no reference whatsoever to specific remedial approaches.