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"My question concerns accommodations and modifications in the the IEP. If an accommodation or modification is marked in the IEP, is the regular ed teacher required to include that accommodation on every test or activity they create? For example, if "word bank" is marked, does the teacher have to include a word bank on everything? And what about a calculator - can the teacher make an assignment where students are not allowed to use calculators?"
Your question goes to the specific skill or content area that is being taught and how the child's learning (mastery of the skill or content area) will be measured. For example, assume the child is studying history. The school will measure the child’s knowledge of history on an essay test. Assume that this child has severe dysgraphia (a learning disability in writing). An essay test is also a test of penmanship. On essay tests, the child must produce information by putting pen to paper.
Will an essay test measure this child’s knowledge of history? Or will this essay test measure the child’s disability (inability to write)? In this case, an appropriate modification may be to allow the child to write answers using a computer. The purpose of testing is to find out what the child has learned.
When teachers read an IEP and did not have input into the document, they often have reasonable and logical questions about how the IEP is to be implemented. If you need additional information about a student's needs (and you probably do) and what the IEP requires you to do, you need to take your questions to the IEP team and ask for their guidance.
Big Gripe About Special Education
This is my big gripe about special education.
Will Have to Work Harder - and So Will His Teachers!
Diana King is an iron lady. She told my parents, "Peter has a disability. Mom and Dad, this means Peter will have to work much harder to acquire these skills (reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic). His teachers will have to work harder to make sure we teach him the right way so he acquires these skills."
"We will not accept anything less than hard work because this is what is necessary for Peter to master these skills. If we lower the bar for Peter, he will never be able to make it in the real world."
If you turn to the dedication page of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, you will see that we dedicated the book to Diana King and to Roger Saunders (my counselor). Because they did not lower the bar for me, I learned how to read, write and do arithmetic.
Calculators or Teach Math Skills?
The child may still have problems - he may rotate the + to an x or write columns of numbers that look like a leaning Tower of Pisa. These errors are not because the child is ignorant of basic math skills (multiplication tables) but are often due to dysgraphia. The child should be taught how to correct for these errors.
Children with Memory Problems
with Communication Deficits
Low expectations are bad for children. As people lower their expectations, they don't learn. Their test scores drop. Finally, the child may test out as retarded. Why? The child’s brain was not used - abilities were untapped.
Helen Keller learned to communicate. She had intensive remediation from Annie Sullivan. Annie Sullivan’s work with Helen Keller was very much like today's ABA-Lovaas therapy programs for young children with autism – Helen received intensive, individualized, one-on-one remediation for several hours a day.
Shifting – I represented a child who had cerebral palsy and was also diagnosed as retarded. The child’s mother wanted him out of the self-contained program for "severe and profound children." But he always tested below 70 on IQ tests so the school refused to change his placement.
We got new evaluations by an experienced psychologist who was aware of his communication problems. This child ended up scoring around 110 on an IQ test. With this new data, his mother was finally able to get him out of the self-contained program.
Later, he joined forces with a designer of equipment for people with disabilities. They designed a new, improved, less expensive head pointer system that could be used with a keyboard.
Once a year or so, I read a well-written "Letter to the Editor" from him.
You got answers to more questions than you asked. But your email was the
first one I saw this beautiful morning. The coffee is hot and it tastes