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Accommodation vs. Modification

Posted Nov 08 2012 12:00am
Well, it's happened.  The Team is talking about modifying Jaysen's curriculum.
Shit.
I mean, if it's what he needs, of course I am all for it and will support it fully.
But how do we know he needs it?
This is his first year being mainstreamed, due to technicalities of the district...
Their response to me was that he bombed his econ test. Okay...well he's also aced some other tests, so....?

I have a meeting next week to discuss it. We're also doing a REED and Hopes and Dreams? The REED (Review of Existing Educational Data) is to determine what evals we would need in his 3rd year re-eval coming in December, based on class reports and standardized tests. Mkay. The Hopes and Dreams?  Sounds like a load of fluffy bullshit to me. Let me guess- we're all going to sit around in a kumbaya circle and talk about where we want to see Jaysen a year from now, then 3 years, 5 years, blah blah blah. Oh gawd, make it stop.....

Back to the issue at hand...
I'm pissed off that they just want to modify.
I don't think they've exhausted their efforts beyond a moderate attempt, and even then, it's been more of a "let's see what's on our bag of tricks" approach.

Yes, Jaysen has accommodations.
He has a parapro. He has extended time. He is allowed the option of working in a quieter environment. He is allowed breaks.

So what's the problem?
I'm not convinced that he knows how to use these "resources".
I'm not convinced that he is able to identify when he needs these "resources".
He knows he should take a break when he's upset, but does he know when he needs the break?

Jaysen has self-regulation issues. He misses the "cues" that tell us we are getting worked up, and can seemingly go from 0-60 in no time. Is a break effective, if he's already a 8 on a 1-10 scale?

The real problem???
Jaysen is one of those kids who is all over the board when you talk about function. He's smart, and he's verbal. That combination is usually assumed to be "high functioning", based on presentation. However, his verbal abilities are way above his cognitive ones. You can ask him a question, and he will answer it like he is "supposed to". Ask him to expand, or the same question phrased more open-ended? Omg, are we even having the same conversation?  I tried studying with him for a test, the night before he knew NOTHING. He ended up acing the test. ACING it.

The problem is that Jaysen is so "internalized" (I just made that up), meaning that he perseverates, a lot. So much in fact, that I believe that's his main deficit. His perseveration leads to heightened anxiety, not knowing how to deal with that anxiety leads to heightened frustration, frustration leads to refusal, non-compliance, outbursts, or kaboom.  He doesn't show outward measurable signs, so FBA's have been ineffective. They can't track what they can't see, and there are no patterns to pick up on.  So to them, it looks like "totally random behavior".

Well we all know better than that. Nothing is "totally random". Something is happening, we just aren't able to identify it consistently. But it's not "random".

I'm all over the effing place on this post, no?

Anyway, because they can't identify patterns in Jaysen's behavior, they want to modify his curriculum because he's still getting frustrated and upset. They think a reducing expectations will help that.

I think that's kind of nuts.

You're telling me you can't identify what's upsetting Jaysen, so you are going to assume it's the expectations placed on him.  You are also going to assume that reducing these expectations is going to decrease his frustration and raise his willingness to participate in school.
Let me ask you this.
I suck at math. Seriously, that's even exaggerating for me. I am embarrassed at how horrible my math skills are, and I should have been paying more attention in 3rd grade instead of stuffing my bra in the bathroom. But back to the topic....

If you put 20 algebra problems in front of me, and see that I am struggling with them, what can you do?
1- You can reduce the number of problems from 20 to 10.
     This is great, if I even knew how to solve for "x" on even ONE problem, but I don't.
2-You can give me more time.
     Another great one. I have even more time I have to spend in algebra hell...
3- You can give me a calculator.
     Great. That whole "watch I can make it say hell and boobs" joke never gets old.
4- You can break it down and explain it to me in steps.
     Now this may work...I have bigger boobs now and don't need to stuff my bra.
5- You can give me basic math facts instead of algebra.
     This is a great option if I don't have a strong grasp on basic math and need to back up.

My point is, if you can't identify the problem, how do you know what the solution is? I think they are wanting to jump into "modification" (option 5), before 1-4 are exhausted. Moving from Accommodated to Modified curriculum is a huge deal. It means my son will never graduate with a diploma. It has the potential to affect his life negatively.  He will not have the opportunity to attend college. He wants to go to college. He wants to be a teacher. Even if college isn't in the cards, I at least want him to have that option.  Options are important, people.
I'm not comfortable that they've shown me he is unable to achieve the minimum required outcomes in the general setting with accommodations. What are those accommodations? That's where identifying the problem comes in.

I'm rambling again.
Because I'm frustrated.
Because Jaysen is *rightfuckingthere* on the fence.

I've asked for the Autism specialist to come in and observe.  The Autism consultant is the douchebag from the "shitty school" who had no freaking idea anything about Autism in real life with real kids.  But that's where I have to start.

I need help peeps.
I need your opinions, advice, experiences, stories, etc.
I need to know if it's better to not modify but maybe put in a more restrictive environment like up his sp.ed time and increase Resource? Or is it better to modify and keep in gen.ed?

I hate this.
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