Accomodating in the general education classroom

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Most often the report confirms what I had intuitively guessed about the student.

As personally validating and satisfying as that confirmation often is, it should not be a prerequisite to providing timely critical accommodations to my students.

In many cases, these changes have been humbling as well as validating.

For instance, when I allowed a child extra time on a test and discovered she did in fact know more then she had been demonstrating in the timed situation, or when a student brilliantly explained orally what he had failed to convey in writing, I felt thrilled for the student, but shamed by the missed opportunities to make earlier adaptations.

I suspected a test would reveal that he was dyslexic. Unfortunately, his father would have nothing to do with outside testing, so my brilliant student received low Bs in my class and never got the help he needed to express what he knew. If asked, I would have responded that I needed more specific information about the student before I could know best how to support him.

To many readers, I am sure that response sounds legitimate and reasonable.

For many years, this is what I did: I would identify a student who was having problems, make some basic observations about what was particularly difficult for him, and then request further information about the student in the form of screening, special tests, and/or a learning evaluation.

Read More A common response to students who are having counting problems is to simply have them do daily counting practice; however, students with counting and comparing difficulties also benefit from practice that utilizes patterns and relationships.Students with slower processing speeds or executive-function problems are often no different from their peers in math proficiency in first and second grade; but as they confront multistep computations in upper elementary school tests, their scores tumble because they lack the skills necessary to produce organized, efficient output.Read More Math-specific concepts seem to be particularly difficult to master.Consequently, many students who need the help that an evaluation can provide are denied it.I need to be clear about something—I remain an enthusiastic proponent of testing and evaluations.

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