While I understand students with an NVLD need to address all their areas of weakness such as their slower processing speed, motor skills deficits, and poor visual processing skills, I also believe students sometimes receive too many services and modifications to help them overcome these. I believe this because their self-esteem greatly decreases as they are intelligent enough to realize having these modifications and receiving services isn’t the “norm” which can make them feel “stupid” compared to others. Due to this, I feel services should be delivered through the push-in model or through indirect services. Also, I feel accommodations should be used before modifications.
One example of this is placing NVLD students with gross motor deficits in Adaptive Physical Education for their gym placement. I understand these deficits need to be addressed so one solution would be to provide push-in services. This would entail having an APE and regular Gym Teacher co-teach the class. It would allow the students to receive the modifications and accommodations they need while learning the importance of physical activity with all of their classmates. An example of this would be lowering the net for volleyball and always offering programs like weight training at the secondary level. Studies show these students are more accepting of the services this way. Personally, I would agree with this theory. I enjoyed gym class so much more when students like myself started to receive push-in and indirect APE Services which for me was in the 3rd grade as I loved participating with my classmates.
Another example is having work modified rather than using accommodations. The downside of modifying is that it can often give students a false vision of what they’re really achieving. Many students do notice this at the end of year through their lower than hoped for grades on their final and state exams. One suggestion is to have teachers use ‘effort’ grading. This is often better as the student still completes all of the requirements but effort is included more when grades are calculated. This also involves your academic teachers sharing what your strengths and weaknesses were for each marking period with your resource room teacher. This gives you more of an understanding of what you have actually achieved and where improvements need to be made. Passing my regents exams made me a believer in this approach.
The next example is continuing a shared teacher’s aide in high school. In my experience needing direct support such as a scribe decreases as most courses are lecture and discussion based and teachers often provide notes to you on a powerpoint. However I do agree that in classes like a science lab an aide is often necessary as many NVLD students have fine motor skills deficits so needing assistance in the lab setting is likely. Therefore having a part time shared aide on your IEP for the beginning of high school and gradually removing it would likely be a better option. I believe this because removing my aide support led me to being a much more active participant in my classes. More importantly I learned how to go to my teachers to get my class notes and to set up test/quizzes arrangements which prepared me for college.
Another example being pulled out for Speech Therapy as eventually it reduces the amount of class time you have to finish your academic requirements and this can overwhelm some students.However I completely understand many face social communication deficits so continuing speech therapy is so important for their overall success.. Therefore studies do show a good solution would be to have both pull out and push in support starting in 7th or 8th grade which could take place during your resource room period. Your difficulties such as asking questions appropriately and following directions would be addressed by helping you with your assignments not just through direct practice. Personally I do agree with it as through receiving speech therapy through both models I observed an increase in my motivation levels which brought greater progress..
Lastly, saying yes to every offered service isn’t necessarily a good idea as leaving the classroom too much can hurt the students emotionally. These services are typically needed especially in the beginning school years though understandably being in the classroom is important too for social and academic development.Therefore, parents and IEP teams should decide what services are the most needed. If you’re unsure a reasonable approach would be to pick one or two services that you believe can be effective through using the push in model . The reason being you have to remember, a typical school day is only 7 hours so spending as much as time as possible in the classroom is vital to achieve social and academic success.
Eileen is a Project Social Ambassador and blogger for The NVLD Project. She loves helping others understand they can achieve their goals and dreams through hard work and dedication.
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