Part B: Describing When These Services And Supports Are Needed On Your IEP, By Eileen

By October 30, 2023 Eileen, NVLD Bloggers

In my previous piece, I discussed how students with an NVLD can sometimes have too many services and modifications to address different areas of weaknesses. However, I do believe services for many  NVLD students are typically necessary at least in the elementary years as gaining these skills is so important to help make school and life as successful as possible. However, I do understand your child’s frustrations as it took me a while to understand the need for these services too.

For example, if your NVLD causes gross motor and social communication deficits then pull-out APE is also needed in the primary grades. These deficits make it very difficult to do activities like catching and kicking a ball and using appropriate levels of cooperation skills. Therefore the small group and individual instruction that is given in pull-out APE  is needed. However, I  empathize with your child if being separated from their classmates hurts them emotionally as it did for me. However, I do believe years later they will be very appreciative of everything their APE teacher (s) taught them and they will see why it was needed.  When  I see kids doing activities such as using the monkey bars or playing catch I think to myself without my APE teacher, Rhonda Fletcher’s direct instruction I would never have been able to do these activities.

Now in terms of having shared aide support on their IEPs, I understand for many with an NVLD this is a necessary support through at least 6th grade given how their school day is structured.   The biggest reason is these students often need significant assistance with fine motor skills tasks such as writing, cutting, drawing,  tying their shoes, and buttoning their clothing. Also following multiple directions is often challenging so direct support is needed to complete class assignments correctly.  Now what many don’t realize is that in the beginning, their spatial deficits can bring significant challenges including being able to navigate their school environment(i.e maintaining and organizing work space ) so full-time assistance is likely needed.  However, by high school, these challenges aren’t so much an issue so aide support should gradually be removed. Personally, I believe this will make your child a more confident student.

Also, as difficult as it can be to leave the classroom it will likely be required for Speech Therapy until at least the end of elementary school given the nature of the service causes interruptions to your other classmates. I feel this is especially true if you face articulation or tone of voice difficulties as intensive practice needs to take place so you need a quiet and supportive environment to reach an accurate level of progress. I get your child’s frustration as after the primary grades for most kids it is no longer fun so many just want it off their IEPs but removing too quickly leads to less successful outcomes. That being said, by 8th grade if your child isn’t ready to have speech service removed then it should be delivered through the push-in model as typically NVLD students need as much time as possible to complete their academic requirements.

Another thing I agree with pertains to “effort “grading. Educational teams hesitate to suggest this instead of using the traditional method of modifying as it requires the student to possess a  high level of determination to work hard and parents to remain in close contact with their child’s teachers. Another reason why teams hesitate to use it is that everyone has a different opinion of what great ‘effort’ really is so parents can become frustrated with the grade the teacher gave. That being said, if your child is driven to succeed and you’re involved parents  I strongly suggest using ‘effort’ grading. It gives a better idea of what your child is actually achieving and you will be able to see what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Now in terms of not saying yes to every pull-out service or saying no to support altogether, you must be realistic about each decision you make as in some cases these services are absolutely needed in the beginning years of your child’s education. Without these supports, you can not achieve as much and can face many more difficulties as time goes on. Therefore you need to be honest about services you could do without or less frequently. One example is not saying yes to an extra resource room period until you reach high school when academics become more demanding to take advantage of classes like Technology. Classes like this provide lots of opportunities for social interactions which are much needed for students with an NVLD. It is never easy so just remember to always factor in all of your deficits and strengths too as you make these important decisions.


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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