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Curriculum modification


Jewels
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From California

Hello, my son is 9 Yo, Autism, ADHD, borderline cognitive, speech and language impairment. The lists goes on but we will leave it at that. We have been homeschooling since 1st grade and this year my kiddo returned to brick-and-mortar school. He is in general ed with pull out/push in support. My son reads well but struggles with math, reading comprehension, and writing. He struggles to retain and generalize. He responds with "I don't know" to almost any academic question. He is a slow learner that requires repetition and mastery and even then, he struggles to retain the skill. We have to go backwards often in order to move forward. He is below grade level and I am aware of that. He is really struggling to keep up in 4th grade gen ed curriculum. He is trying his best but I am not sure that he has the skills to access 4th grade curriculum meaningfully. The only work completed are the ones where he gets 1:1 or he copies from the board. I am sure that at this point, he is doing less work than his typical peers because he can't do the worksheets independently. There are a lot of blank worksheets in his packets. Teacher has not said anything but she sees his struggles. She has been very supportive considering she is teaching 30 students. I am not sure how they will grade him or what criterion they are going to use.

We have our final annual IEP next week. I feel that my son will require a modified curriculum at this point. Is there a right time for this? The learning goals will not be achievable if the work is not meaningful for him. The content and complexity is above his level. How does this work? We would like for him to remain in General Education because he is doing well socially. Dad feels that since this is his first year at the school, we should let the team work with him before considering any significant modifications. Should we march on with the plan in place or should I be discussing modifications with the school?

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From the East Coast. My son is now 18, in 12th grade. DX: ID60/Autism/ADHD/LD/Sp&L/OT/PT. As a parent I can relate to every word you typed, except homeschooling. I highly recommend you find an advocate to help you for the next 10 years.  Your son needs a curriculum that meets his needs, one that can move slower (cognitive delays means your son can learn but they process slower, slower thinking time, ie "I don't Know" usually just means he is thinking about the question asked and starting to formulate an answer and then needs to think about how to respond. Does he not know the answer or need more time to THINK??) I found Repetition is essential. So a curriculum that has repetition build in and adds a little bit of new each day.  Right now...You are looking for the foundation skills needed at the elementary level.  Once Middle School starts, school pace picks up quickly and he can get left behind, frustrated and behaviors will also be seen.  I recommend to Repeat school work at home on the same day to help repeat and master skills. For example, we created 2 reading classes a day and 1.5 math classes a day then I got copies of all materials sent home. My son had a 1:1 support person to help.  You might ask yourself if there are 30 students in a class and one teacher how can repetition happen at school.

As for the IEP meeting, the IEP is not final and you can have more than one per year. The right time to ask is right now.  You are the main person directing the IEP team.  Do you have Test scores in all areas to see his baseline grade level, strengths and weaknesses and to help guide the IEP team? An advocate can help you requests the right tests and support you during the IEP meeting.  Ongoing frequent testing is necessary to see if the curriculum is working for your son and he is making meaningful progress.   Collecting data and numbers and record keeping are a must.  I asked for homework of the work he does in school so you can see how your son works and help you to guide the IEP team and staff to what works best.  You know your child best.  I always go to the IEP meeting with a list of what is working great and what is not. I write all this in my parents concerns and give to the school before the meeting so everyone knows what My goals and priorities are ahead of the meeting.  FYI-My meetings were always 2-3hrs.  If someone needed to leave and you need them to stay then reschedule another meeting time.  I also include my recommendations what I think will work best.  I ask the team about what curriculums can support my son and then look them all up when I get home or ask to see samples of them.  As for modifications and accommodations there are thousands and the answer is it depends. Look up the meanings of these words, you may need both. Your teacher can provide you with a list they are probably already doing. Ask for a list. I would make copies of the blank worksheets and find out if he can do the work and then try to figure why they are blank. Did he run out of time, was he distracted, did he understand, etc.   

You really should take the ADayInOurShoes IEP advocate class.  I wish I had it 10 years ago.  Your sons Diagnoses are lifelong so educate yourself for small amount of money and then you will know how you can help in a positive way.  As parents we get emotional so that is why an advocate is a great idea.   FYI- My son finished modified Pre-Algebra curriculum in 11th grade and reads with support at 9th grade level.  Inferencing is still difficult as well as writing (He still has 2 ELA and 1 writing class each day). He attends a small HS and has 2-6 students per class which is the perfect size to decrease distractions and get repetition and support.

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I don't have a specific answer to your child's needs, but one important tip I learned from the Don't IEP Alone guide was to always send a Parent Concerns Letter in advance of every meeting.  I have done this each time we had a meeting this year (we've had 5 since February!) and it makes a huge difference. First, I'm better prepared for the meeting myself because I've taken time to think carefully about exactly what my daughter needs right now.  Second, it's better to lay out your concerns in advance to the IEP team before you sit down together, particularly if your child is struggling in any way.  It gives you a foundation for asking for testing if it hasn't been done and improves your chances of getting the right resources, particularly if what they're doing right now isn't working for him.  You are not limited to a certain number of meetings, and "final" is always changeable.  By learning to think of it as a journey rather than a destination, I was able to keep advocating when the interim results weren't what was needed.

Best wishes to you!

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First, have you done a Vision Statement with him and your family? That can help clear the deck and help guide your decision. Also, you need to see what your state requires as far as a regular diploma, what diploma options are available and so on. And which of those options fits with his vision for adult life?

If you do want to press on with a regular diploma, there will be obstacles. Most schools see the 13th, 14th, 15th year for our kids as black and white--you either get a regular diploma and graduate after 12th, of if you need the extra years you get life skills or vocational skills. But there's NOTHING that prevents a student spending those 3 extra years pursuing a diploma, if they need more time.

At least read over the vision statement stuff this weekend and think about it. I find this concept one that brings me the most clarity for my own child and clients.

 

https://adayinourshoes.com/iep-vision-statement/

 

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From a parent's perspective- you are your child's best advocate. You know him best. So ask for whatever you think he needs- smaller class size, modified work load, text to speech, speech to text..... etc. There is not a limit to what you can ask for, but make sure you have some information/data to back up why you are asking.

From a special education teacher perspective- the IEP is a process. It is not a one and done meeting. Parents have the right to ask for a meeting any time they feel one is warranted. Ask in writing for the best results because then they have to respond to you on a given timeline. The IEP is a "snap shot" of your child's academic process and is ongoing.

Having an advocate or someone from the regional center (if your son has services) is a good recommendation. Even though I am a teacher and very familiar with the process, my son's district was not giving us what we needed and we had to get an advocate to help us. Just remember, you are his voice until he is old enough to understand and advocate for himself (some of our kiddos never reach this point). Good luck!!

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My daughter is also n fourth grade and gets both push in and pull out services. I’m surprised your son doesn’t have modifications written into his IEP already. For example, math is retaught in the resource room. Then the teacher writes on the math pages specific strategies to help her remember the skill such as a box over a number that need to be carried when adding, or she’ll underline key words in a word problem such as less than to show its subtraction. She also uses number lines, skip counting charts, etc. An example for writing is she only has to write four sentences instead of two paragraphs and she’s given sentence starters. For reading comprehensive, the special Ed. Teacher numbers the answers to the questions in the reading passages. So in these ways, even though she on a 1st-2nd grade level in math and 2nd grade level  in reading,she can still participate in the fourth grade curriculum.

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17 hours ago, kamjomom said:

My daughter is also n fourth grade and gets both push in and pull out services. I’m surprised your son doesn’t have modifications written into his IEP already. For example, math is retaught in the resource room. Then the teacher writes on the math pages specific strategies to help her remember the skill such as a box over a number that need to be carried when adding, or she’ll underline key words in a word problem such as less than to show its subtraction. She also uses number lines, skip counting charts, etc. An example for writing is she only has to write four sentences instead of two paragraphs and she’s given sentence starters. For reading comprehensive, the special Ed. Teacher numbers the answers to the questions in the reading passages. So in these ways, even though she on a 1st-2nd grade level in math and 2nd grade level  in reading,she can still participate in the fourth grade curriculum.

Those all sound like accommodations rather than modifications.

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On 11/5/2022 at 12:28 PM, EmilyM said:

Those all sound like accommodations rather than modifications.

The decreased amount of work, hints and strategies written on her on her work are modifications so the curriculum is modified to her level. The charts, number lines graphic organizers etc. used to complete that work are accommodations 

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