Forum Replies Created
Module 4.3: Assigned Response to a Colleague’s Posting
Hi, again, Dawn. Your description of the Quality Pattern was really helpful to me. It was interesting to me, as I examined quality it related to behaviors that I readily saw in myself, but in my students I focus on the concept of accuracy and not quality.
I agreed with you description of the Latency Pattern. But, in my response I also included processing time as part of latency. When a student comes to me with a built-in need for time to process before responding, I do not see that as a criteria for determining if “they understand that task or question ”
You gave a great example of another pattern. The level of exposure to foundation skills that the child has previously had at home or at school definitely can result in interference in learning. And, it is a pattern that we have to work hard to overcome.
Module 4.3 Assignment
Part I: Comments Regarding Types of Patterns
Patterns of Quality
Quality is defined as a demonstration of a concept or skill in a way that, while allowing the child to accomplish a desired task, is done in such a way that it may hinder understanding of others, the accuracy of the performance, and/or may get in the way. Examples of quality include, issues around intelligibility, application of too much or not enough force, moving too quickly or too slowly, talking too loudly or softly etc. Patterns of quality don’t automatically suggest a concern; rather, they are an important consideration if they are interfering with interactions, physical health, and/or acquisition of future concepts and skills.
My understanding of this type of pattern is that we should not only look at a student’s abilities and needs, but also at what might be considered the level that they have achieved within the skill. If their quality is not where we would like it to be we examine why that is. Since every child develops at a different rate, the quality with which they perform the task may be acceptable or may indicate a lower level of the characteristics in the way they demonstrate that skills. If the child is not performing the skills with desired qualities, it may indicate a cause for stalled learning. It do find quality to be a difficult concept as it seems to a less precise feature to measure that those that would traditionally be used to make a goal IEP worthy, such as level of accuracy. If accuracy is considered a part of the quality pattern then it is more understandable to me.
Patterns of Latency
Latency, as it relates to learning or development, is defined as the amount of time it takes for someone to act or “do” after a request or prompt. In other words, how quickly does a child respond? Examples of latency include issues around time to task or verbal responses to questions or prompts, and also include concerns around impulsivity. Patterns of latency may not always be a concern, however they are important to consider if they are negatively impacting learning, development, health, communication, and/or behavior.
This pattern is one that I seem to be more aware of tracking than I am with quality. Pauses in response time. Most children that I work with seem to have their own requirements for wait time they require processing a request or direction. Taking the time to observe this process time and to identify the needed level, allows us to be realistic in our expectations on students. Rather than to repeat a direction or question, providing them with opportunity to process and respond allows them to have success in meeting expectations. As one of our extra handouts for this module says, “we have little control over making development happen faster.” If we accept the need for each child to process at its own rate, we are overcoming a potential barrier in all skill development
Patterns of Assistance
Patterns of Assistance is when an adult, a peer/sibling, or the environment performs part of the concept or skills under consideration. Assistance alone does not warrant concern or a higher tier of instruction (i.e., assistance might be expected based on what is known about developmental expectations); however, when a pattern of needing assistance (e.g., required under predictable circumstances/situations beyond what would be expected of a novice learner, for the child’s age/present level of ability/developmental readiness, culture, and/or prior exposure) emerges, a concern is noted.
Level of assistance is definitely a pattern requiring educator awareness. When we are first introducing a step in skill development, the child will need a higher level of support from us. However, if we maintain that same high degree of assistance, we are interring with the child’s full skill development. Since multiple staff may be working with the student on the same learning, it is important that the level of support from staff be clearly stated by the teacher and that progress be monitored using a consistent amount of assistance.
Patterns of Interfering Behaviors
An interfering behavior is one that a child demonstrates instead of the desired or expected concept of skills. Not all interfering behaviors are aggressive or purposeful; however many times they are (e.g., hitting, biting, throwing). At times, behaviors can interfere given that the child (by choice or otherwise) is not able to maintain or establish attention, walks away from interactions or tasks, or even outright refusal to participate. Sometimes these are unconscious (sensory/biological); so this pattern has less to do with challenging behavior and more to do with a barrier to learning.
Behavior patterns are frequently a concern for educators. I feel that if we track unwanted behaviors using an Antecedent/Behavior/Consequence format, we gather valuable information into what is happening and why. I believe that regardless of whether the behavior is by choice or unconscious we still face challenges that interfere with the child’s learning and often with the learning environment for other students as well.
Part II: Patterns in My Own Skills
I would select the pattern of Quality as the area that most frequently tries to interfere with my actions at work. When multiple high priority needs occur, it is difficult for me to focus on just one at a time. This happens even though I know that my quality deteriorates when I mix my focus. The variables for me are most noticeable on days when, as an itinerant staff person, I have scheduled time with specific children and programs but the other demands of my job do not diminish. However, it is my choice to lose focus of one priority while drifting to another. These decisions do result in a pattern that diminishes my quality of job performance. To improve quality I need to make a list of my current priorities and then pick one to complete at a time. This requires much self-control.
Assigned comment on a a colleague’s posting for Module 4.2
I really like your comparison of the “messy middle” to the statement that educators don’t have a crystal ball. We don’t have all of the answers to all of the challenges that our students present. We can just stay focused on what we identify as achievable outcomes for them and then look for approaches that might work.
I agree with most of your responses to Ashley’s questions. However, I think that since every child is a triangle, every child may have skills needing responses at different intensities. Although I understand your reasoning, it is the Team process that determines IEP worthy priorities. I think this may include skills that would fall in that second tier of the instructional model. If an identified need can be met with just adding supports that target a desired outcome, then we may be determining a less specialized approach to teaching the child for success in that area. The best practices that you mention include trusting in the Team process. In all actuality our responses are both correct, because of the individualized nature of our efforts. Maybe we just were considering Dr. K P-F’s question: “What is the what?”
Module 4.2 Assignment, Part II
I failed to address the final question before submitting my comments 🙂
I child who is eligible for special education because of an identified disability will have a wide range of skills and needs. Therefore, some of their instruction will follow the Tier 1 model of working on the common outcomes expected of all children at their age/grade level. Guided by our state standards, they will need to work on the same skills as their peers. The level of intensity of instruction will be unique to each child and their abilities. A child who struggles with reading may excel in math and require minimal instructional supports even though they have an Individual Education Plan.
Module 4.2 Assignment
I do not believe that all Tier 3 needs are IEP worthy. This is especially true for the younger child, as they may just not yet be at a developmental level to learn the full complexity of the skill. Additionally they may not have had the opportunity to develop foundation skills because of the experiences they have had before starting school. There are those children who have a clearly identifiable disability and there education should be guided by an IEP. But there will also be those children who just need the increase in intensity and frequency of instruction to achieve the desired outcomes.
The “messy middle” is an interesting descriptor. As Dr. K P-F is using it, I would define it as that point in the educational setting where we are looking at a child who is struggling. We know that there are skills they are not developing at the same level as many of their peers, but we need to figure out why. We identify the specific needs areas and we look at ways to focus in on the components of teaching that child in a way that he/she can be successful. Although the path we will follow is not clear cut, we keep focused on the desired outcome. As educators we may struggle with the approaches that will work, but we keep our teaching set on individualizing instruction. When one effort doesn’t work we try another way. The process can get messy and complicated and confused, but if the student achieves and succeeds we have reached a target.
A Tier 2 need can be IEP worthy, in my opinion. If we have provided quality instruction and have nonetheless identified that the student has a disability that significantly impacts their educational success we are mandated to choose the IEP model.. Needs are identified and prioritized. A need may not require the level of instruction that would reach a Tier 3 model, but the student may just require a higher level of support that will move learning from its stalled status. By setting the skill as worthy of an IEP goal, we will carefully consider our instructional approaches and collect data to document the success of that instruction.
Assigned Response for Module 4.1
Hi Again Olena,
It sounds like your district is similar to mine when looking at struggling students. That intervention approach is really important to make sure that students aren’t incorrectly referred for a disability determination. They also help maintain a student-centered plan and track it for success with data.
The big challenge we always face is that special educators, with all the job commitments they already face, are challenged to find time to in their day to provide additional academic supports to additional struggling students. With grown caseloads and a decrease in paraprofessional support, I feel districts need to face the reality of the expectations being placed on educators and find ways to allow for collaborative efforts that will result in success for all students.
Module 4.1 Assignment
In our district, struggling students are referred to the Intervention Team for the school they attend. Members of that Team will then begin a process of identifying what specific challenges the student is facing. Available information is taken into consideration and the student’s general education teacher is expected to bring specific interventions that already have been used along with the data that reflects the student’s response to those approaches. The Team then makes decisions on the next steps to take to get the student back on the track to success. These may include added approaches for the general education team or referrals to academic support programs available at the school. As the intervention process continues, if the student’s struggles are significant and ongoing, there may be a referral for assessment to determine if a disability exists that would initiate the IEP process for special education. At times, special education teachers may be asked to provide direct supports to the student or indirect support through consultation with the general education teachers. The zigzag process is a good reminder of the need for flexibility in the way we teach. Moving from one column to the other (and back again) while we look at the specific challenges a specific student faces will allow educators to plan for success.
Struggling students should not need a special education referral to get the added supports that will allow them to be successful. In an ideal world, the general education teacher would create a classroom that followed the principals of universal design and person-centered instruction. This is a big expectation on teachers who are already facing big professional challenges. Often the special education teacher does have resources and knowledge that would support the general education teacher and the struggling students. But they face their own professional challenges in providing successful services for their assigned students with IEPs. My opinion is that any efforts a district makes to expand collaboration time will allow for planning that keeps all educators working towards better learning environments for students.
Unfortunately too much collaboration time is lost to other school obligations.
Module 3.3 Response to a Colleague’s Posting
Olena, I really like your identification of the PLAAFP as the student’s “Story.” This is such a less intimidating approach than saying we’re going to collect information for the student’s Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance. If it is thought of as The Story of Billy, then it might be easier for the Team to focus in on what’s most important to include in the IEP about Billy and it might be more motivating for all members of the Team, including the family, to comfortably contribute.
You’re right, that as professionals we always need to remind ourselves that the family knows the child best. When we assume the role of the experts on a student, the family members become disengaged or even frustrated.
As case managers, you remind us that it is not our responsibility to collect ALL of the antecedent information. I agreed that its a time consuming process and we should share those expectations with the rest of the Team.
When identifying the information that should be included in the PLAAPF, the criteria that really matters can be collected if the group has followed the Four Filters. As Dr. K. P-F. indicated in this module, we need to listen to our hearts. But, we also have to establish a structure that allows the Team to make sure to include the following about the needs we are identifying:
–they be a result of the student’s disability
–they must have an negative effect on the daily activities
–specialized instruction must be required
–a time frame of one year is realistic for the student to meet the need.
The family must must receive intermittent reminders that they are integral members of the IEP Team. I really liked the snapshot tool from the “What Matters” book by Janice Flaka. It could easily be turned in to a blank questionnaire based on the statements listed for abilities and needs. The case manager could send that home in advance of the annual meeting and let the parent know that they would call them a week ahead of the meeting to discuss their input. This would allow the family to be prepared and confident when the PLAAAFP is discussed at the IEP. I think it would be an effective framework to use at the actual meeting to keep the Team members focused on the purpose of this section of the process. Equally effective, would be to use Dr. K. P.-F.’s “Can Do” strategies as the format for the questionnaire and structure at the meeting.
Our students provide a unique perspective into what direction the IEP should take. As teachers, we should do some informal observations prior to the IEP meeting, collecting anecdotal information on their preferences, current strengths and needs. In some cases an interview with the students (that is kept at a level that allows the student to participate) can provide useful information. Depending on the student, and the wishes of the parent, even a young child might come to a portion of the day.
With the use of an ABC model, we could again have a structure to determining priorities for students. Looking at the antecedent or precursor skills the student already has would help us select priority behaviors or skills that should be focused on. Then, establishing the criteria level that the student must achieve insures that the goal is measurable.
Module 3.2 Response to Colleague:
Dawn, I’m impressed with your assignment. The goal statement for each dimension was directly correlated to that technique. You were very accurate and concise with your rationales on why other dimensions would not be as useful. I found that hard to do because I tend to write goals that contain more than one dimension to meet the expectations of the IEP Team and to make the goal precisely measurable. When examined with the intensity that this assignment requires, I think we could look at everyone’s goal and often find at least one other dimension (e.g. “sneaking in” Accuracy when reviewing an Independence goal). This was an assignment that required a lot of thought, and its obvious you did your dimensions thoroughly.
Module 3.1: Respond to a colleague’s posting
I think you were very clear with your distinction between a qualitative and quantitative goal. The challenge can be in making sure data collection provides an adequate level of detail to measure progress. From my observations of you, you are quality teacher from whom I’d expect quality data sheets. But I have seen teachers just record a check or a minus for each day with some goals, and then the quarterly reports are pretty vague in documenting progress. I was glad to have the encouragement from our extra reading, “Performance Monitoring within a Tiered Instructional Model, ” for their holistic approach to gathering both qualitative and quantitative information.
I believe writing goals based on qualitative or quantitative approaches are equally acceptable as long as the product IEP worthy, as well as clearly understood and measurable. My samples:
Qualitative: During structured academic activities involving independent work on familiar math skills, John will stay at his desk, working each school day as long as expected by others, up to 15 minutes, based on the observation of the special education staff person supervising him.
Quantitative: When given practice counting tasks involving up to 10 objects, Mary will be able to successfully count and tell staff the number of objects in 8 out of 10 attempts over 3 recording opportunities per week.
I feel the Qualitative goal, in this case, would be most appropriate as it is intended to measure John’s on-task behavior as compared to that of his peers. The Quantitative goal is the best approach for that stated skill as it measures Mary’s ability to do a specific task with a specific level of accuracy. In my own practice, I tend to use the Quantitative approach more often with IEP goals. I think it allows data collected to be more specific and then I am able to show progress more clearly. I can then offer details of that progress using a qualitative method by adding my observations from anecdotal record keeping.
Module 2.2 response to colleague posting
I think your district is not alone, Dawn, when it comes to the lack of specific data being brought to meetings. Thankfully, there are Intervention Teams that are part of the process of looking at how to meet the child’s needs. In our district there is an expectation of specific data. This prevents the Disability Qualifying Process from occurring before there have been specific approaches used to support the student’s learning. We do see some staff trying the response of “I’ve tried a couple things but he just doesn’t get it,” but it doesn’t get to the core of the concern and doesn’t move the student into and through the intervention process.
Hi Olena, I’m responding to your entry as part of our Module 2.1 assignment on Spencer, I hadn’t thought about the option of a 504 plan over an IEP. You’re right, his academic skills are definitely high enough, but I wonder whether his emotional/behavioral needs would be met without an IEP. Would the staff working with Spencer be consistent in gathering Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence information that would lead to a solid plan for improving his abilities to successfully handle his stressors? Without a special educator coordinating his educational plan, would there be someone to consistently maintain the visuals, reinforcers and sensory breaks to resolve his anxiety around school? You may be right, perhaps the school’s response could be through a 504 plan. But then the parents and Spencer would need assistance through other agencies to establish emotionally healthy approaches to the issues they face. In my experience, such efforts need the consistency of Team Spencer approaches that an IEP provide.
Since Spencer has an identified disability, Autism, his Team should be looking at identifying needs for goal writing using the Four Filters. Spencer appears to have average to above average skills in academics. Therefore, although his grades are Ds/Fs, his higher performance on assignments would be a “want” that should not be the Team’s primary focus. I would identify a “need” as working towards the ability to successfully maintain emotional stability. Spencer appears to find school to be overwhelming, therefore we would need to work on looking at approaches that would limit stressors through the use of social stories, visuals, sensory breaks and reinforcers. We would work to get Spenser off of the “Red Train and set the “need” at giving him the tools to leave his home, get to school and make it through his day without too anxious. Before setting a filtered goal, I would like to have more baseline information on his behavior, the antecedents, and the currently used consequences. I also think the Team would need further insight into the medical status of his Asthma. This information would allow the Team solid insights upon which to identifies a functional and measurable approach.