Forum Replies Created
Peer response to LueEmma-
I connected with your example of pattern of assistance, I to struggle with this in my classroom and with helping my staff members find the line between assistance and allowing a student to struggle/push through. I have an adopted a “show me what you tried and then I will help you” response for my students with higher communication skills but when working with students that have significant delays in communication it is difficult to restrict the assistance without the child moving into an overloaded state.
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.
For me patterns of quality is how well done a task or skill is demonstrated. I think of the idea of quality over quantity, a child may be able to do several tasks quickly but the quality of the tasks may keep them from being adequate or functional.
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.
I think Latency for some people can become the biggest pattern to interfere with education and progress. If something takes to long you might miss the next activity or be late for the transition which can cause stress and for some meltdown behavior. It can also make it difficult to complete a task as directions may be missed as they are trying to complete the first part.
Patterns of Assistance
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.
Patterns of assistance to me is when a child/caregiver relationship has formed where the child waits before acting to see if the caregiver will provide or do for them, or the caregiver won’t require them to “up the anty” to get something. Like pushing a child to say a word to request an item instead of pointing only. I see this often with large families. The youngest child will often have a sibling that will speak for the child or gather items for them. During evaluations we have to plan to have families leave the room for a few minutes to see if the child will perform tasks without assistance. I find this pattern difficult to address with parents as it can make them feel like they are bad parents or they can become defensive. However I find it extremely important to discuss as many times a negative pattern of assistance can form, we call it learned helplessness. One example of assistance that I observed during the beginning of a class was a parent hand feeding her child a cereal bar while he played. The particular child had all the skills and abilities necessary to feed himself, but if asked to stop playing he would have fit like behaviors. The mother thought by avoiding the fit she was helping him do better in school, but when it was time for him to sit for snack later in the day he would struggle with sitting and feeding himself since he did not have any practice. This pattern of assistance spanned through most of his daily living skills and he struggled with putting on his clothes, bathroom routines, washing hands, blowing his nose, etc because of the level of assistance his mother provided him.
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.
We talk often how behavior is communication and when we assess a students behaviors/patterns we try to see the purpose, are they avoiding, getting out of, or getting more of something due to the behavior. Then we have to continue to look and see what the cause is, is it due to language delays, sensory needs, a motor planning issue, etc. I find once these behaviors become a pattern it is very difficult to redirect or introduce new skills.
Patterns of Unexpected Performance
Patterns of unexpected performance represent instances where the child’s performance would not have been anticipated or expected according to typical development. For example, a child was demonstrating a later skill before demonstrating an earlier skill, or was emerging across early and later skills simultaneously. This pattern may also represent situations where children have a tendency to demonstrate inconsistent performance, to the extent that they may excel or struggle on the same skill without a clear explanation for the difference in performance.
I see this often in my preschool evaluations. We will have a student that is significantly delayed in language but can put together a difficult puzzle or have high social skills. We may also see this when a student has strong social skills but cannot engage in structured activities. I think this can often lead to frustrations for teachers as we think a child should be able to do something because of a higher skill but are not able to, or can one day and not the next. Typically the team will need to dig deeper to understand what is causing the pattern of unexpected performance, it could be as simple as what the child was exposed to and what the family has made a priority, or it could be something that needs more attention such as a motor planning issue or attention issues.
Part II: Example of at Least One Pattern
(Remember, you only need to complete one, but feel free to complete as many as you like.)
Patterns of Quality
List Patterns of Quality: I will often rush through house projects to get them done and ignore the “finish work” as I find it tedious and don’t enjoy doing it. It’s not that I don’t have the skills, but I don’t want to spend the time doing it.
Pattern Considerations: I will often be upset with the end result, and I avoid starting certain projects as I know I won’t do what I should to complete it. I know that I enjoy completing larger projects that don’t require a finished look because of this. The biggest implication is the to do list gets longer and I feel frustrated.
Peer response to Diane-
I relate to your messy middle example. I typically have a few referrals a year that we see really scattered skills, we refer to them as borderline kids. It feels especially difficult with preschool aged students since we can’t really give them interventions in a classroom, so if they are found ineligible they may not continue to progress and then when they enter kindergarten they are behind. For many of these kids they just need a gen ed preschool classroom but we have limited options for that here.
I don’t think all tier 3 needs are IEP worthy. There are many reasons a child may have a Tier 3 need and it may not stem from a disability. Or they may have an Tier 3 need that can be addressed within the classroom interventions. A team should evaluate the child’s needs to determine if it is IEP worthy or if an intervention would be appropriate. In that same thinking a Tier 2 need may be IEP worthy. If it is something that is preventing the student from progressing then the team should consider it for an IEP. Again the team would need to evaluate the need.
I think a student that is found eligible for services may have Tier 1 needs, for some students this may be areas that they are struggling with and need to master before they are able to gain a new skill. In this way it would become IEP worthy as it is necessary.
The messy middle seems to be the discussion, it is weeding out what specific skills a child is struggling with and seeing what they need to master that skill. In early childhood I feel like most of our conversation is in the messy middle, most of our information comes from observations at this age so it is really important for the team to share what they see and compare to pinpoint what is going on for that child.
Peer Reply to LuAnne
I love that your district has different preschool options. Our preschool programs have been growing over the years and we have found it challenging to help parents know which program is the best fit for their child as well as agreeing on developmentally correct programming. I like that you are able to give interventions in the gen ed preschool class!
In my school all students are tracked in reading and math. Grade level team meet regularly and use the data to create “What I Need” groups, then we have a built in intervention time which these groups break out and receive interventions in the area they need. This involves classroom teachers, specialists, and para educators so groups are smaller and kids received targeted instruction. Students with IEP’s and non-IEP students are often in the same group, since it is a school wide practice students don’t need an IEP to receive the intervention block. Grade level teams meet throughout the year and specialist and special education teachers are part of those meetings and are able to give suggestions for classroom practices and tools to use in the room which can help support those kids that don’t qualify for and IEP. We also keep our “at risk” kids a part of the weekly intervention team talk meetings, just to make sure they don’t drop off the radar or fall further behind.
In an ideal world we would have at least one para-educator in each room to work with any of the children or lead small group learning as well as the para-educators that serve students with IEP’s. With class sizes getting so large it can be impossible for teachers to reach every student when they are struggling.
I teach a special education preschool program and I feel like most of my classroom activities are scaffold to allow students to move through the 7 learning progressions. We have multiple staff members in the room which allows students to work in small groups and staff to support whichever learning progression they are on. We will often pair a non-preferred activity with a preferred item (i.e. painting with legos, or story time with puppets), giving simple tasks and then extending them to make it more complex. We try to follow the students lead so it can make the zig-zag feel natural. In the future I plan on being more intentional in identifying what we are working on with particular groups to make sure we are moving between the learning progressions.
Peer response LuEmma-
I agree with the need for family input especially in the prek groups. Many of our families are so nervous sending their young children to school and need that extra level of support to feel connected and be part of the team.
i also agree with having the students direct involvement become more important as they get older. Since our work in play-based and we follow the kids lead the child’s perspective is really the entire design of the program.
When you think about a PLAAFP, what criteria really “matters” in determining an IEP goal? In what ways can or should families priorities and concerns be a component of that criteria? To what extent should we consider a child’s perspective as part of that criteria of “what matters”? Finally, how does the ABC formula help us in getting to the bottom of what may be IEP worthy and ultimately “what matters”? STEP 2– Respond to at least one colleague’s posting.
When writing the present levels I like to refer to the old IEP or ESER to reference what has been gained and what the next steps are. I will often start the dialogue noting what has been gained in the year and new strengths. In pre-K most of what i have written about is based in the students executive functions, social skills, communication, and self help skills. I will typically describe where the child falls developementally, give examples, and describe what they are ready to work on next. We have an area where we write in parents comments and information and i also add in details if parents are seeing a skill at home that is not seen in school. I also touch base with families before an IEP and ask if they have specific concerns that they want to address so I can be sure to add it in and make time to talk about it.
I think it is important to consider the child’s perspective when determining what they are ready to work on. While we may have a goal in mind that we think is important a child’s personality may make it very difficult to work on, for example if the team wants the child to share during circle time but the child is shy and refuses then it is a goal that isn’t appropriate at the time. We also try to write goals that we know the child will be interested in working on. It is also important to consider what the family views as an important skill. For pre-k we are often working on keeping the families involved and are the first steps in building the relationship between family and school. If we are able to include goals that will help with the students home routines the family will be more involved and supportive.
The ABC formula helps with this by focusing the teams discussions into what is important, how it can be measured, and if it is a need. This can become a very difficult thing to do when there are multiple team members and maybe the school and family are not seeing eye to eye. By using the ABC formula the team is able to keep the student in the focus.
Peer Response to Dawn,
I really liked your examples and it helped me sort out how my typical class goals fall into them. Your Latency goal really stood out, this is a goal I write often in my pre-k IEP’s and I had viewed it more as a indepence goal, but I can see how it fits better with Latency.
John will respond to classroom cues to transition activities without escalation in behavior or ignoring 8 out of 10 transitions.
This is a goal looking at how often John is able to transition with a typical classroom cue, so it is the frequency he is doing it. We are not talking about how quickly, or needing an accuarcy of the transition.
John will recognize his name and name all letters in his first name following a prompt with 100% accuracy.
The goal is for John to learn the letters of his name, this is looking at accuracy specifically and being able to do it correctly. While indpendence plays a piece in this the others are not a focus in this goal.
John will respond to his name being called within 5 seconds by looking at speaker or responding verbally.
The goal is to reduce the amount of time it takes for John to respond to speakers, I think accuracy and independence are important here also but the data that would be recorded would be related directly to how much time it takes him to respond.
John will attend circle time and engage in activities for up to 15 minutes without disrupting learning or escalating in behavior.
This goal is looking at how long John is able to maintain engagement in a structured activity, data collection would be looking at the time spent at circle time. It doesn’t specify how independently John needs to be or how often he will do this, so the focus is mainly duration.
John will increase his school day length from 1/2 day to 3/4 day and finally a full day of school.
This is looking at increasing John’s ability to attend a full day of school, not specific activities or
the intensity of the work just being able to make it through the day.
John will request help from an adult when feeling frustrated by an activity with a calm voice and without escalting in behaviors.
This is looking at how John will decrease intense behaviors when frustrated and respond appropriate. I think frequency could be a part of this but as written the team is focusing on John’s behavior and reducing the disruptions.
John will complete a multi-step activity following the classroom model without additional prompts or cues.
This is a goal expecting John to complete an activity independently, it does not require it to be accurate or measure how long it may take. The team would measure if John is able to follow the steps as was modeled.
Peer response to Danielle,
I like the examples you gave. I agree that the quantitive goals can be easier to report on for progress, especially when it involves multiple team members or environments that the student may be working in.
When working with preschool aged students I find that many of my goals are based more on qualitatively than quantitatively. I think this may be because the class is set up in a play-based way, so many of our activities are child led and it would be difficult to gather data in a quantitive way.
Dane will respond to peer requests with an appropriate response without ignoring or escalating in behavior during play with no more than one additional prompt from adult.
Dan will engage in 5 circles of communication with peer on topic of play 4 times during school day.
Peer reply to Diane
I agree that once an initial IEP is made we don’t always collect the data needed. I think for our school the team really works together on collecting and sharing data during the initial referral but after everything gets separated out. And when you are supporting a child that is enrolled in a program outside of the district it gets more difficult.
In my school classroom teacher collect data on a student and document any interventions that are being used. That information is sent into a team that meets weekly, the team reviews the paper and decide what needs to happen (interventions, targeted instruction, family engagement, referral) If a referral is made then the team continues to discuss student weekly to see where the team is on the referral and what the testing is showing.
I believe we do a nice job of following the DDDM model. By time a student reaches a referral the team has already collected data and tracked any interventions that have been used. The form the teacher fills out for the intervention team includes testing information, classroom behaviors, engagement, and any other relevant information. Family situations, social needs, attendance, and behaviors are all considered and used in forming the student profile. The team also identifies who needs to be involved and who is responsible for different areas.
Peer response to Diane,
I hesitate to say manipulate when it comes to kids behaviors. If we view behavior as communication and find the cause for it we can have much more success in eliminating the behavior.
I agree that it is important to see if there are additional stressors that are new. Anytime a child begins to resist going to school I begin to look at peer relationships and if there would be an emotional reason that they would be resisting going to school.