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You make me feel better when you talk about the patterns of latency and that it took you several rereadings of this assignment to understand the tasks, then several readings of the patterns to understand them. I do recognize this pattern within my learning repertoire. I think it is very important to learn about our own learning styles, strengths and weaknesses. It help us understand our students better and relate to their struggles.
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.
To me, patterns of quality positively correlates with students cognitive functioning and high order thinking, such as recall, memorization, processing speed, comprehension and application. It is a very broad and complex concept that I find difficult to define and measure. I will need clear criteria and rubrics how to measure it and how to measure patterns of quality and what the desired outcome is expected.
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 believe that latency is a very important concept that should be considered during instructions and assessments. There are individual and cultural differences that impact learning in terms of response time. For example, when working with Alaska Native students, I learned that in their culture they are comfortable with silence and taking time before they provide verbal response to questions. Their patterns of latency should be accommodated by providing the wait time for responses to questions and prompts.
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.
¥ My understanding of assistance relates to Vygotsky’s scaffolding concept, the degree of assistance provided to a child to help them perform a task.
¥ It is very important to give help but not more than is needed to promote learning. Eventually, the goal is to fade assistance as we want them to be independent learners.
¥ The pattern of assistance should be thoughtfully planned and delivered. It may vary based on students’ performance and needs (Tier 1 vs Tier 2 vs Tier 3).
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.
For me, an interfering behavior can be defined as a child’s adaptive learned responses in relationship to the learning environment. It is a learned behavior that has a function. For example, every time the child gets frustrated with a difficult task, he throws things and rips off the worksheet. As a result, he is sent to the office. This child has had a history of repeated aggressive response and these behaviors were reinforced by removing him from challenging tasks. These responses became a learned behavior that ‘wired in the brain’. Next step should be teaching the student other ways to asks for help, as well as self-regulation skills and reinforce appropriate responses.
Patterns of Latency apply to me as learner. I do know that I need more time than other people to process new information. For this assignment, I had to reread directions several times to understand what the expectations are. On the one hand, I do struggle with patterns of latency, possibly because of the language barrier as English is not my native language. I am a native Russian and Ukrainian speaker. On the other hand, it is probably a part of my personality and temperament. I am usually a reserved person, not impulsive and not quick to respond. I like to take my time to think about things to make thoughtful decisions. In my daily life and professional activities, there are situations when taking time to respond during difficult and emotional meetings help me be a better listener and be able to have time to think about possible solutions while letting other people talk and express concerns.
I agree with you that that not all Tier 3 needs are IEP worthy. I like how you address the environmental, cultural and language factors that should be ruled out prior to identifying students for special education. These factors significantly affect students’ learning and students’ needs should be addressed with high quality interventions. I do believe that collaboration between general and special education teachers by teaming, problem solving, co-teaching, and grouping students differently for different activities is critical in addressing students’ individual needs and helping them succeed at school.
Are all Tier 3 needs IEP worthy? My answer would be ”No”. I like the idea that the child is a triangle. I agree that students have a range of skills that varies and presented as relative strengths and weaknesses, and we all learn differently. There are visual learners, auditory learners and kinesthetic learners in the classroom. And before taking about disability, the student support team needs to identify the student’s areas of strengths and concerns, and evaluate previous instruction and materials provided for the student. Some children need instructional adjustments while learning new material. It takes them a little longer than others to master the skills. However, it is not a special education issue and they do not require specially designed instructions. They need adjustments and accommodations (i.e., additional time, reteaching, extra practice, small groups) to support their learning in the regular education classroom.
When working with students, I often have situations that I feel that I do not have a crystal ball in determining how the student will respond to instructions. Some students have attentional problems or their processing speed is low. These students present a challenge in the classroom as they require a lot of extra support, attention and re-teaching from the teacher. They are falling behind, but not significantly behind, and they are still learning. I would refer to these situations as “the messy middle”.
I consider a Tier 2 (targeted) need as a not IEP worthy need. Tier 2 needs may be addressed with interventions in general education classroom. If a student struggles academically and have Tier 2 needs, he or she will benefit from Zig-Zag process to work on the targeted skills in small group of 4 – 7 students. Some students with Tier 2 needs have weaknesses in the area of working memory, and I found that working with parents and providing materials to preview chapters and topics at home may help these students be successful in the classroom. Additionally, kids learn from other students, as well. Having access to direct instructions, access to high quality instruction and typically developed peers – role models in the classroom is a recipe for success.
I do believe that special education students may have Tier 1 needs, as many of them may have different range of skills even in one subject area. Based on my observation, teachers implementing best practices, want these students participate in general education activities and be a part of their classroom. If students are social but struggle in expressing frustration appropriately, they should be included in general ed classrooms to generalize and apply learned coping and self-regulation strategies during social interaction with peers. Or, for example, students with other health impairment (ADHD) who have average or high cognitive abilities, will benefit from teacher’s direct instructions in the general education classroom. If they struggle with study skills, teachers could modify their worksheets or allow them to complete assignments in the resource room, away from distractions. Students can also work on team projects with general education peers; however, their assignments should be modified in accordance with the IEP. Teachers should identify special education students Tier 1 needs and address it in the least restrictive environment.
I agree that the administration support is a key in making RTI or MTSS process work. The Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a modern term for RTI in the Anchorage School District. I have worked in different schools and observed when principals attend every SST meeting and participate in developing and planning interventions, general education teachers are more motivated to try something different and new, and the number of initial referrals for special education decreases. This is great that you are willing to be a resource for general education teachers and support for struggling students who are not on your case load.
In Anchorage School District, the elementary schools have student support teams (SST) that assist teachers in developing academic and behavior interventions for students who struggle and fall behind academically. If students qualify for English Language Learners (ELL) or Indian Education programs, they receive academic support from tutors who work closely with classroom teachers. For general education students whose behaviors interfere with their learning, we have the Creating Successful Futures (CSF), a short term (6 – 8 weeks) K-4 program that targets problems behaviors and teaches students coping skills and positive behavior strategies. If students are enrolled in Title I schools, they have more resources available, such as academic support from interventionists during the school day, as well as support with homework in the afterschool program. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of support for general education preschool students because there is no universal preschool program in Alaska.
As a part of SST recommendations, it is very common for general education teachers and special education teachers work together on academic interventions for students without IEPs. For example, in Northwood Elementary school, special education and general teachers co-teach/ team teach in the general education classroom and use inclusion model to provide special education services. It is very common that small groups in the regular education classroom are run by special education teacher and include non-special education students. As a school psychologist, I found that process very effective and beneficial for all students, on an IEP and without. Additionally, we can get great documentation and data about interventions. Team teaching is supported by the school principal, a former special education teacher.
Students come to kindergarten with different experiences. Those who were in preschool settings, transition to kindergarten easier as they have had exposure to academic instructions and behavior expectations. Students without preschool experience need to be taught every single classroom rule. When a teacher asks students to follow direction, they may not understand what it means as “following directions“ is an abstract concept. She needs at first break complicated directions into single and concrete steps.
When working on social skills and conflict resolution, a teacher introduces and explains students each specific strategy, such as I-message, walking away, waiting and cooling off, etc. The students will be reinforced to practice these strategies in their classroom with familiar peers, and then with other children, unfamiliar kids, and across different settings and environments.
Stepping out of our comfort zone and engaging in un-preferred activity is a challenge not only for children, but for adults as well. Students needs adult support, encouragement and positive feedback during this process to build their self-esteem and reduce anxiety. With trusted adults and guidance, they are more willing to perform challenging tasks. Based on my personal observation, the approach of building a classroom community, in which each student is a valuable member, is very effective in helping students transition from self-centered stage to respecting and focusing on others wants and needs.
I agree with you that parents have different opinions about “what maters”. When I worked in elementary school with Russian Immersion program, I observed that Russian parents value more academics than social development. They will enroll kids in afterschool academic programs in addition to regular school program. It was common for us to have meeting with parents and have discussions about child development. We would talked with parents about social-emotional development and that skipping a grade to be challenged in math is not a good idea as it would keep students away from socializing with same age peers and having opportunities to make friends.
To me, PLAAFP, is a story about the child with his or her strength, talents and weaknesses. It is a story about the student personality, his or her relationship with family members, friends and teachers. It is a story about how a student functions at home, community and school, and what are his or her roadblocks to learning. When developing IEP goals, the criteria that really “matters” is the environment where a student can be stimulated and motivated to improve skills and which will provide access to peers, social interactions and learning opportunities.
As a member of the ASD assessment team, I rely on family information when I conduct assessment of student’s abilities and skills. Parents know their child the best. During assessments, I see my role as the professional who listens, observes, shows unconditional positive regard, and conducts accurate, non-biased and comprehensive evaluation. I always start evaluation by interviewing parents about their primary concerns and their goals for their child. It is an important step in identifying parents thoughts about “what matters” to them. I often find that parents ideas about “what matters” differ depending on their own cultural, socio-economic and educational background. However, all of them want their children be successful and happy. I believe that including parent’s information on PLAAFP is important for several reasons. First, it helps establish rapport between the IEP team and parents. Second, parents feel they are included in the process of developing IEP. And finally, there are situations, when the assessment team heavily rely on parent’s information because students do not show their ‘true’ abilities and skills in unfamiliar environment and people during the assessment, and, in this case, parents information is crucial in gathering baseline data and determining child’s strengths and weaknesses.
By age 3, students are usually able to communicate their wants and needs through behaviors. They express certain interests and demonstrate preferred activities. And I want to consider this information and include it in IEP. For example, if a student is fascinated with toys with wheels, I can use cars, trucks airplanes, trains, etc. to engage them in activities when working on communication, pre-academic and social goals. Exploring “what matters” for students helps teachers keep them excited about learning and motivated in school.
The ABC formula is very helpful in creating learning environment for a child and setting them for success. Working on antecedents requires a lot planning, organization, and preparation. It is important to collaborate with all IEP members in setting up situations, activities, supports (transition supports, classroom supports), routine and opportunities for behaviors (A). It is often the most time-consuming component of the formula. When students are comfortable, “safe” and familiar with routine, they respond better to teaching strategies and interventions. I agree with Kristie that behavior (B) should be identified by using verbs or actions as it makes easier to observe it and record it. Documenting student’s progress towards meeting the goals and criteria (C) helps us keep track skill development, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
I like your examples of behaviors for different techniques. Your explanation of behaviors and techniques was very clear and easy to understand. I also liked that you address different areas of skills (social skills, behavior, self-help, motor skills and academic skills).
When his name is called, Tommy will respond with the eye contact, smile, looking at their direction or a vocalization (i.e, what or yes).
Tommy often ignores adults calling his name. Responding to his name is an important step in teaching social interaction with peers and adults. I believe that frequency is the best technique for data collection because this behavior can be repeated throughout the school day. It is observable and measurable by counting number of times Tommy responds to his name. In this case, as a teacher or service provider, I am not interested in measuring duration, latency or intensity of behavior. I am interested in improving student’s number of responses when his name is called.
When asked to name friends, Sam will provide the name(s) of students that are consistent play partners with 90% accuracy.
Sam is a preschool student who engages in solitary play and lacks social skills. Preschool setting is the best place to work on peer interaction. Learning peer names is a good starting point and important skill for developing positive relationships with others. I will use documenting the accuracy of the behavior as I want to collect data about the number of correct responses. This goal does not require measuring how long behavior last (duration), length of time to respond (latency), or the amount of efforts needed for behavior to occur (intensity). We are measuring numbers names correct of Sam’s partners.
When attempting and not succeeding at a challenging task, Tommy will initiate with an adult for help (verbally/nonverbally).
This goal addresses Tommy’s ability to self–regulate when he is frustrated with challenging or difficult tasks. I will choose latency for data collection and progress monitoring and will record the time between onset of stimulus (challenging task) and initiation of student response. I will not use accuracy as it does not help me document Tommy’s ability to deal with challenging task and frustration. I won’t use frequency as I am not interested in the number of times behavior occurs, I am interested on amount of time or time to task.
When given a turn taking activity, Kate will participate with a peer or adult (eg. rolling a ball back and forth, pushing a button on a toy, turning pages of a book, or other choices related to student for 3 or more minutes on 4 out of 5 opportunities over 5 days.
Kate is a preschool student who is not interested in other people. I would like to start working on improving her social skills by providing opportunities to participate with others and documenting how long this behavior last. Timing the duration of behavior is an appropriate data collection procedure in this case. The goal does not require documenting endurance or accuracy.
During snack time, Lily will independently drink from a small cup with little or no spilling in 4 out of 5 consecutive opportunities over 5 days.
Lilly demonstrates delays in the area of self-help skills. She uses a sippy cup for drinking. Her mother reports that she spills and makes a mess when using a regular cup. I will use endurance to document how many times she can repeat the behavior (drinking with little or no spilling from a cup) successfully. I will not able to gather this information by just counting number of times she drinks (frequency) or how long she drinks (duration).
Given a variety of classroom materials, Paul will demonstrate care for materials by handling them gently and safely with/without prompts on 4 of 5 opportunities over 5 days.
Paul rips book pages and cover off and plays with toys by throwing and breaking them. The goal, I suggested to work on, addresses teaching him to be gentle with materials. I will collect data on intensity of his behavior (amount of force he puts when interacting with materials). Information about frequency of behavior, duration of behavior, or latency is not important when working on this goal.
Upon adult request, James will independently put on outer garments (e.g., coat, snow pants, hat, gloves, boots) including fasteners 5 of 5 data days.
James currently assists with dressing and he is not to put on his clothes independently. This goal measures his ability to be independent in the area of dressing. For progress monitoring I need to collect data bout the amount of support he needs to dress himself. I cannot monitor his progress in being independent by using frequency, duration, intensity or endurance of behavior.
I like your example of qualitative documentation of behavior. I agree with you that it helps team to use more words to describe and specify the prosocial behavior “keeping hands within his space”. Some students are not aware of personal boundaries and space and do not know what “keeping hands within the space” means. They need to be taught this behavior by using simple words and clear steps.
The following example, I believe meets the qualitative documentation criteria:
Given a group teacher directed-activity, Tommy will stay with group for the duration of the activity without exhibiting challenging behaviors or attempting to elope from the area.
Being able to stay with group is an important behavior that promotes student’s safety and does not disrupt Tommy’s learning. The duration of activities may vary based on activities or student skills. It also may be different in different school settings (i.e., classroom setting, speech therapy, OT therapy, gym, etc.). That is why using qualitative approach is appropriate in this case. In general, I believe that the qualitative documentation can be also used in the situations when student skills are inconsistent, varies in the mornings or afternoons, or the length of activities changes depending on classroom schedule and school programs. I think that this approach is also beneficial in situations when a student has just transferred from a different school or school district, or came to his current school with an expired IEP and no baseline available, and the teacher needs more time to know the student.
The following example can be described as a qualitative documentation of behavior:
Throughout the preschool day, Johnny will watch, listen, or participate for up to 5 minutes of a structured activity directed by an adult with no more than 2 cues on 4 out of 5 opportunities over 5 days.
I think that measuring Johnny’s participation qualitatively in this situation makes it easier to document his progress, analyze it by looking at numbers, and present data to parents visually (i.e., graphs, histograms). If Johnny’s skills to attend and participate in the activity improves, the change of time is justified, and the IEP goal should be amended.
I had similar experience when I worked at elementary schools. Implementing the DDDM process was a very challenging task. It did help when school leadership was supportive. I was so happy that Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak did presentations to ASD administrators, principals, instructional coaches and teachers last year.
I believe that our assessment team follows the steps and engages in DDDM process. We start the process with reviewing parent information from application packet and questionnaires. The parent information includes family’s concerns and parent description of child’s strengths. And we always enjoy reading positive things parents share with us about their kids. I agree that screening is one of the most important part of referral process and it should be a diligence process. During file review process, our team consisting of special education teacher, speech pathologist, school psychologist, and IEP clerical, analyzes, summarizes and interprets the information gathered, and then makes decisions whether to gather more information (i.e., video for speech therapist) or refer a student for special education evaluation. We sometimes determine that no assessment is needed, and a team member will call parents to deliver good news that their kid is on track and that a lack of certain skills, per parent report, is normal and age appropriate. We often find that some parents are happy with our recommendation. They share that they just want to make sure that their child is making progress and meeting developmental milestones, and they actually do not want special education services. We keep data about number of students who qualified and did not qualify for services and evaluate screening process on a regular basis.
I like your comment that Spencer needs to learn how to deal with frustration when told no or accept another choice when his choice is not an option. His self-induced asthma attacks are very concerning. This learned behavior gets him what he wants, but it unsafe and life threatening.
I agree with you that we need more information about his panic attacks at home and how they are related to school and his educational performance.