Forum Replies Created
Peer Response to Olena:
I’ve had the pleasure of working with you for a few years now and absolutely love completing ESER/IEP meetings with you. I think being able to speak three different languages gives you a different compassion in our assessment meetings to where you can read parents body languages and answer tough questions with compassion, ease, and love. As parents ask tough questions or we consider an eligibility category parents may have not realized was an option, you’ve always presented it with ease and taken the time to answer all questions or concerns. At times, patterns of latency may seem like a fault to you but it’s also a strength!
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.
• Doesn’t have to be a new skill or a concurrent skill, the student may be struggling but doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an IEP worthy need
• Quality of performance – how much do they know – what are they missing?
• As a teacher, we can reflect of why their quality is not at the desired level. What new strategies can be implemented? Does a modification/accommodation need to be adjusted or added? Does the skill need more targeted instruction? Are they missing a pre-requisite skill? Does something need scaffolded or differentiated?
• Can be observed throughout different play areas within the classroom – helps the teacher figure out the “why” and the “too” too fast, too slow, too loud, too quiet
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.
• Latency to me is the time it takes for a student to respond…respond to a prompt, a cue, a request, or a direction
• The amount of prompts, cues, requests, or number of directions can become a concern if the child isn’t able to perform the task independently – the child may need to slow down or the teaching strategy may need to change
• Often, preschool students have an accommodation for ample wait time after a question has been asked. Many teachers like to keep asking the question over and over without ever giving the child time to answer the question. I often tell families less is more… use less words and give them time to think of an answer and then time to formulate the words.
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.
• To me pattern of assistance is how much help a child needs from the teacher, teacher assistant, related service provider, peer, or parent to complete a task, a direction, a desired outcome
• This pattern is important as it helps students develop and learn independence
• Often, without even knowing it, adults at times prevent students from being independent. At times in the classroom, it’s easier and quicker to help the student put on their snow gear, then to let the student put on their snow gear by themselves. It’s quicker to help with pants down and pants up then letting the child attempt it by themselves. For these two examples, a visual schedule may help the child be independent and take the responsibility off the adult.
• Once a teacher recognizes this pattern, they can reflect on what changes can be made in order to help give the independence back to the child or how to help them become more independent
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.
• To me patterns of interfering behaviors is often a child trying to communicate, even if it’s inappropriate
• As a teacher, it’s important to consider the “why” behind the interfering behavior “Why is the child screaming during handwriting?” “Why does the child run away during circle time?” “Why does the flop each time they are prompted to use the bathroom?”
• Once we can figure out the “why” we can hopefully lesson the interfering behavior with a better teaching strategy, better accommodation/modification, or a planned teaching moment
• Sometimes, I feel like the “why” can be teacher related such as everyday you ask a student to use the bathroom during the start of play time… the student flops and screams everyday. Maybe the “why” is because playtime just started and the student is completely wrapped up in their play. By giving the command at a different time with appropriate warning and a visual my lesson the unwanted behavior
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.
• To me patterns of unexpected performance is “splinter skills” which means they have some high skills and some low skills in a specific developmental area but are missing some stepping stones between the low and high skill
• Often students need target interventions to help develop these inconsistent skills
• What barriers are in the way causing these skills to be splintered? How can we remove the barriers? Is a different developmental area affecting these skills from being learned?
Part II: Example of at Least One Pattern
To me, I relate well to patterns of assistance. As a special education teacher who travels between general education preschool classrooms, I often find myself jumping in to help students who are struggling instead of taking a step back and giving them time to complete the task by themselves. I have to remind myself to give them the extra 1 or 2 minutes to struggle and wait for them to ask for help before offering a prompt, cue, or visual. I’m a problem solver and like to help others….but at times it hinders others too. Sometimes that student needs to fail or struggle in order to learn the task. As a college to others, I am also really bad at saying “no” even when I need to. I like to help others or to give support. I often find myself asking myself “why am I helping with this?” as I often get stuck enabling others from doing a task that they can do by themselves. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to say “no” or offer minimal support so others do not walk all over me. I also have to remind myself that it’s okay if other’s offer support… it doesn’t always have to be me as it can at times make my plate too full.
Peer Response to Melinda:
I loved reading your answer to the first question. You mentioned you often hear “he just doesn’t get it – I think he needs an IEP”. As I am also a CARE team teacher, I often hear this same statement. It’s always seems to be the kids fault… not let’s consider a different approach, a different modification, a different schedule, a different classroom arraignment. There are always LOTS of other factors that go into the equation and at times not all needs are IEP worthy as some general education teachers think they are. I often like to rephrase this question and ask “Why doesn’t he get it?” and lead with questions like “What is he struggling with? What strategies have you tried? What accommodations/modifications have you tried? Are their new ones we can implement? Can we make a visual to better help deliver the content? Is there a skill that’s missing that we can address?
Are all Tier 3 needs IEP worthy?
I don’t feel like all Tier 3 needs are IEP worthy. As Kristie mentioned, every child is a triangle which to me means that every child learns differently, at different rates, different progressions, and different outcomes. At times, some students need supports and other times they don’t need support at all. In my own classroom, I often see students who have “splinter skills” which mean they have some really high skills and some really low skills in one developmental area. It doesn’t necessarily mean they need an IEP but they have missed some steps of development between the easy to the hard skills. These needs are not always IEP worthy but can be addressed through easy classroom modifications, accommodations, and specific teaching moments. After a certain amount of time, these skills can become IEP worthy but often are solved with a little extra purposeful planning within the classroom environment and activities.
How would you define “the messy middle”?
I would define “the messy middle” as a child’s educational performance landing in the different tiers of support but not staying consistent. Each student learns in their own way, their own pace, and their own style. The teacher knows the student has a need but not quite sure what the actual need is… whether they need a new accommodation, modification, or visual support. Or if materials need to be presented differently in order to better reach the student’s learning style. It’s “messy” because it doesn’t exactly mean that the student’s need is IEP worthy but it also doesn’t mean that they don’t need support.
Can a Tier 2 (targeted) need be IEP worthy?
I believe that a tier 2 need can be IEP worthy if it stems from a child’s identified disability. I think it’s important to determine the “why” behind the need before writing an IEP goal/objective. Most of the time, a tier 2 need can be addressed in the classroom with appropriate direct instruction, classroom modifications/accommodations, or intentional teaching moment.
In what ways can a child who is eligible for special education have Tier 1 needs?
A child who is eligible for special education can have tier 1 needs because they have different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses hence the saying “that all children are a triangle”. For example: At times a student’s behavior may impact their ability to concentrate or learn academic materials making them have tier 1 needs in reading or math. With the correct modification behavior skills decrease as their academic skills increase.
Peer Response to Melinda Jones:
It would be so great if Anchorage had preschool at each elementary school where both general and special education students attend. ASD had 6 new classrooms this year that were blended (both general education and special education students) with both a general and special education teacher. Ideally, it would be wonderful to have these blended classrooms in each building and merge all of our preschool programs together. As a formal developmental preschool teacher, it was tough not having any role models in our classes. We often had a wide range of disabilities and students who would have greatly benefited from a role model, a peer to play with, or a peer to talk with. I love the new structure of our preschool program and look forward to how the program will continue to grow in the upcoming years. I also think this would be the nice segment to the students who don’t qualify for special education students but need the support. These blended classrooms aren’t based off income or needs…they are for all students to attend who live in that neighborhood area.
As a CARE Team Preschool Special Education Teacher, I help support special education students in a general education environments such as Head Start, Migrant Education, or Title-1 programs. There is another preschool model in our district called a communication classroom or a developmental classroom. These two classrooms are for students with an IEP only. At times, students have transitioned from a general education environment to a special education environment but it’s rare.
In the CARE Team model, before students are referred for special education services, I am able to help support students with needs through modifications, accommodations, or behavior plans. If a student with behavior is struggling but does not qualify for special education services, I am able to continue to support the teacher, family, or student within their general education environment. As a team, including the general education teacher, teaching assistant, and parents we can make a plan that will best support the student and their needs. These supports could range from developing behavior plans, changing the layout of the classroom environment, creating a safe spot or calm down area, visuals for social emotional regulation, creating visual schedules, printing picture cue cards, or implementing first/then charts. I also have the opportunity to help co-teach with general education teachers in order to help teach these strategies and how to appropriately implement them.
Unfortunately, if a student with behavior doesn’t qualify for services, there isn’t another option in preschool. We can continue to help support within their current environment but there are not any other programs that exist. Ideally, it would be great to have blended preschools in each elementary school in which both general education and special education students could attend. Together, both a general education and special education teacher would co-teach and have the continuous collaboration daily instead of weekly or monthly.
This past school year, I worked with a special education students in general education preschool programs. As I received referrals for students, I would observe these students in their environments before starting the special education process. Often I saw many of the seven learning progressions present in their environment. Most of the referrals I received from general education teachers could have solved through the zig-zag process paired with appropriate accommodations and modifications.
For example: In a Head Start classroom, a little girl was struggling with following directions. The classroom teacher mentioned she often didn’t follow any directions as she needed multiple prompts or cues. As I observed in her classroom, I noticed they were often giving her 2-3 step directions paired with lots of wording. I mentioned to simply the instructions to one-step single directions paired with minimal words. For example: “coat off” instead of “Sally you need to take off your coat”. Another example would be “first coat, then snow pants” instead of “Sally take off your coat and then take off your snow pants.” From transitioning from complex to simple, we were able to minimize her off-task behavior as well as lesson the time she was expressing displeasure.
These 7 progressions happen often and we make the mistake easily of being too complex, abstract, specific, or unfamiliar. It’s not always easy as an educator to reflect on our own teaching styles and be willing to change. The zig zag process helps us reflect on how we can better help a student as well as change our own style to better meet their needs.
Peer Response to Naomi:
I liked what you said about considering a child’s perspective as part of the criteria of “what matters” when writing an IEP. I also believe it depends on a student’s age. I’ve only worked with preschool special education students. I didn’t think about considering observations of what a child can do and not do and incorporate those as their “perspective”. This truly does allow them to speak for themselves and as a teacher for us to listen to them and figure out how to best help them. Many of times, our preschoolers are language impaired and can’t always easily answer a question… I like how your posting gave me a new insight of how to think about this question and incorporate it in my future IEP’s.
When you think about a PLAAFP, what criteria really “matters” in determining an IEP goal?
When I write a PLAAFP, I feel the criteria that really “matters” is painting a full picture of a student’s abilities both strengths and weaknesses. I feel that after another person reads my PLAAFP, they shouldn’t be left with any questions of what a student can do or not do. They would know the student’s strengths as well as their likes, learning style, temperament. It’s helpful to give an overview of all their developmental skills (pre-academics, self-help, social, behavior, fine/gross motor, and speech/language) regardless of their certification. As a preschool teacher, I like having more information about a student than not enough information and wishing I had more. As a student’s weaknesses are mentioned as well as how they are affecting the student’s learning, independence, or participation, that’s where the IEP goals will be driven from. Goals would stem from areas where students are receiving accommodations, modifications, and specially designed instruction.
In what ways can or should families priorities and concerns be a component of that criteria?
As a preschool special education teachers, it’s important to incorporate a family’s priorities and concerns of their child as the IEP is a joint effort between parents as educators and teachers as educators. It’s important to hear parent concerns and validate them to what’s truly IEP worthy or if they are not all IEP worthy how the school team can help address those concerns elsewhere.
To what extent should we consider a child’s perspective as part of that criteria of “what matters”?
I feel like this would come into effect as a child becomes older and has more of a say in their education. In preschool, we do our best to base a student’s IEP goals around play-based learning. We are writing a goal that can be worked on every day; most likely without the student even know we are working on it. It would be hard in preschool to take a child’s perspective.
Finally, how does the ABC formula help us in getting to the bottom of what may be IEP worthy and ultimately “what matters”?
The ABC formula helps determine “what matters” by helping teachers write a strong goal that is both functional and measurable. The ABC formula has 3 components which help make sure that the goal is both functional and measurable as well as IEP worthy! The ABC formula helps teachers determine proper accommodations, modifications, and overall student needs. Without this, teachers would be writing grade level goals and objectives which then raises the question “Why is this student on an IEP?”.
Peer Response to Dawn:
Well done Dawn! All of your goals were well written and justified for the technique given. This assignment required me to think outside of my comfort zone or my own knowledge… I tend to write goals that would fall under one or more techniques. I had to be really careful how I worded a goal and to make sure that a different technique wouldn’t have been better. I was definitely hearing “shark music” myself! I definitely took away new knowledge and know how I can better my goals that I write for future students.
Charlie will use two hands together to manipulate two small objects at the same time in order to put things together (e.g. string beads, build with legos, put cap on marker, zip zipper, etc.) in 4 out of 5 opportunities.
*This goal is measuring the number of times he is able to manipulate two small objects. Frequency is required because as a teacher I want to know how many times Charlie can continually do this. I am not worried about other areas such as accuracy, latency, or duration.
Charlie will name 8 basic shapes (rectangle, square, triangle, heart, oval, star, circle, diamond) with 80% accuracy for 4 out of 5 opportunities.
*This goal is measuring how many are intended to be correct. I want to be sure that Charlie can name all 8 basic shapes. This goal isn’t based off of duration, intensity, or independence. I am mainly looking for that 80% accuracy or higher to know this goal is met, which at this time is most appropriate.
When frustrated, overwhelmed, or upset, Charlie will ask for help by using gestures and/or words for 4 out of 5 opportunities.
*This goal is measuring the length of time to respond. Latency is most important because data will be kept from how long it takes him to calm down and transition his ability to be able to ask for help. It’s important to know the length of time because overall we want that time to lesson over time. Other areas such as accuracy, endurance, or duration isn’t a factor.
When expressing displeasure (crying, kicking, screaming, etc), Charlie will calm down by using positive strategies (using his words to express his emotions, ask for help, ask to take a break) within 5 or less minutes in 4 of 5 opportunities.
*This goal is measuring how long a behavior lasts, specifically how long it takes a child to calm down and use a positive strategy to regulate his behavior. I am specifically looking for time in this goal, not other areas such as how many times the behavior occurs (endurance) or amount of time it takes him to respond (latency).
Charlie will count 10 objects with 1:1 correspondence for 4 out of 5 opportunities.
*This goal is measuring how many times behaviors are repeated such as counting 10 objects. Charlie is working on his counting endurance, which is to accurately count 10 objects with 1:1 correspondence each time. Accuracy could be a factor in this goal but at this time I want to know how many times he can count 10 objects.
Charlie will ask for help using a voice loud enough to be heard with no more than 1 prompt for 4 out of 5 opportunities.
*This goal is the amount of force and/or effort with which the behavior occurs which is how loudly is Charlie speaking up in order for others to know that he needs help so both his peers and teachers know. Intensity is the best option because it’s measuring Charlie’s personal effort/force; other areas such as independence, endurance, or duration aren’t appropriate.
Given a visual schedule, Charlie will independently take off outdoor gear (snow jacket, hat, gloves, snow pants, and snow boots) for 4 out of 5 opportunities.
*This goal is the amount of support needed/ability to initiate. Charlie is most successful with using a visual schedule instead of receiving verbal prompting from a classroom adult. Independence is appropriate because this is a skill that Charlie needs to be able to do without assistance. I am not worried about accuracy or duration. If it takes him 10 minutes that’s okay!
Peer Response to Beth:
I like both of your goals for qualitative and quantitative! The first goal is very clear and the data is easy to take… I like that you have it 2 times per day instead of just 1. As RJ becomes more comfortable in the classroom, he will easier be able to interact and engage with his peers. He may be willing to participate in circle time during a nursery rhyme or interactive story. During play time, he may be willing to build a tower with a teacher or peer or zoom cars back and forth. I like that it can be incorporated throughout different times of the preschool typical day!
Behavior documented Qualitatively:
An example of a qualitative goal is as follows: Given a small group activity, Emily will stay with the group (sit in her chair, stay in the designated area, bottom on a carpet square, etc.) without expressing displeasure (crying, kicking, screaming, running, etc.) for the duration of the activity for 4 out of 5 opportunities.
Emily can work on this goal in a variety of ways, fine motor activities, handwriting, small groups, speech groups, and so forth. Each of these activities take a different amount of time and a specific level of attention. The data can vary from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. The goal can also grow with Emily has her skills continue to progress.
Behavior documented Quantitatively:
As example of a quantitative goal is as follows: Emily will sit in her chair for 5 minutes during circle time with no more than 1 visual prompt for 4 out of 5 opportunities.
This goal is best documented quantitatively because it’s time related… she needs to sit in her chair for 5 minutes at circle time. So, as data is being kept, we should see an increase of time from 1 minute to 2 minutes to 3 minutes and so forth. The goal is to get Emily to be able to sit and attend without fleeing the area for a certain amount of time.
Peer Response to Olena:
I’ve had the privilege of working with the EISC Assessment Team in the summer and agree that the team easily follows the steps and engages in the DDDM process. The referral process is very streamlined and doesn’t always warrant a special education assessment. Often parents do receive the news that their child is on track or are given resources to help them continue to be on track. We share a lot of community resources with parents that help their child continue to grow in all developmental areas. Other times, the referral process does warrant an assessment but it’s not up to one person to determine this… it’s a team. I like that it’s multiple people in different specialties that work together to determine this. I like how each person is willing to throw out their own thoughts but are willing to listen to other people perspectives and/or ideas.
In my school district, as a CARE Team special education teacher, I support students in general education environments such as Title 1 preschool, Migrant Education Preschool, and Head Start. My role as a CARE Team teacher is to support these various teachers as they have concerns regarding the developmental progress of their students. Our school district has developed a system that requires general education teachers to start with the DDDM process. While using the DDDM process, I can provide supplemental support. Students can be referred throughout the school year and we continually evaluate for different accommodations/modifications or move towards a special education evaluation if needed.
The first challenge as a CARE Team teacher is often general education teachers want to quickly change a student’s placement to a self-contained location upon initially qualifying for special education services instead of giving the general education environment a chance. The key to solving this is keeping clear communication, using the data to show what accommodations or modifications are needed, and to focus on the child’s successes. It’s hard to let go of past experiences or the “what if’s” of a change of placement.
A strength I feel like our team has is a very straight forward referral process prior to evaluation. In the first two weeks, general education teachers are developing student relationships and implementing structures and routines. If there is a significant behavior, communication, health, or developmental concern, the general education teacher submits a concern form which immediately gets me involved with the student. Over the next few weeks, we collaborate, implement strategies, and gather data. Within 4-6 weeks, we keep evaluating concerns, complete additional documentation, and implement interventions. After 6-8 weeks of data, we than can form a SST team in order to do a formal evaluation for special education services. I like our referral process because it gives both the general education and special education teacher time to truly know the student and their needs. We do not automatically jump to an evaluation when at times, student’s needs can be met prior to receiving an evaluation with the right support, modifications, accommodations, and strategies.
Peer Response to Kaleigh:
I didn’t think about that he was only having anxiety, asthma attacks, and behavior problems at home. It would be helpful to know if these were rolling over into the school environment or not. A couple of thoughts I had about his homework was (1) maybe it was too easy and not worth his time or (2) it was too difficult and he was unsure of how to do it or ask for help. To me, maybe assigning him homework in general isn’t worth it at this time. If the right strategy was set up at school for him to be successful in reading, writing, and math and he could maintain his grades or increase them, then no homework would be warranted. It would give him a balance of schoolwork versus being home and being able to play.