Forum Replies Created
Hi Olena. I can relate to you in terms of the challenges that you experience due to language. I too am a second language learner. Even after 35 years of living in this country, understanding and responding to written and sometimes oral tasks do not happen as fast as I would have liked. I have to read assignments and other written tasks several times to fully comprehend it.
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 patterns of quality is that when an individual is performing a task, it is done in such a way that may be difficult or confusing for others to understand. It may also lessen the correctness of a task or performance. The task may not necessarily be incorrect; however, it may change or lessen the accuracy of the outcome. I tend to over analyze concepts and tasks, which can sometimes confuse what I am trying to convey.
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 would describe patterns of latency as the length of time it would take for an individual to perform a task after it was given or requested. When a teacher gives students instruction to start reading and it took the student around five minutes to open a book. We measure the time to start the task and, in this case, 5 minutes. Some children may take longer to respond than others and we are trained to give them time to think. Patterns of latency can become a problem if it adversely impacts the students learning.
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 the pattern of assistance is when an individual will need the help of other individuals in performing some of the tasks or skills that are expected. Assistance can range from minimal to maximum, depending on the need. A young child with a physical disability may need more assistance in going up the stairs as opposed to a child without physical disability. Assistance can come from the teacher, a paraprofessional, or a peer.
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.
Patterns of interfering behaviors is when a child behaves a certain way instead of the expected behavior. These behaviors and reasons for them can vary, depending on the child. Some of these behaviors are done on purpose and some may be due to an underlying cause. Some of these behaviors can interfere with the child’s learning and/or the learning of others.
Part II: Example of at Least One Pattern
I can relate well to the patterns of latency. I have to read information, assignments, or instructions more than once before I take action. English is my second language and I contribute my issues with latency to the language barrier. I am able to follow and respond immediately when I am in a conversation or when someone is giving me instructions orally. I do however take a much longer time gathering all my thoughts together in a timely fashion when I have to write. When working on an IEP, I take a lot of time going through the process, especially when writing the present levels and the goals and objectives sections. Another reason why it takes me longer to act on a task is that I want to do a good and thorough job. The implications of this pattern for me is that I have to work extra hard to get through to a task and do the job to my satisfaction.
Response to Dawn Fagenstrom
Hi Dawn. I agree that not all tier 3 needs are IEP worthy. There are several factors that can affect student learning which can be addressed without an IEP. I also think that a student with an IEP can be working on a tier 1 because of these factors that make it difficult for them to learn without special education support. Yes, I don’t believe that the messy middle needs to be messy at all. This is where we do interventions and supports to give the students the opportunity to succeed and jumpstart the skills that they are struggling with.
Are all Tier 3 needs IEP worthy? I don’t think all Tier 3 needs are IEP worthy. Students who are in the tier 3 of the triangle may need instruction on foundational and prerequisite skills. The same may be true about other students who do not have disabilities. For example, a student, with or without disabilities with behavior challenges, may need individualized instructions on social skills so he/she will be able to access the general education curriculum and classroom routines and activities.
How would you define “the messy middle”? The “messy middle” is when a child or group of children may be struggling or having difficulties in some aspect of learning the set of knowledge and skills that serve as the scope and sequence for children in any state or region, or the common outcome. It may also be when a child or group of children stopped making progress in the learning and development associated with a common outcome. In this situation, the student we will be given support and interventions to get them get caught up or jumpstart their learning and development. It may be that a child is having difficulties learning a small part of a complex skill and just needed that push or support. We follow the MTSS model of support for our struggling students. We collaborate and figure out ways to support our students. It is a good feeling when we are able to find out where the gaps are and target those needs and hopefully see success.
Can a Tier 2 (targeted) need be IEP worthy? Yes, I think a Tier 2 need can be IEP worthy. If the student is struggling and not making progress on a specific skill, goals and objectives can be written using the ABC formula and can be functional, measurable, general, and can be taught across daily activities. However, this does not mean that this student, with a Tier 2 need will automatically qualify for SPED services. On the flip side, I think that a student with an IEP can have a targeted need that can be IEP worthy.
In what way can a child who is eligible for special education have Tier 1 needs? There are several ways a child who is eligible for special education can have Tier 1 needs. For example, a child who has speech and language impairment may have developmental needs in receptive and expressive language, which are common outcomes for all students. This student will need goals and objectives for language arts, science, social studies, and even math to a certain extent. Another example would be a student with learning disability in reading may need support in reading fluency and comprehension that are also common outcomes or tier 1.
Response to Daniel Kaasa
Hi Daniel. We have the same referral process for struggling students in our district. Ideally, if the whole process is followed and we do the zigzag process for struggling students, we would not have to refer students to special education if they do not need to. I agree that we all have our own challenges and obligations that make it difficult for effective collaborations.
Our district uses the Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) to help struggling students who are not on IEPs. This system focuses not only on the academics but also the behavioral and social/emotional aspect of a child. In tier one, all students are given the same instruction however, some accommodations will be given to struggling students. This take place in the general education classroom. Sample accommodations include allowing the student breaks to gather their thoughts or giving them extra time to complete an assignment. In tier 2, students are given targeted interventions in a small group. In our school, we have a paraprofessional who is able to help with some of the interventions, prepared by the general education teachers. Students who are not responsive to tier 1 and tier 2 interventions are given intensive interventions in a much smaller group or in a one-on-one setting. Throughout this intervention process, continuous progress monitoring is conducted. The MTSS team, consisting of the general education teacher, sped teacher, principal, counselor if need, and parent, meet to collaborate and discuss progress and/or needs, and put together a plan. If progress is not made after a certain amount of time with tier 3 intervention, a sped referral will be made.
I support the general education teachers throughout the process by helping them determine and implement the appropriate research-based intervention tools for the student. I also collaborate with the general education teachers in analyzing progress data and determining how interventions will be conducted. Our district does not have a strict policy on working with teachers to help kids not on my caseload, as long as it does not interfere with my duties to my students with IEP’s. Ideally, I meet with the general education teacher and go over data from our universal screening and district-wide diagnostic assessments. We, as a team discuss how we are going to proceed with the intervention process. We also try to use our wonderful paraprofessionals to aide us in providing these interventions as we see fit. This is what we’d do ideally but we need to work more on consistency with our procedure. Everybody gets very busy and sometimes, more than not, we have a difficult time following through with our plans.
I have observed most of the 7 learning progressions working with the Early Childhood and Kindergarten students. There is one ECE student in particular I’ve been observing when I’m in that classroom. He does not have an IEP and the general education teacher brought him to my attention due to his struggles. He is not able to follow multi step directions. For instance, he struggles with the clean-up part after the free choice time. What comes after clean up time is hand washing time to get ready for snack time. He gets very overwhelmed and starts throwing toys in the bin, or just not follow the routine. In the future, we are going to let the student complete one task first by scaffolding until it becomes a routine, then move to the next task, and the next, one at a time. Several students in the class struggle with the art activity where they have to cut shapes and glue them together. This is a complex task for most of the students. In the future, the students should start with simple cutting exercises until they are familiar with the skill and work their way into gluing their cut paper to create an artwork. The zigzag process looks like an ideal way to support our struggling students before talking about referrals.
Response to Olena Kyselova
Hi Olena. I agree with you that parents are important sources of information about the students when writing IEPs and also during assessments. When students are very young, we are not able to get the best information from them and that’s when we rely on the parents. I also agree that what matters to parents differ depending on their cultural backgrounds but they all truly care and want what is best for their child.
When determining an IEP goal, the criteria that I will focus on are what the child is able to do, what the team want to see him/her be doing, how we are going to provide support, and what our priorities are. One thing that “matters” is talking and thinking about what the child can do independently, is beginning to do, or can do with support. It matters to consider what the child’s strengths and talents are. We also want to consider how they respond to challenges and what they want to know and learn. We want to see our student be able to increase their participation and independence in the classroom and in the school environment. What also matters is the support we are giving the child. We want to make sure that we are supporting them in a developmentally appropriate manner while meeting their individual needs. We also want to think about what our priorities are. Do our priorities align with common outcomes, with the child’s unique needs, or the priorities of their families? Family’s priorities and concerns should matter significantly. We want to get to know the family dynamics, what is important to them, and their culture. Most of the parents I work with want what’s best for their child and trust us professionals to do the right thing. It is part of their culture but they truly care about their child and do want them to be able to participate in school activities along with their peers. As the SPED teacher, I want to make sure that I do my job of helping develop a meaningful IEP. We also want to take into consideration what matters to the student and include this to our criteria because the IEP is all about them.
The ABC formula is used to write a strong and defensible IEP goal that is measurable and functional. The (A) antecedent is the context or the setting in which the student is going to need the skill. We need to think about who is going to collect the data and where. The antecedent is also when we think about the teaching strategies and activities or situations where the behavior will be exhibited. The (B) behavior is what the child does and not what we do to them. The behavior must be something we can see or hear and can be determined if it changes over time. The behavior must also be functional which means that it will help increase the child’s independence over time. The (C) criteria helps us monitor and measure outcomes of the specialized instruction. By following the ABC formula, we can make sure that our goals are measurable, functional and IEP worthy. The purpose of writing an IEP is giving support to the child so he/she is able to participate in daily activities with some independence. This is what really matters.
Response to Melinda Jones
Hi Melinda. I like that you focused your goals on the different dimensions of behavior on a particular student. This gives me the idea to look more carefully on these dimensions when writing IEPs for my own students. I think it will really help me write better IEP worthy goals in the future.
Ella will be able to identify 20 uppercase and lowercase letters, on 4 out of 5 trials. In this goal, we are measuring how many letters Ella can identify. Ella struggles with learning the letters of the alphabet. Her progress in this skill can be measured weekly to determine mastery or if a different strategy will be used to teach her the letters. We are measuring “how many” letters she can identify so other techniques would not be useful for this skill.
Johnny will identify the main idea and at least 2 supporting details in a passage with 80% accuracy. Johnny is a fluent reader but struggles with comprehension. We want to monitor his understanding of the passage by collecting data on his accurate identification of the main idea and supporting details in passages. We are checking if Johnny conforms to the criteria of 80% correct, so other techniques would not be useful for this skill.
James will independently begin a task, including non-preferred tasks, within 2 minutes of direction, across different settings. James does not always follow instructions and refuses to perform tasks that he does not want to do. This goal measures how long it takes for James to respond to instructions and will be measured and recorded “time to task”. Other techniques would not be useful for this behavior.
Adam will independently sit and attend to preferred activities for up to 30 minutes without redirections for 3 consecutive days. Data will be collected by noting the number of times Adam performed the goal. This goal is a sufficient example of duration because we are measuring the length of time this behavior will last over a period of so many days.
Johnny will sit on the toilet for 1 minute every two hours, without resistance, as measured by observation, on 3 of 4 observed opportunities, with minimal cues and prompts. In this goal, we are measuring how many times the behavior of sitting on the toilet for 1 minute is repeated by Johnny.
During unstructured play time, Priscilla will interact with her peers by using a respectful and soft voice in 4 out of 5 opportunities. Priscilla tends to be bossy with her peers and talks in a very loud voice. She is working on modulating her voice level and be nicer to her peers. This is a good example of a goal using intensity.
Josiah will don all his winter gear with no assistance and reminders in 4 out of 5 opportunities. Putting on winter gear can be a complicated process for Josiah, especially since he has several layers to put on before he can go outside in this arctic weather. He gets easily frustrated and tries to get an adult to help him. Using pictures in a step by step process, he is learning to put on his gear on his own with the goal of doing it with no help or reminders. This is a great example of a goal on independence.
Peer response to Diane George:
Hi Diane. I agree that measuring behavior or social interactions can be time consuming when done quantitatively. Observing how a behavior has progressed over time is a more practical way to monitor progress.
An example of a situation where quantitative measurement is the best approach is timing how long a student can stand on one leg. We are measuring a student’s stamina and endurance to be able to do an activity for a certain amount of time. Example objective: Johnny will be able to stand on one leg (left and right), with eyes closed, for 2 minutes. The length of time Johnny can stand on one leg is measured. This objective can be monitored, documented, and analyzed to determine if progress has been made and to revise instruction if needed.
An example of qualitative measurement is when the goal we are measuring is the student’s ability to be able to participate in class activity without a meltdown during most of the activity or lesson. Example goal: During class activities or lessons, Johnny will participate by staying in the area, engaging in the activity and interacting with the teacher and peers, without exhibiting challenging behaviors or attempting to elope from the area, during most of the activity or lesson. The data collected is not in numerical form but descriptive of how the student participated in an activity. This goal can be monitored and documented regularly to determine if progress has been made.
Response to Dawn Fagenstrom
Hi Dawn. I have the same experience in our school with regards to the referral process. The breakdown happens in the process of documentation and regular progress monitoring. Documentation is important and it does become very frustrating when we hear our colleagues talking about students’ struggles expecting us to start testing with this information. Once a student is identified, it does seem like the DDDM process goes smoothly with everyone’s support.
The IEP team in my school is continuously engaged in the DDDM process. Before an IEP meeting, data from all team members are gathered across all settings and in the child’s area of need. We collect information to determine the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. We collect data from standardized school and district assessments as well as achievement and cognitive data. Daily observations, classroom data, anecdotal data, and parent input are also gathered. Throughout the IEP year, teachers document information using multiple methods. The team summarizes all the information using different techniques. This usually includes a narrative of the students’ present levels, graphs/tables, and a baseline of where the student is currently functioning. After all the information about the student is gathered and summarized, the team analyzes and interprets the data. Using all the data, an IEP or eligibility report is developed. I feel our team is strong in all the 5 steps of the DDDM process.
Our team struggles with the pre-referral data collection and progress monitoring process. Interventions are happening; however, teachers are not recording data and progress monitoring are not consistently done. Our district has a process in place following the Multi-tiered system of support framework. An online data collection and intervention system is in place, but in spite of all these supports, teachers struggle to complete the pre-referral process. This delays the referral process and can be frustrating for everyone, including the students.
Response to Rebecca Sedor.
Hi Rebecca. I agree with your last statement that the mom should be asked what the events are before and after panic attacks and aggressive behaviors. Spencer behaves in school for most part. The problem behaviors happen at home. I agree that he needs a visual schedule for transition between home and school. That would be a good start. I also agree that he wants to be home schooled so he can play Minecraft. Knowing his daily routine will be helpful in knowing the best steps to take in order to help Spencer moving forward.