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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

List of Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications for Students with Learning Disabilities

Accommodations vs. Modifications?
The United States clumps accommodations and modifications under the term reasonable accommodations, but other countries, such as Canada make a distinction between the two. An accommodation describes an alteration of the environment, curriculum format, or equipment that allows an individual with a disability to gain access to content and/or complete assigned tasks. Since accommodations do not alter what is being taught, instructors should be able to implement the same grading scale.  Some examples of accommodations include: preferential seating, audiobooks, and speech to text technology. A modification describes a change in the curriculum. Modifications are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend the content. For example, assignments might be simplified, or a student might receive a foreign language exemption. Some reasonable accommodations are difficult to discriminate and teeter between an accommodation and modification. For example, small group or individualized instruction could be an accommodation or a modification. It all depends on whether the expectations or curriculum is modified.

Who can Initiate Reasonable Accommodations?
Any student with a qualified disability or their legal guardian/parent can request a meeting that can result in reasonable accommodations. Please note that the disability must be documented by the school or an outside source and the results must be presented at the meeting.

What are Some Common Reasonable Accommodations?
Here is a list of general options. However, it will be your school's special education committee that decides which options will provide the necessary accommodations.


Difficulty
Accommodations/Modifications
Overall Teaching Techniques
  • Provide a consistent daily routine.
  • Make sure documents are well organized and are not too visually dense.
  • Preview new topics and review the vocabulary.
  • Review old topics to assure the retention of knowledge.
  • Use small group or one-to-one instruction.
  • Break projects into organized, activities with clear expectations and deadlines.
  • Offer reminders to write down and turn in assignments.
  • Offer modified in-class and homework assignments.
  • Provide extended time for homework assignments.
  • Provide a list of homework assignments that is accessible to the student as well as the parents.
  • Provide a foreign language substitution, waiver or exemption.
Reading/
Listening
  • Provide audiobooks through organizations such as RaziKids, Learning Alley or Bookshare.
  • Provide a picture of directions and schedules.
  • Provide extra time when reading.
  • Shorten reading assignments.
  • Simplify directions and highlight keywords.
  • Provide oral directions, check for understanding, and repeat directions - if needed.
  • Offer a larger font with less content on each page.
  • Provide text to speech and technology.
Spelling
  • Supply the use of a computer with a spell check or a hand-held spell check.
  • Offer no penalty for incorrect spelling on classroom writing and tests.
Writing
  • Supply a copy of the teacher’s or another student’s notes or provide notes with a few blanks for students to fill in.
  • Shorten writing assignments.
  • Offer a scribe for classroom writing assignments and testing situations.
  • Allow the use a tape recorder or a Smart Pen.
  • Provide a computer for written assignments and tests.
  • Provide assistive technology such as speech to text, word prediction, spell checkers and grammar checkers.
Math
  • Allow the use of graph paper for lining up math problems.
  • Read word problems aloud and assist with tricky wording.
Test-taking
  • Grant time and a half or double testing time.
  • Offer testing in a distraction-free location.
  • Avoid scantrons and allow the student to write directly on the test.
  • Allow the student to write directly on the test and avoid scantrons.
  • Simplify and reword questions on language loaded tests.
  • Provide short breaks when needed.
  • Permit the use of a calculator during testing.

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more, CLICK HERE. What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities: CLICK HERE
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cognitive Remedial Therapy for Student with Learning Disabilities: What is it?


The brain is much like the body.  If we exercise areas that are weak or underdeveloped, we can overcome significant difficulties.  In fact, we may even be able to turn a weakness into a strength. Just like a personal trainer or physical therapist can strengthen an underdeveloped bicep or repair a sprained ankle, a learning specialist or educational therapist can remediate troublesome cognitive processing areas like visual processing or auditory memory.  In fact, I often tell my students that I'm a personal trainer for the brain.

What is Cognitive Remedial Therapy?
Cognitive remedial therapy involves activities that improve mental abilities such as attention, working memory, reasoning, visual and auditory processing, cognitive flexibility, processing speed, stamina, organizational skills, time management and more.  In addition, educational therapists and learning specialists can use activities to strengthen other areas of weak cognition such as language, as well as visual and auditory processing.  This form of remediation offers a wide range of intensive interventions designed to address and eliminate learning problems.  This intervention is individualized for each learner.

How Can Cognitive Remedial Therapy Help Students with Learning Disabilities?  
Cognitive remedial therapy helps to strengthen weak areas of cognition through focused activities that target areas of weakness or deficit.  Activities begin at the individual student's level and increase in difficulty as the individual experiences success.  The key is keeping the individual in their zone of proximal development, which is an instructional area between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through solving problems with guidance. When remediation focuses intensely on one area of cognition, measurable gains can be significant.

What are the Common Key Areas that Students with Learning Disabilities Need to Strengthen?
Every student with learning disabilities has their own unique profile, but the following offers a list of some common areas of deficit:
  • Working memory
  • Executive functioning
  • Processing speed
  • Visual processing
  • Auditory processing
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Sequential processing
  • Reasoning
  • Linguistic skills
  • Higher order thinking
  • Critical thinking

How Can I Help?
As no two people with learning disabilities are alike, be sure to use a tailored approach that can meet the unique needs of each individual student. If you are looking for cognitive remedial tools, there is a great selection of options at Good Sensory Learning.

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more. Sign up below! What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities. See below.
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dyslexia and Voice Dream Reader: A Demonstration and Discussion


This post shares my most recent video blog. Stan Gloss joins me again for a demonstration of Voice Dream Reader as well as a discussion about the many benefits of this text to voice technology for individuals with dyslexia.

Resources mentioned in the video podcast:
URL: https://youtu.be/5cdVCQoiTqU



A Breakdown of the Video:
01:29 Downloading Voice Dream Reader from iTunes
02:26 A document that reviews what’s new on Voice Dream Reader
03:17 How to adjust the speech rate
04:30 Managing and downloading voices
05:45 Learning Ally audiobook option
06:48 Adjust text size, spacing, and margins
09:07 Syncing iCloud with Audiobooks in Voice Dream Reader
11:05 Text sources for Voice Dream Reader
11:48 Using Bookshare with Voice Dream Reader
14:32 Using Bookshare and Voice Dream Reader as a reasonable accommodation for students with dyslexia
16:16 Adjusting the text color, highlight color and line color
17:14 Highlighting and exporting text
18:00 Defining words, Annotating, and pronunciation correction
20:19 Reading mode: Using a timer, finger reading and more
22:25 Pac-Man Reading Mode - helps increase reading speed
24:25 Benefits of Voice Dream Reader for individuals with dyslexia

Please note that this past May 19th, I posted a blog entitled Text to Voice - A Bookshare Demonstration and Discussion that shared the many benefits of Bookshare and touched on Voice Dream Reader. This too featured Stan Gloss, and in many ways, these posts work well together. In fact, we recorded them on the same day.

Want to see my Podcast on Voice Dream Reader with the author Winston Chen?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFfzRPFSBrQ

**Click Below to SUBSCRIBE for More Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCClFDLZtuJD99TBMGxb-ekw?sub_confirmation=1

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more. Click Here! What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities. Click Here!
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

504 Plan or IEP: What's the difference?

As much as we would like to think that the public school system will accommodate the individual needs of our kids, many administrators don’t like to dip from the general education fund for a single student. As a result, parents often have to fight to obtain reasonable accommodations for their children that have learning disabilities as well as other disabilities that impact learning. The key to navigating this rocky river is to understand the laws and lingo that offers mandated accommodations so that you can be the best possible advocate for your situation. This blog will compare and contrast the mandates required for both 504 and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) designations.

What are the Laws that Mandate 504 Accommodations?
1) Rehabilitation Act 1973, 1993, 1998
This 1973 Act bans discrimination against students with learning disabilities by any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance, including schools.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act


"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States... shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance"

2) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990, 2008 Extended Protections to State and Local Organizations:
Under ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: 1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or 2) has a record of such an impairment; or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

What is the Law that Mandates IEP Accommodations?
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 1997, 2004
IDEA makes an attempt to ensure that every student with disabilities receives special education services and due process. More importantly, a bar was set in terms of what students with disabilities could expect: a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Under IDEA any student found to have a disability and requiring classroom accommodations must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Prepared by a team that includes school officials, teachers and parents, the IEP should contain:
  • Current level of academic achievement. 
  • Annual, measurable goals. 
  • Calendar plan for periodic progress reports. 
  • A statement of the special services and aids to be provided to the child. 
For more information and exact wording, see the U.S. Department of Education website.
A Quick Comparison of IEP and 504 Plans

Just remember, the more informed you are about your child's needs and the legal rights that they deserve, the more the schools will accommodate your situation.

I offer a monthly newsletter that features my current video podcasts, projects, publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more.  CLICK HERE

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Dyslexia Strengths and the Creative Side with Artist and Advocate Mike Juggins: Go Dyslexia Episode 3:

This blog shares my most recent video podcast featuring artist, videographer and dyslexia advocate Mike Juggins. This is third of many free video podcasts and vlogs for Go Dyslexia!

Mike is passionate about raising a greater understanding and appreciation of dyslexia and other learning differences. Joining me from Devon, England, for a video podcast, Mike takes us on a tour of his free website, Dyslexic DaDa, that celebrates the strengthens of dyslexia. In addition, he offers stories, strategies, technology tips and more.

Resources mentioned:

1 Dyslexia: What it is all About: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDUfVCo6ito
2 The Gift Dyslexia – Mike Juggins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDDP9Oeag3g
3 Dyslexic Dada: http://www.dyslexicdada.com/
4 Inspiration: http://www.inspiration.com/
5 Zoom Video Conferencing: http://www.zoom.us/
6 Irlen Colored Glasses: http://irlen.com/
7 Mike Juggins Art: http://www.mikejuggins.co.uk/

URL https://youtu.be/_XozsnO9kbs


A Breakdown of the Video:
01:18 What makes you a dyslexia expert?
01:53 You have this incredible website, Dyslexic DaDa. Can you tell us more about that?
04:04 What does the site offer for individuals with dyslexia?
07:05 Tour of Mike’s site - Dyslexic DaDa
13:12 You have said that being dyslexic makes you a better artist. What do you mean by that?
23:01 Accepting the label of disabled gets you the academic support.
24:18 What are some of the key assistive technology devices that you have used that have helped you succeed?
29:59 What can dyslexics do to be successful in this world?

**Click Below to SUBSCRIBE for More Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCClFDLZtuJD99TBMGxb-ekw?sub_confirmation=1

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more. Click Here! What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities. Click Here!
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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