As an educator I am constantly learning and growing. I would like to share with you what I am learning through my Special Needs 1 training to help you as a parent or educator think of strategies and best practices to help your child(ren) reach their academic potential. The following students are fictional characters.
Imagine that you are Joyce.
Joyce has accommodations for an Emotional/Behavioral Disorder. Her mother informed you that Joyce’s specific diagnosis is Anxiety and Depression, and she sometimes does not respond well to correction. She plagiarized a large section of her essay for your class this week.
How would you handle this situation?
Let’s first think about the difficulties Joyce might be experiencing as an online student with Emotional/Behavioral Disorder. She has a hard time adhering to acceptable rules of online etiquette, etc.. She might also be struggling with feelings of depression over low grades or feelings of being overwhelmed with work when viewing the schedule all at once which is why she might have plagiarized. Since she is online and as a teach you are unable to read her facial expressions or body language in class, it would be hard to know that unless the student told you and with her anxiety, she would NOT want to tell you because of the internal struggles she might be dealing with.
So how can we help Joyce?
We can help Joyce by avoiding direct confrontations: rather, state the issue
objectively and provide them with a choice or suggested course of action to correct it . Suggest strategies to get started on doing the essay again and communicate what she should do in the future if she needs help so that she does not feel the need to plagiarize again. I would then address it, document it, and move on.
How about if you were Hopper?
Hopper has an IEP with accommodations for Dysgraphia. Your class requires written reports in each unit on various topics. Hopper expresses concern over his grade in your class because of the written reports. You know Hopper is putting forth effort, but he still is not passing your class. He asks what he can do to improve his grade.
How do you respond?
Since Hopper has dysgraphia Hopper has difficulties such as omitting words or letters, not completing words or sentences once started, not following proper grammar and spelling conventions, difficulty copying written items or diagrams or taking notes or thinking while writing.
So how can we help Hopper?
To help Hopper I would allow him to use the video or audio tool in the online course to present projects, assignments, or assessments orally. I would encourage him to show mastery using other modes rather than written expression. Finally, I would provide copies of instructional materials not included in the content specific to helping him with the written reports.
Does your child or student struggle with a learning disability and you need specific strategies to help them? Click here to check out the Specific Strategies Chart.