Thursday, April 11, 2013

Having special needs doesn't mean "can't learn"

Ok. It has been a while since my last post and much progress has occurred.  

When I last posted I discussed Devin who receives Special Education services for a learning disability.  However, he is severely dyslexic and this disability impacts him the greatest.  His reading level is low and writing is even more delayed or shall I say just plain difficult.  But he never lacks comprehension and ideas when given the proper support.  

When I started providing services for Devin I immediately noticed that he was a highly motivated student who actively participated in classroom discussions.   He could explain and answer questions asked by the teacher without prompts.  There was no obvious indication of a learning disability.  But, once he was in a small group setting and was asked to read or write, he came across as incapable.  

More observation took place.  I began to think of ways to record his oral responses.  I could I capture his ideas and thoughts.  Hmm!  

My school district is deep into incorporating technology into instruction and curriculum.  Maybe Devin needs technology to access the curriculum.   What would this look like?  How can this work in and out the classroom?  What about high stake test that aren't tech friendly?  

I had many questions and sought them from my diagnostician.  She's great by the way.  She calmly and professional suggested a assistive technology consult.  This means paperwork, but the worse case scenario is he doesn't qualify.  So, I gave it shot.  Used my personal device to test out some possible apps/programs to assist in reading and writing.  Received suggestions from our special education tech advisors.  

The consult was completed and more resources were provided.  Next, they approved Devin for his own device.  We all agreed that Devin needed technology assistance to overcome his deficits in reading and writing.  Without help, he appeared below level.  But, with technology, he shines like a gifted student.  Devin is truly special and gifted.  

I wanted to complete my last post and quickly get to where Devin is now.  He has had his device for about two months and he will likely need some kind of assistive technology for the rest of his life to address his needs.  But, he will be great and achieve academic success with the right support.  

Tune in for my next post where I will share what app and programs we have used and how it makes all the difference in Devin's world.  Tell next time.....