Ds is 7, in year 2 of a public school M. we are wrapping up the evaluation process, and he is testing out as "twice exceptional" - gifted with either ADHD or Asperger's Syndrome (more likely PDD-NOS, if on the autism spectrum). He also has SPD and writing difficulties (sees a private OT, but won't qualify for direct service in the school, in this area).
Now, this Montessori is a real compromise for us - free but with major limitations to the Montessori aspects. I still feel it's better than traditional for him - he gets more freedom of movement, limited testing or homework, hands-on learning (although I don't see it being really "rich" learning experiences, but that's not really due to the program).
His IEP meeting is tomorrow. I'm thinking of accommodations that we can put on it. I've come up with: reducing the amount of written work, unless the focus is specifically writing; allow to work in a quiet, alternate setting - because the open classroom concept and the kids' incessant use of the electric pencil sharpener create a noisy/distracting environment; assessing his knowledge through alternate means, if necessary - like allowing him verbal responses or just laying the works out for check, rather than basing it on the "quality" of his written production.
His meeting is tomorrow (Wednesday the 30th), and I'd love to generate more ideas before the meeting, and I would love your suggestions of what has worked for your kids. I know it's hard to give suggestions when you don't know my ds, but throwing out your ideas and experiences will be helpful - I can evaluate whether they would benefit my particular kid. :) TIA!
What do you see as his particular needs? I would base the accommodations on what modifications he needs to successfully function within the classroom environment. I don't know Montessori specifically, so I don't know what the expectations are for his age. Does he need more movement breaks than you see now w/r to the possible adhd? Does he require some sensory-type accommodations to make life a little easier for him? Sorry to not be more specific.
My DD's included things like:
"To ensure success, assignments requiring writing may be modified to ensure success"
and a provision that she had until the following Monday to complete homework so that she could finish things up over the weekend.
She also had a safe place to go during the school if she began to feel overwhelmed.
IMHO, its in your son's best interest to do ALL the writing that he can because this is a skill that gets better with practice, so the more practice the other kids get than he doesn't, the further that he will fall behind. It is not my experience that fine motor skills are something that are "delayed" and eventually kick in. They continue to be a struggle, and are strengthen only by practice, not time. None the less, the exact amount that is appropriate for each child can vary widely. "All he can do without being overwhelmed and frustrated" can be a difficult place to find, and may be substantial less than his peers.
but everything has pros and cons
Is it the generation of ideas and the um, intellectual aspect of written assignments that is difficult for him, or is it the fine-motor ability, the act of writing?
When I worked in the public school system, we had typed-assignment adaptations for many children with autism, to get around that fine-motor difficulty. Of course, they still had to practice some writing, but in reality, in this day and age, when and where are you going to have to write out an essay-type thing that typing and printing would not be perfectly acceptable?? It helped the kids focus on getting their ideas onto paper and the other, more important aspects of learning to write formally--stuff like grammar, punctuation, how to form paragraphs for each idea, all that...eliminating the added stress of physically writing it and neat handwriting. ;)
lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
I don't know if this is too late for you or how things are done in a Montessori, but my son is also 2E and one of the things they do for him is that he is not required to do the same amount of work. If he shows mastery, he does not have to continue with a lot of busy work. He has not really come across much in his grade level he doesn't know yet, so he gets his work done and will go work on the computer learning software one grade higher. He also has fine motor skills issues and the quality of his writing would suffer if he has to write it by hand. When, I homeschooled him, I allowed him to type assignments for writing; but we still had a separate handwriting activity too. This way he could focus on his handwriting during that time, but did not have to get bogged down thinking about it while trying to do a writing assignment. They do this to a lessor degree at school. He still gets handwriting practice sheets for homework.
My DD's fine motor deficit is such that typing is also very difficult. She can both type and write by hand, but both are difficult. Typing is not the whole answer. It doesn't solve the fine motor issues.
Basic handwriting skills are necessary for a variety of task, from filling out a job application to completing multi-step math problems.
Watching how this is playing out for my now 15 year old ASD dd, I wished that we had force more practice when she was younger. Getting our kids with fine motor practice, such as handwriting *past the point where they REALLY need accommodations* isn't' helpful to them.
I don't believe that an attitude that writing by hand is an out dated skill would result in the optimum level of accommodation. It is a skill worth working on, even if some of the work is unpleasant.
but everything has pros and cons
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