Tag Archives: Homework

Getting the Most out of Your Child’s 504 Plan

504

Getting the Most out of Your Child’s 504 Plan

One of the biggest complaints I get, as a therapist, from parents is their child’s teacher is not following their 504. I can sympathize completely, but as a past public school educator, I can sympathize with the teacher as well. Most classrooms are designed to have 504 and IEP students with an “Inclusion Teacher”. What this means is…the students are generally put with a teacher who requests to work with more challenging students or is made to work with more challenging students. How they become the “Inclusion teacher” is irrelevant; their work load is the still the same.

Responsibility

Many teachers receive information regarding their students within the first few days of class when they are overwhelmed with paperwork. Generally, they get copies of a student’s IEP, but not the 504. One year, I actually never received my student’s 504…I was simply told they had one. Being a new teacher, I did not know I could pull the child’s cumulative folder and research this information myself. Yes, I know, I could I have been so oblivious?

This leads me to…whose responsibility is it really to make sure your child’s 504 is being implemented? Personally, I believe it is up to the schools Learning Services Coordinator (LSC).  By law the school does not have to include you in your child’s 504 annual meeting. Therefore, I would recommend you find out who the LSC is at your school and become friends with them. Let them know you want to be an active participant in your child’s education.

Participation

In order to be an active participant and have a say in your child’s 504 plan; you must BE NICE, but firm. When you show up to meetings have samples of your student’s work, be ready to say what is working or not working, and have concrete accommodation ideas ready to share. Don’t just listen to the educators. You have valuable information to share. Talk about your child’s behaviors…things he says or doesn’t say can be invaluable.

There are many ways to help children with learning and attention issues to succeed in school. Accommodations and modifications can come from several walks of life; such as: work presentation student response, setting, timing, scheduling, organization, assignment modifications, and even curriculum modifications. When helping to design a 504 plan, make sure you understand terminology being used by educators.  Make sure the educator who is responsible for implementing the accommodations name is clearly defined in the paperwork. Also ensure that what is to be done to help your child is specific and clearly understood.   Finally, be sure to get a copy of your child’s new 504 plans and keep in contact with the person listed on the plan as the student’s interventionist.

Communication

If you find yourself at odds with your child’s teacher, Principal, or LSC, request a mediator or child’s advocate from your state public school office. If you still cannot reach some type of understanding, you can always file a law suit with the Federal Office for Civil Rights. However there is a way to avoid these extreme situations.

Parents, your child’s teacher works hard and struggles daily to keep data clearly organized in their brain on each student. They are human and will make mistakes. Communication is the key! Talk to your child’s teacher regularly. Not once a school year or even once a semester. I’m talking about every 3-4 weeks. Children change and grasp new concepts every four weeks or so. What was once working may not be working anymore; maybe you discovered or the teacher came across a new and refreshing idea. It takes a village to raise a child and all of its inhabitants must play their part…including the student.

Garden in the pocket

Dyslexia Therapy with Fidelity

Fidelity is defined as “faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.” Many parents have the best intentions and want their children to be successful. They are loyal and supportive of their children, but are they always faithful to the cause? Regretfully the answer is no.

EXCUSES

I have heard a lot of excuses since I became a therapist such as “it’s just too far to drive”, “ I just can’t afford it”, “my child has a headache”, “I can’t find a ride”, “my kid has a super head lice, that I just can’t get rid of”, “we have a flat”, “I’m out of gas”, “my kid wants to go to a camp or go visit someone”, and “I forgot”. Now you may be thinking some of these excuses sound legit and in a normal situation you would be right, but several of these excuses came from just one parent. Some parents decide it’s too far after only 3 lessons. Some parents believe when their student complains of a headache just before class, that they really do have a headache; when actually they’re just trying to get out of class. Some parents want the therapist to hold a spot and then only bring they’re child 1-2 times a week.

HOMEWORK

When my classes first began, I told my parents consistency is the key to growth and that your student will get out of the class what he/she puts into it. Periodically, I pass out very light homework. I tell the students to practice, get a parent signature, and you will get a sticker for being proactive of your own learning. They do not get punished for not doing their homework, just a simple reminder that they will get out of this class what they put into it. Unfortunately most students do not do the work. In fact, they blame their parents for not getting it done or they say they forgot. They lose their folders or the folder stays in the car and only comes into class with no effort being shown that they had did the work. The students that put forth more effort seem to grow faster and have better attendance records.

ATTENDANCE

In a dyslexia school setting therapy would be given daily. In an after school program, it is given three days a week. It is imperative that the student attend regularly and does practice outside of class. The more effort a student puts into it now the faster they will grow and the sooner you will no longer have to pay for therapy. I understand that life happens, things come up, and you just can’t get the student to class. However from a therapist’s point of view it is disappointing when you get a student who has so much potential and learns things quickly, but he/she has missed a lot of classes. Each student has the potential to attend 9 to 12 sessions in a 30 day period, but I have had students attend maybe only 4 to 6 of those classes in a 30 day period. I have also had students quit or make excuse for their attendance for 1-2 months in a row and then come back. The parent who eventually leave always say they know I’ve made a difference and find me a blessing and all I can think is….if they had attended regularly than your child would be an even stronger reader.
I don’t like losing my students until I feel like I have made a crucial impact on their life. In order for me to do that they must attend class regularly, practice outside of class, and finish the program.