October 31, 2017 at 6:28 am #66837
I have a junior in high school with a 504 plan. The accommodation he needs most is Read Aloud because, in addition to ADHD, he has dyslexia and other learning processing disorders. However the accommodation he likes the least is Real Aloud. He says he has to go into another room to take tests and can’t ask the teacher any questions they might have or use any resources that may be our wall. The person reading the test can’t answer any questions. Therefore, he has doesn’t always read aloud ecause he says he is at a disadvantage when he uses it He does very poorly on most tests even though he knows the material backwards and forwards. When he uses the read aloud, he says he did poorly because he couldn’t ask the teacher questions or have stuff on the walls to look at. But when he doesn’t use the read aloud, we think he does poorly because he miss reads the test. In a perfect world the classroom teacher would read him the test, but they will not do that.
We are about to have our 504 meeting, and he wants to drop the whole plan or at least the read aloud accommodation. This would mean he had would have no chance of getting that for the SAT or ACT. And I am guessing he wouldn’t get any services in college either.
Any advice on what to do with this situation?
November 1, 2017 at 12:34 pm #66957
This is a tough situation. Our kids often feel worse about their accommodations than getting poor grades. I would request that the accommodation be changed to taking the test verbally, if at all possible. If he knows the material and is still doing poorly on tests, then the way he is expected to perform the assessment and show his knowledge is the problem/doesn’t work for him. Ask him what sort of accommodation he thinks would help him instead. Could he possibly get the test on a computer or iPad with read aloud software and headphones? That would allow him to be in the room and with the teacher, but still have the material read aloud to him. He could also cue it to repeat when needed.
You are right that he does need accommodations and does need to show he uses them to get them for SAT/ACT — that’s what I understand also. Even then, it’s not guaranteed:
It would be a great benefit to acquiring accommodations and services in college as well. Explain this nuance to him and tell him you want to work with him to change the accommodations so they are a benefit to him and acceptable to him, but he needs to meet you half way and keep the 504 plan and use it so that he has the help he needs later.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
November 2, 2017 at 9:55 pm #67083
Hi, awtay. I understand your son’s and your frustration.
Let me start by saying that this is neither legal nor medical advice. Let me also say that my area of experience in college disability services, and that that is what I’m applying here.
I know that at the college level, students taking their tests outside of the classroom setting must have the same access to the professor and to any materials that their classmates have in the classroom setting. So if students who are taking the exam with the professor have a chance to ask questions, test proctors working with students with disabilities should be able to text the professor with those students’ questions. If there are things on the wall that are helpful to the students taking the test (that sounds a little unusual to me, but maybe I misunderstood your post), then your son should have access to copies of that information. On the flip side, if professors refuse to answer questions for anyone during exams (I have not heard about this at the university where I work but have heard stories from colleagues in the field), they are not required to answer any questions for students with disabilities taking exams outside the classroom, either.
What it comes down to is this – a student shouldn’t have to give up the same “access” (both to the professor or to any materials that are present) that him classmates have in order to use his accommodations. I imagine that this has to be true in K-12, but it is not my area, and you should definitely talk to his case manager about this (and if it’s a guidance counselor who isn’t sure, ask the head of the special education department how they do things for students on IEPs who take their exams out of the classroom).
I like ADHD Momma’s suggestion about having him use headphones in the classroom (I realize that that may make him self-conscious). I would caution you that oral tests can be tricky, as he is unlikely to receive that accommodation at college (if that is his goal after high school). Instead, he could get more time for exams and/or permission to use a laptop to better-organize his thoughts. (These are common college accommodations.)
I wanted to say that I was impressed to read that he is using Read Aloud for his exams. If you think it would help, you can tell him that that is very forward-thinking and will prepare him well for college and/or the workplace. At the college level, we are using technology rather than human readers, so he’s likely to be much better-prepared for the transition than his classmates who will be using that technology for the first time.
And to address your concern about services in the future – I can’t speak to the SAT and ACT (not my area), but not using accommodations in high school shouldn’t automatically disqualify him from receiving accommodations at college. I wrote about this on my site: http://bit.ly/NoIEPaccoms. I hope that you will find it helpful.
November 2, 2017 at 11:05 pm #67089
If the teacher creates the test in google docs, there is a Google text to speech reader. https://docs.google.com/a/vt.edu/document/d/12Wtkiyc-yNXkf5bOC-PaoO6uMeghhOBp_Cs2eNNKBzU/mobilebasic
There are tons of apps that read aloud, depending on what device you are using https://appadvice.com/collection/text-to-speech-apps-for-ipad
This puts him in the drivers seat for using the accommodation.
August 8, 2018 at 1:23 pm #90673
As we transition from the old paper-pencil tests to more computer adaptive assessments, we may need to look at our paradigm for accommodations.
It has been my experience professionally, that so many of the old “Go-to” accommodations are moot based on test design (untimed, can be paused for movement breaks, put on headphones, change background colors/fonts, etc.)
We have been finding that the negatives associated with new options are really not worth it when we have test driven them with kids on practice tests. You may want to consider pulling back the accommodations to see if they are even worth it. Bonus if there is a practice test option to try it out on first.
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