Sunday, March 22, 2015

Remediation vs. Modification

If your child has learning differences (LDs) a school may offer remediation or modifications. Remediation is re-teaching a skill in the hope that the child will learn to read, write, or improve in math. Modifications are actions done to help a child work around the absence of a specific skill.

In a perfect world a child would receive remediation to improve a poor skill and modifications to insure that he is able to keep up with the rest of the curriculum. A poor reader would be in a reading remediation program, and be given modifications for the reading required for math or science class. Modifications might include more time for tests, a scribe to copy items off the board, books on tape, or a word bank for a test.

Modifications are not a replacement for remediation. The Orton Gullingham method (a structured, multi-sensory, language-based method that stresses phonics) is often suggested for a child with dyslexia. This method usually includes writing and spelling instruction. This program, and variations of it, are offered at many schools and private tutoring services.

A child with a math learning difference, dyscalculia, is often offered tutoring. While it is true some children need a quick round of tutoring to get through a new concept such as long division or a new class such as algebra, a child with dyscalculia needs a different method of teaching. Currently there is not as much research on teaching methods for math learning differences as there is for dyslexia. Schools may offer a resource program that is little more than a repeat of what is given in the  "regular" math class.  Some parents seek out private math programs such as Kumon Math.

It would be great if all that was needed was a quick round of remediation to help a child with LDs be successful at academics. Unfortunately, much can go awry. A school may not offer true remediation but rather some help in a resource room. Schools may suggest remediation but don't really remediate through a different method of teaching. Some children end up being dropped into a program, taken out when test scores improve, and then dropped in again 18 month latter when scores go down. Sometimes the resource room is a place for learning problems and behavioral problems and may have many interruptions to the learning environment. Often remediation programs are given to a group of students with widely different LDs. Some children in the program may need much longer period of time to learn or a different method of remediation than their classmates.

The best remediation is individualized for the child. It should offer a different method of teaching than what child has had in the past and extra time to learn the material. It should enable a child to learn that she can succeed in that subject.  

Finally, remember your child is a person. He is not a learning difference. Find areas in life where he can shine such as sports, art, theater, or cooking. Be proud of a child's kindness, creativity, or ability to find the humor in a situation. Many successful adults had to overcome difficult obstacles in their childhood.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog posts, thanks for sharing.