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    #241124 01/31/18 06:33 AM
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    I'm looking for go to lines that you have found effective when teachers or others Just. Don't. Get. It.

    Someone on a special Ed parent board I belong to recently posted a picture of a kid in a wheelchair on the landing of a staircase with a caption saying refusing to provide accommodations to a child with a hidden disability like dyslexia, dysgraphia or ADHD is akin to refusing to provide a ramp for a child in a wheelchair. The combination of the image and the words was - to me anyway - very powerful.

    I have used this analogy many times. ie When no matter how we explained the need or tightened the IEP DD's 2nd grade teacher insisted that she "write as much as you can yourself before you ask for help." District had provided a para to scribe but the teacher (and sometimes substitute paras) felt DD was just being lazy or trying to get out of doing her work. They truly believed they were helping by requiring her to "do her own work" rather than allowing her to access her accommodations. The only thing that got through was saying "So do you tell a child in a wheelchair they should drag themselves as far as they can before they ask for help? Only after they have completely exhausted themselves will you allow them to use their wheelchair?" "So by the time they get to the gym the rest of the class has almost finished PE so the student with the disability didn't get the chance to participate because you had them use all their energy pulling themselves down the hall. Right?" THAT analogy can be understood by most people.

    This got me thinking - what are some of your go to responses?

    For example

    DD's gifted teacher who is really quite supportive and has been trained in DD's unique circumstances recently had her tracing - by hand - an image projected on a wall. DD tried self advocating and explaining that her combination of disabilities, ie her poor fine motor, visual perception, hand eye coordination, etc made this task just about impossible. She asked to be allowed to work on something else or to use her AT accommodation to print an image she found on line. (I was very proud of her for doing this...) Teacher's response "Oh DD you just have to have more faith in yourself." No it's not a matter having faith. It's neurology not confidence.

    Unintended message - your 7 years of OT, your vision therapy, your incredible work ethic - everything you have done to get to where you are now don't mean a darn thing. If you JUST HAD FAITH IN YOURSELF you would be able to do this. Stop making excuses. Stop being lazy. Stop trying to get out of your work... DD's response was to say ok and keep trying to trace. She came home so exhausted she could barely hold her head up and so dispirited she doesn't care if she continues in the gifted program.

    DD is now 13 and can't keep relying on me to make the arguments for her. She needs some easy one offs to rely on. And I need some to follow up with that don't make it look like I still think of her as that helpless 2nd grader.

    So how does she respond in these situations? She is *very* concerned about being respectful and *never* wants to come off as rude.

    What has worked for you? TIA




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    Pemberley, I have so much respect for how you've approached these challenges with your DD. I know I'm just one random voice on the internet, but please know that your dedication to your DD is heartwarming and a source of personal inspiration, so thank you for sharing your journey with us!

    Although these aren't BTDT lines, because we haven't faced 2E challenges as you have, maybe some of these might help bridge the teacher's gap in understanding?

    For your DD

    Short answer A: "I have a neurological disability. No matter how hard I try, my body will be unable to do that. My doctor says I need [insert request for intervention]."

    Short answer B: "In the same way that confidence will not make me fly, it also won't let me do what my nervous system isn't wired to do. I have a disability."

    Longer elaboration: "I am doing my best, but I need you to understand that my body can't do what you're asking. I know you are trying to encourage me, but when I ask for my aids, I need you to believe I need them. It makes me feel like my best effort isn't enough, and I don't think I should be penalized because I was born with a medical disability."

    For you

    Your wheelchair analogy is perfect to build buy-in. Maybe I'm just a receptive audience, but your discussion of the unintended messages behind "just have faith" are really compelling. In the teacher or administrator's shoes, I would feel it was an ethical violation of my role to do anything other than offer supports based on what you're written.


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    I would probably build my own meme. "If I only had faith in myself, I could make that jump" would be the caption, and the picture would be someone standing on the edge of a skyscraper, with nary a parachute, zipline, or bungy cord to be seen.

    But, probably not the most respectful approach.

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    +1 for Dude. I want that meme.

    Alas, Pemberley, tons of sympathy but no great answers. DS has extreme issues with writing, attention and executive function (and is a tad ASD-ish), and passing elementary school has been a massive challenge. Yet I still get constant random comments from my own parents along the lines of "If DS decides he wants to, he'll do great in high school". The absolutely best-est most amazing teacher ever (and himself dyslexic) will still say things like "I know DS can stay focused in math, so he just needs to try harder in writing. He's very immature, he needs to get his act together and grow up".

    The constant message that's it's laziness, lack of willpower, and a moral failing is just deadly. But if I can't even get through to his nearest and dearest, I despair at the rest of the world. Sorry, this isn't helping, is it? (sheepish face)

    Huge hugs, and sending you back to Aquinas' more helpful response.

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    Actually, one thought on the "they need to try harder" thing, which is my worst bane.

    "Do you understand that I have to work *really* hard to do many things my classmates can do effortlessly and automatically? I am already trying 100x harder than anyone else, and yet you are still telling me that's not good enough."

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    Not the most respectful, but I ask if the teacher is going to takeaway "Student X's" glasses. Glasses are assistive technology, so shouldn't Student X have to try harder to read the blackboard, before being allowed to use his glasses?

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    Originally Posted by EmmaL
    Not the most respectful, but I ask if the teacher is going to takeaway "Student X's" glasses. Glasses are assistive technology, so shouldn't Student X have to try harder to read the blackboard, before being allowed to use his glasses?

    Oooh! +1


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    I like the glasses analogy. And glasses are so common nowadays, it's something a teacher sees every day (and possibly uses herself).

    On the other hand, sometimes even things that should be obvious aren't. My DD has been dot at the bottom of the size chart all her life but the band teacher really wanted her to play trombone. I said, "But it's is bigger than she is. Her arms aren't long enough to play it properly." But this teacher had convinced my daughter she was born to play trombone, and had a trombone to lend, so whatever, it's free. After half a year, the band teacher finally says to my daughter last week, "Maybe your arms just aren't long enough." LOL, you think?

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    My high schooler asked his foreign language teacher to be dropped down a track, because he has difficulty understanding a class discussion in English, much less a full immersion foreign language class. The lower track is taught in English. DS approached teacher, because of his APD, ADHD and slow processing speed. Teacher replied that he is looking for the easy way out and that he is not the worst in the class. I am temporarily speechless.


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    My child's teachers would tell him to just come see them if he needed assistance. He has a social anxiety disorder and socially-prescribed perfectionism. IF he came to see you, you would (and did) tell him "you're a smart kid, this should not be a problem for you." They told me the same thing about him. "He's smart, he can do this. Why doesn't he come see me? " aargh. Never did figure out how to respond.

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