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Genevieve by Mind Map: Genevieve

1. Deconstruction

1.1. From an early age, Genevieve began to face challenges that most typically developing children do not encounter. Listening can be a daunting task for any toddler because of the amount of distractions and excitements that are occurring all around at that age. However, Genevieve’s inhibited listening abilities were not due to behavioural issues. Genevieve had to stand close to the television to hear it and was often puzzled by what she was being told because of a central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). Individuals with CAPD have a hard time using selective attention to fuse information that is spoken to them and tune out auditory distractions. As a result of this disconnect, children like Genevieve can sometimes lose messages or mix them up, requiring extra clarification and repetition. This is especially the case when the environment is noisy, more than one person is talking or if two words sound very similar. Unfortunately, many students with CAPD are labeled as poor listeners and do not receive the proper accommodations to help them succeed. In Genevieve’s case, her school’s resource teacher began to scaffold instruction beginning in Junior Kindergarten. The resource teacher provided extra guidance and support to work on Genevieve’s development of phonemic awareness and processing skills. This scaffolding helped expose other difficulties Genevieve was facing and led to further diagnosis and an IEP to provide the extra accommodations and modifications she needs for future development.

1.1.1. Genevieve’s diagnosis of attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (Inattentive subtype AD/HD) means she is easily distracted and requires movement during the day. Children with AD/HD often need structure in their learning environments and clear expectations can help them stay on task. Genevieve’s Individual education plan highlights that she will receive peer support when working in groups. This is beneficial for keeping Genevieve on track and focused instead of being distracted. It is a varied type of scaffolding as she is receiving guidance and support from not only her teachers but her classmates (Session #3, 2019). The collaboration with peers can also be a positive outlet for the hyperactivity and need for stimulation. Another way that her individual education plan assists her with coping with her AD/HD is that teachers will present information in a variety of ways and reiterate when needed. Genevieve’s tendency to be distracted due to her AD/HD means that offering multiple presentations of information will give a higher chance that the presentation will hold her interest. By offering information in an auditory and visual format, Genevieve has the opportunity to be stimulated in different capacities. As teachers continue to work with Genevieve, enhancing her independence will require her to self-regulate and monitor her AD/HD and the strategies she will need to develop in order to keep herself on track. In Genevieve’s grade 3 psychoeducational assessment they determined that she had a communicative learning disability. This means that she experiences difficulty understanding or producing words through communication. How her IEP has responded to this is by implementing multiple presentations of information. If she struggles to understand written or spoken words, maybe examples or demonstrations will be able to connect the parts that she does not understand. Another strategy put in place in her IEP is peer support. Often educators use peer support with students and get them to explain things to each other in their own words. This would aid Genevieve’s communication barrier by using student friendly language coming from her peers in another form of presentation of information. Finally, technology and assistive programs are put in place to help Genevieve. There she has resources to thesaurus’s and can look up words and definitions without having to recall them on the spot. How her IEP has responded to meet the needs of her communicative learning disability is by providing differentiated instruction. Teachers can adjust the content, process, and product to meet student’s readiness, interests, and learning profile (Session #3, Session #5, 2019). Her teacher offers different ways for the students to learn and the conditions for learning, such as peer work or independent work. They have also responded with differentiation by applying these different strategies for instruction. When she was in grade 3, Genevieve was diagnosed as having a memory deficit, which means that her difficulties remembering things are minimal. This diagnosis could affect her long-term memory and short-term/working memory (Woolfolk et al., 2020). Long-term memories can be episodic, semantic, procedural, or declarative (Session #7, 2019). To help her remember information, we could give her distinct cues that trigger her memory and help her interpret which information is crucial (Session #7, 2019). To further assist her, it is important to never give her too much information at once and to constantly review information (Session #7). Giving her extra time to complete tasks or even just to process information to answer a question verbally, can be helpful. After her IEP was implemented, Genevieve had information presented to her using various methods. In eighth grade, Genevieve brought her assignments home, used her assistive technology, and then copied it into a different document to match the software of her peers. Although it was believed she did this to fit in, this system potentially could have benefitted her. Reading the information twice, and then having the time to process it, could have made it easier to retain the information.

2. Principal's Perspective

2.1. Kindergarten: There is a new student coming into kindergarten this year who has the diagnosis of central auditory processing disorder. Her parent’s thought something was wrong when they noticed she was struggling to hear them or the TV and would have to come closer or would look confused. I am a little concerned about her having added difficulty with learning phonemic awareness and phonological processing skills, so I will continue to check with the teacher on how she is progressing. I have suggested that the learning resource teacher do some work with Genevieve to help her with her progression. I feel that there isn’t a need for an IEP but will continue to evaluate and consult her homeroom teacher and the learning resource teacher based on their progress. There is assistive technology available to help with learning impairments and I will look into funding and availability of getting something like this for her classroom. A speaker and microphone can be used by the teacher to project sound to all the students in the room, then it’s not singling out Genevieve and can help all students to hear the teacher effectively. There is another one that the teacher wears and Genevieve would wear and it’s a more direct connection of the teacher’s voice to the student because she’s wearing earpieces and would be the only one. While this might be more effective, it would single her out from her classmates who are young and curious. Another strategy that I have recommended for the teacher is to give repeated instructions to Genevieve and the rest of the class and provide other visualizations like written instructions or demonstrations instead of just verbal instructions.

2.1.1. Grade 3: Genevieve’s parents have contacted me that they have the results from the psychoeducational assessment which might explain her continued struggles in class. The auditory aids have helped as well as the repeated and thorough instructions demonstrated through visuals in additional to verbal instructions, but she might need an IEP now with accommodations and modifications to help her succeed in school. The new diagnoses she was given are a learning disability in communication, memory deficit, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. What I need to do now is put a meeting together with her teacher, the learning resource teacher, the Identification Placement Review Committee (IPRC), and her parents to determine an appropriate IEP to put in place for her. After the meeting we have determined that modifications are needed for reading that will put her at an earlier primary level of reading. This will help her to feel like she is succeeding and understanding the material that is presented to her instead of struggling to read material that is not accessible for her currently. I have put in place the suggestions from IPRC for Genevieve’s IEP and have given a copy of her IEP to her parents after making it with her teacher. The accommodations that have been made are peer support and continued use of presenting information in multiple ways for her. An EA’s support would be helpful but not required as she only has one modification that the teacher should be able to incorporate into the lessons and plans and be providing accommodations and modifications already for all students in the class. The LRT is also able to continue to help and give extra support, as well as me giving support and resources and staying involved in Genevieve’s progress. With EQAO’s this year we have determined that the LRT will be a resource for Genevieve and act as a scribe for her and extra time can be given for her to write the test. Grade 6: This year is an exciting year because we were approved for more educational technology in our school and have implemented laptops for the resource room. These laptops have assistive software including text to audio reading. This is a resource that will be excellent for Genevieve who is at a modified level of reading and can use the text to audio reading to potentially use the same reading material as the rest of the class, or continue to read at an appropriate level for her while also using the assistive software. I think it would be ideal for Genevieve to have a laptop of her own and will look into funding for that to see if that’s possible. It would also be great to have a chromebook cart available for all teachers and students to use if the teacher signs out the cart. Then Genevieve would be able to use technology with her classmates and be on the same playing field as them while getting the support she needs. This year Genevieve had her psychoeducational assessment updated and the report showed that assistive technology would be something that she should have to support her as an independent learner. As she’s in Grade 6, she’s starting to transition more along with the other students to become more independent and responsible for their learning as they approach high school with less support typically. It is my goal that Genevieve will be able to be independent in her life and it starts now with teaching her that she can be successful on her own while still offering support when needed. Her IEP has been updated to include the accommodation of use of educational technology when possible, and I have given a copy to her parents. This year our school board got a license for comprehensive software that includes a talking dictionary and word processor, reading and writing skills, an electronic reader, text to audio and scan and read. All of this is available at home for students such as Genevieve, and I will provide the parent’s with training with this software at the school so that they can support Genevieve at home. I will continue to check in with her teacher, the LRT, Genevieve and her parents on her progress and their thoughts or concerns. Intermediate into High School: As Genevieve has entered the intermediate grades, she has become more awareness of how other’s might perceive her and the support she gets through her IEP. She doesn’t use the specialized program at school anymore because of this but does the work at home. She uploads the work to Microsoft word so she can use the same programs as the other students and brings this on a jump drive to school. I’m worried that her focus on the other students opinions on her might harm her because she’s avoiding using one of the supports she has, the specialized program. She’s able to do the work at home and bring it in for now, but I will monitor if this is something that becomes to overwhelming and perhaps her teacher and I can think of something else for her. She still has the option to use the technology and the LRT resources but her parents support her as she’s trying to become an independent student that does what the other students in her class do. She’s approaching her transition to high school and her grade 8 teacher, the resource teacher, the new special education department at her high school and I have met to create a transition plan for her. They told me that they are a wifi and laptop/technology friendly school so she wouldn’t be the only student that has technology. She would be able to technology in an environment that encourages and supports that, while other students are using their technology as well. The difference might be that she is using the assistive and support programs but she wouldn’t be an outcast or set apart from the other students. Knowing this, I have reminded her new school that this is something that should be promoted by her teachers so that other students in her classes join in. We have determined through her ability to become an independent student here that she will be in regular classes with indirect support.

3. Student's Perspective

3.1. Intermediate: Now that I am part of the group of the oldest students in the school, I see things a lot differently. The laptops are kind of old news now because almost all of the students get to use them. Except the other students only use basic programs like Microsoft Word and Google Docs. They get to share ideas with each other online and they are all really good at using those programs. Me on the other hand, my software is VERY different compared to theirs’s, so I don’t get to participate in a lot of the conversations they have about it. I feel left out a lot of the time and I can’t help but blame my special learning needs. Because of my memory problems, ADHD and communication learning disability I am very set apart from my classmates and I am constantly worrying about what they are saying about me. I came up with a great idea to avoid this and fit in to the crowd better. We have Microsoft Word at home so all I have to do is wait to do all of the work on my programming until after school, so no one sees me, and then transfer it all onto Microsoft Word after to bring back to school. Sure, it’s a lot of work but I think it is a good plan to feel like a part of the classroom community again. I just hope that there are more students like me in my new high school

3.1.1. Grade 6: Grade 6 was by FAR my absolute favourite year, at least so far, I am hopeful for high school. Grade was the year that our school got a whole bunch of laptops and cool types of technology to help with our learning. Well, it was mostly used to help with my learning and other students that were like me. When I say “like me” I mean the students who need an extra push in certain subjects compared to the rest of the class. Even though I felt singled out, it didn’t upset me too much because the laptops meant freedom. The software had many useful tools that sort of acted like a teacher, which meant that I didn’t need a teacher by my side at all times. Some of my favourites were the text to audio, the talking dictionary and the electronic reader. It was all so shiny and new, and I was a very motivated and hardworking student during this time. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me because I felt like I was on top of the world. I did my homework right away when I finished school because I was allowed to bring home the laptop and do my work from there. Don’t get me wrong, it was still really hard to read the same books as my friends and I wouldn’t share my writing assignments with them because of how bad they were in comparison to everyone else. But I was spending so much time on these skills so I was sure that I would improve and if I worked hard enough, maybe I wouldn’t even need the extra help when I got to high school. Grade 3: School started to change really fast when I entered Grade 3. Even though I was receiving lots of help from my favourite teacher who was the resource teacher at the time, I still wasn’t as good at reading and writing as all of the other students. I sometimes would sneak out of my room at night past my bedtime and would often overhear my parents talking about it in the kitchen when they thought I was listening. I could tell they were worried about me and I felt really bad for making them so upset. I was trying my hardest in school but the activities we did in class just didn’t work for me. That’s what I was told in the first big meeting I had with my teachers, parents, my psychologist and the principal. They told me that they were going to give me all of these extra things to help me catch up with me peers and achieve success in my classes. I remember feeling so excited after that meeting. It felt very overwhelming at first when my parents said the meeting helped identify some new learning needs, I had that had to do with communication, memory problems and ADHD. However, I wasn’t too bothered by that because I felt really special in class after that meeting. Teachers gave me extra pieces of paper that explained what she was saying in class, I got my own personal helper during EQAO and I even got to work with my friends during group work. This extra assistance was helping me improve to, I finally started to feel like an equal with my classmates. Kindergarten: I do not remember a lot from Kindergarten, I was so young, and it was such a long time ago. But, if I thought really hard about it, I guess I could tell you a few things about what my life was like back then. There was always so much going on around me no matter where I was. At home my Mom would tell me to do something or my Dad would tell me a joke and it was always so difficult to understand what they were saying, especially when there were other people in the room talking or if there was music playing. My Mom tells me that I had a lot of temper tantrums at that age because I would get so overwhelmed with all of the noises. She said it was because I had something called central auditory processing disorder, that was really scary at first. It got better when I met my new learning resource teacher. We got to spend a lot of time together and she showed me lots of new strategies to use when communicating with my friends, teachers and family. My favourite was when we played charades and used pictures to talk to each other and figure out what other people were telling us. This also helped with my reading because I could make connections between my new strategies and the words on the page.

4. Parent's Perspective

4.1. Kindergarten: I am worried about Genevieve. My husband and I have always noticed that she has had trouble hearing. When we took her to an audiologist, she was diagnosed with a central auditory processing disorder. We felt relieved to finally have answers, and with an official diagnosis, we could research strategies and solutions to help her be successful. We were, however, concerned about her diagnosis progressing in the future. Would she eventually be deaf? Would she need to learn sign language? Since she was just about to start kindergarten at the time of her diagnosis, we also feared that she would be treated differently at school. Like any parent, we wanted our child to fit in with her classmates. Our concerns were put at ease for a while she worked with the school’s LRT.

4.1.1. Grade 3: When she was first diagnosed, we felt relieved, but as time went on, we noticed that something was still off. My husband and I thought it would be in Genevieve’s best interest if we took her to a “psychologist for a psycho-educational assessment.” This was when all the pieces finally fell into place. We discovered that, in addition to her hearing difficulties, our daughter also had a learning disability (communication), a memory deficit, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (inattentive sub-type AD/HD) when she was eight years old and entering grade 3.” Once again, we felt relieved but also worried about how these diagnoses would affect her life. Would her school friends from the last 5 years treat her differently? Would she still be in the same class? What would her treatment look like? Grades 3-6: Her IEP allowed for various accommodations and modifications to be put in place, which included but weren’t limited to: having extra time to complete tasks, having the aid of a scribe, and have the subject matter presented in different formats. For example, in addition to reading from a social studies textbook, Genevieve could watch a video or listen to a podcast of the given topic. Once she reached the junior grades, Genevieve was given more access to educational technology. Their school was given laptops with assistive technology, like Google Read and Write, which she has found to be beneficial. She was properly trained on how to use the assistive technology and found it to be extremely helpful. I am happy that the school trained her on it, but I wish I could have received the training too, so I could help her troubleshoot should a problem arise. A reassessment in fifth grade stressed the importance of technology as an aid “as she becomes a more independent adolescent learner.” Her laptop proved to be very useful during her grade 6 EQAO testing. Part of me wishes that standardized tests weren’t mandatory, as I have a hard time seeing how they are beneficial to my child. Grade 8: Eighth grade was a rough year for Genevieve. Fitting in was extremely important from her and she felt like she was different from her peers because of her exceptionality. She would bring her schoolwork home, just so that her peers wouldn’t see her using different resources to complete assignments. For the longest time, I feared Genevieve was overworked and stressed in this final year when she should have been having fun with her friends during their last year together. If her final year of elementary school was this bad, I feared what high school would be like for her.

5. Teacher's Perspective

5.1. As Genevieve’s grade 8 teacher, I have had the opportunity to watch her thrive with the software our schoolboard has provided. As Genevieve has been formerly diagnosed with a central auditory processing disorder, a learning disability in communication, a memory deficit, and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder, the software package is extremely beneficial in assisting her reading and writing skills. I was pleasantly surprised at how much the software helps her stay on track. Genevieve is able to produce at grade level material when she uses the assistive software which equips her with scan and read, text to audio, an electronic reader, a talking dictionary, and a talking word processor. I have been encouraged by her ability to use the technology in a productive and effective manner as she works hard to demonstrate an understanding of academic material presented to her. As discussed in her individual education plan, I present my lessons in a variety of ways incorporating audio and visual stimulation. I have also been reiterating to ensure that important information is communicated. I am proud of how hard she works to be an independent learner. Seeing as I am the teacher who will be preparing Genevieve for high school, there are a few things I want to implement in the classroom to better prepare her for the switch.

5.1.1. One issue that concerns me as a teacher is her unease around using the assistive software in class. Genevieve could be using her class time much more effectively and could be completing a substantial amount more of her work at school. Genevieve is concerned with only using MS Word in the classroom in order to “blend in”. I attempt to make my classroom an inclusive environment and encourage all my students to use the class laptops. Genevieve will use the laptop however; she refuses to use the software that helps her succeed in the classroom. She often does work in advance and bring it in on a USB drive to then work in “a normal word processor system”; this is taking away from her time to rest and enjoy her life outside of school. I am worried that Genevieve spends too much time doing work in advance and then redoing work on a different platform, all for appearance sake. I would like to address this issue with her in private and propose a few solutions; I want her to feel comfortable using the technology she requires. I know that Genevieve is comfortable with the use of the laptop itself as she sees her peers using them too. I am proposing the solution of her placement in the classroom and the introduction of carrels. Students could design their own cardboard carrels and use them during independent work periods. This is helpful for not only Genevieve in keeping her screen private, but also for many students who need assistance in blocking out distractions. By providing students with the opportunity to make a private workspace in the classroom, Genevieve can work without the fear of someone seeing her “special” software. If she is worried about people seeing the screen from behind we could place her at one of the groups in the back of the room and ensure that we have a classroom speaker near her so that she can still hear and pay attention to what is going on. By sitting in a group, Genevieve is not separated but integrated with her peers and when she becomes self-conscious about her computer software she has the option of using the carrel. One drawback for me as a teacher when I think of employing this strategy is that I will have to be extra trusting of my students. There are always some kids that need extra attention and supervision, which will be more difficult with the carrels up, blocking my view of their work. With this in mind, I need to consider that my class is in grade eight and needs to master self-regulation and independent work before starting grade nine. Although it is a risk to give everyone that type of privacy over their work, I can reserve my right to take away resources that are used improperly. I think that Genevieve will benefit if she uses the privacy of the carrel to work with her assistive software. Even if she doesn’t use the software, she will benefit from a reduction in distraction and the ability to create a personal space for completing assignments and tasks independently.

6. Summary

6.1. Summary: The case study of Genevieve highlights how differentiated instruction and accommodation can help students with multiple diagnoses succeed academically. Genevieve has faced adversity her whole life; demonstrating difficulty with hearing since she was a toddler, she was diagnosed with a central auditory processing disorder. Entering school with an exceptionality, Genevieve worked with the resource teacher to develop her phonemic awareness and her phonological processing skills.

6.1.1. In grade three a meeting was held with the principal, her teacher, the LRT, and the IPRC and determined an IEP with accommodations and modifications to support her in regular classrooms. Her parents brought her to a psychologist and she was given a psychoeducational assessment that determined further diagnosis of a communicative learning disability, a memory deficit and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. She was given modified reading level of an earlier primary grade level and accommodation of peer support and multiple presentations of information. Educational technology became a part of the school board that Genevieve was enrolled in when she entered Grade 6. The school was given a class set of laptops and Genevieve’s accommodations were updated to include assistive software such as scan and read, text to audio, an electronic reader, a talking dictionary and a talking word processor. Genevieve was also able to bring this software home. This use of assistive technology fostered huge jumps in Genevieve’s abilities as a student; she became a more independent learner and was enthusiastic to utilize her accommodations. She was even able to use them during EQAO. In the intermediate grades, Genevieve noticed more and more that she was different from her peers. She would complete her homework at home using her assistive technology, and then copy it to the same software her peers used. This was time consuming but Genevieve cared more about fitting in. When she heads into high school, she will be placed in a regular classroom that encourages the use of technology. Additionally, she will have the support of various staff at her new school.

7. References

7.1. Session #3 (September 19, 2019). Constructivist Perspectives on Learning. Retrieved from Sakai. Session #5 (October 3, 2019). Assessment & Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from Sakai. Session #7 (October 31, 2019). Information Processing: Memory, Attention, and Active Processing. Retrieved from Sakai. Woolfolk, A., Winne, P., Perry, N. (2020). Educational psychology: 7th Canadian Edition. Toronto: Pearson.