This protocol is second nature to me regardless if I am providing speech and language therapy, teaching an entire class, or providing Dyslexia intervention. Yesterday I was reminded that this is a very foreign concept for too many professionals. There is a tremendous misinterpretation of the purpose and usefulness of gathering quality diagnostic information and progress monitoring data.
This brings me to my next point. This diagnostic data should be used to outline an appropriate treatment plan and then additional data should be gathered in order to measure the effectiveness of the intervention I am providing. So when a professional explains….”He is not making huge progress but he is making some slow progress” I want to know exactly what that means. If I don’t understand that statement and I live in the world of data how can we expect parents to understand much less accept it?
So what is progress for a child who is not reading on grade level? If a child is in 1st grade and is currently reading on a level 4 would that be considered good? You be the judge.
At the end of kindergarten this child was on a level 1. After intensive summer intervention the child began 1st grade reading on a level 3. As of yesterday the child is on a level 4. That probably doesn’t sound all bad because it wasn’t explained to the parent what is expected for children in 1st grade.
So here is the reading level progression expected for 1st grade children in this school district. At the end of the first 9 weeks the child should be reading on a Level 4-6. At the end of the 2nd 9 weeks the child should be reading on a level 8-10. We are very quickly approaching this cutoff for the student who has only moved from a 3 to a 4. By the end of 1st grade a child should read on a level 16-18.
Do you think the child I mentioned above who has only moved from a level 3 to a level 4 is making adequate progress?
Would your answer be different if I told you this child not only receives regular classroom instruction, but extra individual instruction from his classroom teacher and another extra reading intervention provided in a small group every day by a reading interventionist?
This is a child with average to above average intelligence. This is a child who has been diagnosed by 2 different unrelated specialists as having Dyslexia. Both the classroom teacher and reading interventionist want to help this child and I believe they are working hard to promote success in this child. HOWEVER, because the intervention and instruction is not aligned with the methods proven by research to work for children with Dyslexia, this child is only moving 1 level every 12 weeks of so. At that rate how many weeks will it take this child to reach the desired end of 1st grade reading level of 16-18?
I do not share this to point fingers or insinuate professionals are not good at what they know how to do. I share this because for whatever reason this very slow progress is deemed acceptable and instead of investigating what methods would work best for this child’s needs, professionals in certain positions are refusing to explore proven Dyslexia intervention for this child. The parent was actually told that providing a proven Dyslexia intervention would actual “set the child back”. Instead of being open to learning new methods that have been proven for almost a century to work for kids with Dyslexia, certain professionals are determined to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. And when that doesn’t give the results desired the suggestion is to simply do it more often or for longer periods of time. Does anyone else see this a ludicrous?
If I were sick and the prescribed antibiotic was not making me better I would go right back to the doctor asking for something else. My doctor listens to me and adjusts the treatment plan. He doesn’t look at me and say, I know you still have an infection and feel horrible but your fever is no longer 106 its now 100. That’s progress! Thankfully I would have the option to seek a second opinion and different treatment options but our students don’t have that luxury.
Reading is just as important as our physical health. If I am not physically healthy my life is in jeopardy. If I cannot read my future is limited and for many that results in substance abuse, incarceration, and/or limited job opportunities.
At some point we have to do what’s in the best interest of our children, not what is in the best interest of someone’s outdated ineffective teaching methods.