I work with many amazing students, but one student I worked with has been especially remarkable because of his persistence, determination, evolving self awareness, and hard work. He meets his disabilities head on with full awareness of his limits while refusing to let them stop him. He has a moderate to severe language-based learning disability that is characterized by impaired reading, writing, grammar, executive functioning, voice and pragmatics. We have worked on decoding, areas of grammar, writing structure and organization, as well as, executive functioning, voice and pragmatics. It was a huge accomplishment when he ranked above the 80th percentile in writing on the SAT. He was thrilled.
Writing had been a struggle, and remediation was not a piece of cake because he often resisted change. Sometimes a 10 minute review task became the entire 1 hour of remediation because he could not follow the structure given. His parent’s had similar struggles at home. Using multiple components from programs I liked such as Landmark’s writing program, as well as, adapting some of Bonnie Singer’s EmPOWER approach made all the difference. Working from structured to unstructured and constantly circling back on previously learned material has resulted in an ease with which he writes that was not there before. He still has much to learn, but no longer will you see the same key word used 5 times in a paragraph or some over used phrase which does not apply to his argument stuck in at random. Finally, let me just say it takes many factors to help children with language based disabilities succeed including parents that stay involved, a school with a strong structured language-based curriculum, a strong work ethic, and continued remediation. Next year off to college he goes. Yea!