Special Needs 1- Applying Strategies and Best Practices (Assignment #1)

posted Aug 26, 2018, 6:14 PM by Emily Kroutil   [ updated Aug 26, 2018, 6:23 PM ]
Reflect on the information presented in this lesson. Choose two of the scenarios below to respond to. Your reflection should include at least four well-developed paragraphs. For each scenario, discuss at least two difficulties each student may be experiencing in their online class and two best practices or specific strategies that might be helpful.

Scenario #2:

Joyce has accommodations for an Emotional/Behavioral Disorder. Her mother informed you that Joyce's specific diagnosis is Anxiety and Depression, and she sometimes does not respond well to correction. She plagiarized a large section of her essay for your class this week. How will you handle this situation?

Response to Scenario #2:

With Joyce, because she does have an EBD, it is important that I present this issue to Joyce and her parents objectively.  She still needs to follow the rules, even if she doesn't respond well to correction.  I would call her parents and discuss the issue with them.  Then, I would send a follow up email to Joyce, her parents, and facilitator.  In the email, I would mention that the original portions of Joyce's essay were very good and well-written.  Then I would mention the plagiarism.  Because we have access to TurnItIn, I would attach a PDF from TurnItIn that shows which portions of her essay were plagiarized and from where.  I would mention that when students use outside sources, they must cite them and put anything that is taken word-for-word from a website in quotations.  I would also direct Joyce and her parents to GAVS's extensive plagiarism resources, so she (they) can learn more about plagiarism.  Then, I would praise another part of Joyce's assignment. (Praise-correction-praise).

After addressing the issue, I would not bring it up again.  It is in the past for everyone involved and, hopefully, will not happen again.

Two Difficulties:
  1. It is possible that Joyce's anxiety makes it difficult for her to start assignments.  She may avoid logging in and working in the course because she is trying to avoid starting assignments and the possibility of failure, almost with an out of sight, out of mind view of the course.  Because she does not have to physically visit the classroom in a face-to-face school each day, she may be able to successfully avoid the course and her work long enough to get behind on her work.
  2. If Joyce has high levels of anxiety, she may worry excessively about her grades.  Some students with high anxiety want to do well so badly, that they end up doing things like plagiarizing assignments, because they want their assignments to be perfect or well-written so badly and they do not have confidence in their own abilities.  These students often attend schools with a culture of high-achievement and worry about their GPA, class rank, etc.  In my experience, students that attend schools like this and have high anxiety about their grades, rank, etc. are MORE likely to cheat or plagiarize assignments, even though this action usually has the opposite effect, academically.

Two Best Practices:
  1. In Joyce's case, it is important to objectively address issues as needed.  Issues need to be addressed, but as the teacher, I can address the issue and then move on.  It is important not to continually bring up the issue with her, as she doesn't respond well to correction and is most likely already anxious about her grade.  
  2. I would provide positive feedback for Joyce.  If she does well on an assignment, even a quick email mentioning how she had some good thoughts, etc. can go a long way.  

Scenario #3:

Kali has recently been diagnosed with Lupus
. The last few weeks, she has an inconsistent login history for your class due to her medical challenges. Kali is also behind on assignments, and she emailed about making up the work she missed while she was absent. Her medical diagnosis and absences have been verified and her absences have been medically excused. How would you support her?

Response to Scenario #3:

First, I would contact her assigned Special Needs Specialist at Georgia Virtual.  I would let them know that she has had medical issues recently and that they have been verified.  I would ask this person whether or not we can offer Kali an extension for the work she missed, as they would best know how we can offer an extension (and for how long), while still following GAVS policies. They would be able to help me craft a plan to help Kali make up her missing assignments. I'd also bring up the possibility of reducing Kali's coursework, if this hasn't already been done.

Two Difficulties:
  1. Kali may be having difficulty accessing the online course.  If she is very sick, she may not even feel up to working, let alone spending a lot of time in front of a computer.  This could cause her to fall behind on her work.
  2. Kali and her parents are probably very stressed about her condition.  Falling behind on her work could cause Kali and her parents to become even more stressed and worried about her schoolwork, which is important, but not nearly as important as Kali's physical and mental health.

Two Best Practices:
  1. When Kali is able to complete assignments, I would offer encouragement.  I would also work with her assigned Special Needs Specialist at GAVS to develop a plan to help her make up her missing assignments (and maybe even reduce some of the assignments).  I would also offer additional resources similar to THIS for Kali to to help her understand the content.
  2. I would stay in close contact with Kali and her parents so I know about times in which Kali may be having difficulties.  I would stay away from sending weekly failure emails, which may just stress Kali and her family more.