This is a BIGGIE! The transition from elementary school to middle school is HUGE! For most students this will be their first adventure in changing classrooms, having a different teacher for each class, having choices about what classes to take, and emotionally struggling with becoming more “mature” as well as growing physically in leaps and bounds. Now add this to higher learning expectations and lots of homework! During the middle school years it is vitally important for your child to master his organizational skills as they will aid him immensley when he enters his high school years.
Middle school Mito kids have many options available to them that will aid them in attaining academically. As the parent, you do not have to worry about learning new legal paperwork related to Section 504 or your child’s IEP. However, Mito issues often arise during the middle school years. Your child may experience: increased absences due to puberty and Mito symptoms and exposure to more illness, which also leads to more absences. At this stage, you must advocate for your child to receive all beneficial accommodations and modifications necessary for him to achieve educationally.
Many times, the terms “accommodations” and “modifications” are used interchangeably. It is important to understand the difference between the two. Accommodations remove barriers to allow your child access to general education activities and tests. Modifications occur when an actual change to the curriculum simplifies the content for a student, typically by adjusting the level of material that is in question. For the Mito child who participates in regular education, you can expect accommodations to be on your IEP or Section 504 Plan.
The National Center on Educational Outcomes has a state by state listing of allowable testing accommodations that may be available for your child. Typically, accommodations/modifications may be considered under the following categories: Instructional (to include materials, curriculum, methods and strategies) and Assessment (to include setting, timing, scheduling, presentation, response, and other needed accommodations). Some instructional accommodations to consider may include accommodated attendance times, need for flexible scheduling, and shortened assignments. Some testing accommodations to consider may include: frequent breaks, administer tests in the morning to minimize fatigue, orally present test directions and items to reduce eye strain and allow the student to respond in the testing booklet rather than answer sheet.
Physiologically these are the years that will take additional energies as your child’s educational expectations as well as their emotional expectations are high stressors. Often vision impairments, fatigue, cramping, hearing issues and organizational/cognitive issues appear, but with Multidisciplinary Team Assessments and the proper IEP supports, education can still be fun and attained.
As well, Technical Assistive Technologies, and Technical Access are truly beneficial in accommodating and modifying curriculum throughout the middle school years. Allowable technical access accommodations that may be allowed for your child during instruction could include tape recording teacher lessons or copying notes from a classmate to reduce fatigue with writing notes, using a word processor to type rather than write. Your child may need to have two sets of school textbooks so that he does not fatigue with carrying large text books between school and home. With the right tools, every student can attain educationally.
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