Friday, June 16, 2017

Trial Run

Today as my kids were cleaning their rooms I was sifting through the papers they'd brought home in their backpacks a week ago. It's the typical end-of-the-school-year avalanche of worksheets, workbooks, art projects, and summer letters for home. In P's backpack I was shocked to discover a thick packet of worksheets, and a few back-and-forth texts with his friend's mother confirmed what I had suspected, and what P had vaguely insinuated...he had a worksheet packet about a novel due when he arrived back at school in the fall.

"I'm actually he has this assignment because it will give him a chance to test run some of the assistive technology I want him to use in the fall," I texted her. "And it will acquaint the ELA teacher with how he'll be using his technology." We exchanged happy-face emojis at the thought, but later on as I paged through the worksheets again, my heart sank. The pages with multiple blank boxes scattered across, with a question and lines to write an answer in each, were visually stimulating to a typical child but a nightmare to my son who has visual organization issues. Should I make him retype every question onto a Google Doc to answer it? Should I let him use an app like SnapType to photograph the worksheet and type or use voice dictation to answer the questions? And if the pages with the boxes seemed intimidating, the pages with one essay question up top and a field of lines below just seemed ominous.

If I was feeling overwhelmed, what could I expect from my overemotional 9 year old boy? Suddenly his 504 plan, which seemed like such a positive step during the meeting, felt impossibly thin and flimsy. What did it provide him, exactly? What had I even agreed to? I didn't even have a copy of it - I had been promised a copy in the mail, but now, over two weeks later, it still hadn't come.

As daunting as it is, I'm still glad we have a trial run. It won't be enough to fully prepare P for doing work in a new way in the fall, but it will at least give us an idea of what issues could come up.

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