Practical Access Podcast

S5 E5: One Size Doesn't Fit All

June 22, 2021 Season 5 Episode 5
Practical Access Podcast
S5 E5: One Size Doesn't Fit All
Show Notes Transcript

Procedures may not look the same across learners, reinforcement systems may not look the same across learners, and that is ok. Tune in as Drs. Rebecca Hines and Lisa Dieker get into the evidence-based practices and realizing it's ok that One Size Doesn't Fit All.

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Lisa Dieker 00:00
Welcome to Practical Access I'm Lisa Dieker.

Rebecca Hines 00:04
And I'm Rebecca Hines and we're excited to talk today about a topic that, that one of our listeners sent and Lisa tell us about the article.

Lisa Dieker 00:17
Yeah so you know it's fun because I think that this listener listened to you on another podcast I hear you've been cheating on me, what podcast were you on?

Rebecca Hines 00:25
Well, we by we, I mean my sister and I had the opportunity to do a podcast. She works with Tig Notaro on a podcast called Tig and Cheryl true story, I think is the name. So she was home and we, they invited me in as a as, a as a guest speaker, if you will. So Henry, I believe, is our listener, who is a fan of their show and happened to tune in and send us an article.

Lisa Dieker 00:57
Yeah, so I love the fact that he then you know it sounds like you gave a promo on that podcast so we'll give the promo back and I'm sure their listeners might be a little larger than ours. But he did listen to the, the discussion we had about handwriting and the article that I think you might remember I shared that you know just because kids struggle with handling writing and we give them the keyboard, it doesn't mean they might not also struggle with the keyboard. And we may need to teach instruction we go back to that old field of tension between direct instruction and experiential learning and you and I both know it takes a little dash of both when we're talking about kids with disabilities. And so he sent a great article from the New York Times talking about a kid who won like the national big big big big big award for cursive writing and I have to chuckle because you've seen my handwriting, my son inherited my handwriting and, and yet at the same time he, he, you know the article goes on to talk about the value of that, the fine motor, and I really thought about that and first of all appreciated him sending that. But you know I kind of thought of it as what we always talk about Becky is you know, sometimes we rule something out because somebody doesn't like it, such as the teacher, the school, or they didn't adopt that model or this method or this technique. And then on the flip side, I think, sometimes we adopt something and we like make a child do it, no matter what, and so I thought it was a great article to remind us that you know individuals, this is a young man with autism, need different kinds of opportunities to be celebrated and to see their strengths and to really think about you know what those practices are but I thought it was a great time to talk about evidence-based practices. So I was curious if you had some thoughts there and I have something about statistically to think about in evidence-based practice so I'll go nerdy and you want to share something practical maybe.

Rebecca Hines 02:45
Well, I do I want to try to maybe get, get us all to think a little differently about, about the, the, the art of physical writing you know versus what we're trying to communicate, but the actual physical process and this article reminded me that maybe we need to start tying even those kind of things to the UDL framework, because at the end of the day, it's, it's just universal design. As you mentioned, one way may work best for one child another way may work best for another child and I think we, we underserve kids when we don't expose them to a variety of ways to communicate in writing, but, as you mentioned, where we tend to fall down in education is when we try to standardize, it is only one way is the right way or the way that we're using. So, I don't know about you Lisa but I learned cursive on, on my own, I never learned cursive that I recall I'm sure it was taught to me at school sometime but I learned it when I was really young because my great aunt had sent some big chart with cursive writing on it and I sat there and I was like what is that and my mom told me what it was and I literally would sit down every day as if it was like artwork and I would redraw that chart, so I learned cursive before I started kindergarten because I looked at it as like an art form but I knew how to make all of the letters and then, as I understood them better I could easily write in cursive.

Lisa Dieker 04:25
That's funny cause now it's time for me to do true confession I actually only failed one class in college. It was a, it was a you must pass it until you get it to perfection, and that was handwriting class in cursive so. Yes, I learned cursive too, I don't have anything against it, but I look at my son who's dysgraphic and for those of you don't know, that's a severe profound writing disability and say you know you probably got it from his mother like I said, Becky's seen my handwriting it's definitely not my strength, but I learned that keyboarding was my strength, and I think that's again what we want to want to think about. And I think it goes back to you, not just UDL, but I want to talk for a minute here on this podcast to administrators or teachers who adopt a practice or a parent who says oh I'm going to buy this because it's evidence-based practice, well that's great yet when you start talking about that what they do is they look at where it worked for 90% of the kids our kids with disabilities or kids who are gifted are the ones you might be bored by that or might be frustrated by that and so I jokingly would say to the PT who did handwriting without tears I said but my son's still crying. And it's a great tool and it's a great curriculum, but I think we have to be careful with adoption and then one last quick kind of Josh laugh, he'll love that his mother's talking about him again, but every day at noon like right at 11:30 my phone would ring, and it was the para doing the required reading intervention for my son. And every day it was a behavior problem and every day she would call me, I kept thinking, why is the para doing reading intervention with my son? Why is he sitting at a computer and he hates it every day? And he hates to read, this is in middle school and sure enough, we lost a year of reading that year, and so the next fall I said look I have evidence. I don't want my child to do it well that's the standard curriculum that we use, and I said I realize it but it's not working, and so I would recommend that if cursive is working for your kid, do more of it, if cursive is not working do keyboarding but don't just assume keyboarding replaces cursive, cursive replaces handwriting, I mean there are so many options, as you said, UDL but we've got to keep celebrating where our kids are and that's what I loved about this article. So this kid won the national prize and yet I don't want to be the person who says give every kid with a disability keyboard because that would have been a missed opportunity for this kid. And that's what I think, as we think about evidence-based practices is really it's meant to be successful for that kid not for the majority of kids in your school and I think that's a mistake we make.

Rebecca Hines 06:52
And since we're in the field of special education, I mean obviously Lisa that's what, that's what we already know and believe is that one size just doesn't fit all. And so, so many times, as you mentioned, you know classrooms, schools, school districts over adopt one single way of doing things and you're not going to reach all of your learners. So, my, my practical tip for parents or teachers is to think a little differently about this as an, as an opportunity to expose kids to different ways. If I was a classroom teacher of young kids I would have a little handwriting corner, where kids could go and sit in practice on their own when they had a moment if they finished something and they want to go sit. There is, you and I both know there's a kind of a little bit of a crisis, right now, honestly, for kindergarten teachers, because kids are not coming to school able to physically write because they're so tablet dependent and they just haven't had the, the opportunity or the practice so whether it's at home or at school, I think having little exercises available, but not force feeding it so that we teach kids to hate it before they even get to school which is the kind of thing that happened to my son all the time. But thinking about it as exposure, getting kids ready to write by giving them opportunities to write in a really non-threatening way and helping them understand there's more than one way to put words on paper or a computer.

Lisa Dieker 08:31
Yeah and I'll just end with the thought that no don't, don't give up on an intervention too fast or we're not here to say you know, five days later, the kid hates it, you and I both know it takes a good 30 days in school, at least, to decide if something is working and that's if you're having a good day with not a lot of absences and a holiday break. Because again, what we often do is we extinguish something too fast, but again, listen to the user. If the user says this is too hard, it hurts my eyes, I have a headache, I'm I'm your worst nightmare behaviourally everyday behavior is language and some of our kids choose to talk by farting, sniffing, yelling, screaming, hitting, kicking, biting, or whatever else you can think of and yet we often don't listen to that and we keep giving them more of the same thing. And as I said when a doctor, when you have side effects from a medication and it's not working for you, we look for something different, I think we need to adopt that same philosophy for kids.

Rebecca Hines 09:23
It's a great analogy.

Lisa Dieker 09:25
Alright well thanks for joining us today, if you have questions you can post them on our, on our Twitter at @AccessPractical or send them to our Facebook page, thanks!