In my career I truly feel I have misdiagnosed children with learning disabilities and I feel as a nation we have set a precedence that a child needs to “fail” enough before we will allow them special education services or an appropriate instructional match. When I think back to the many children that went through the “wait to fail” model many of them were actually not learning disabled after all because they lacked early intervention. Waiting until 4th grade to strategically look at a child’s learning patterns is frankly just too late.
It is often said the early intervention window is “birth to 5” however it is really “birth to 3rd grade”. This is a vital time in a child’s life, in which we can get the biggest bang for our buck and see rapid growth. After 3rd grade the early intervention window comes to a close and one would predict a more stagnant learning pace as application starts to build.
What if we strategically looked at young children differently and allowed them more time to achieve mastery than others in the early years? Don’t they deserve to be given that time? Let’s make it our mission to create optimal learning conditions for ALL children.
Working at a child’s instructional level allows for a high rate of on-task behavior, task completion, and comprehension. Optimal learning conditions are present at this level.
Betts, F.A. Foundations of Reading Instruction. New York: American Book Company, 1957.
Interventions on the GO will feature an “Intervention of the Week” that you can use and implement in your classroom tomorrow! Stay tuned!