Difference Between Accommodations and Developing Skills

Accommodations help level the playing field in academics and may include:

• Allowing more time for assignments and during testing
• Having assignments or tests read aloud to the student
• Reduced amount of items the student is tested on
• Receiving notes from other students
• The student is allowed to answer test questions verbally
• The student is allowed to go into a quiet room for testing

Accommodations help the student show that they have knowledge of the material. Accommodations do not help the student become a better reader, better at math skills or improve their processing speed. Accommodations are work arounds. If your child is allowed an accommodation at school your child should use these accommodations to help them achieve academically; however, this is also an indication that you child has some cognitive – communication weakness. The cognitive – communication weakness may have potential to be improved and should be evaluated by a professional. The evaluation helps determine how to proceed by learning about the student’s strengths and weaknesses and developing a plan to improve their foundation skills. Brain Training and/or neurodevelopmental therapy can help build cognitive foundations skills that support academics. Addressing cognitive foundations skills such as attention, memory, auditory and visual processing, logic & reasoning – concept formation, comprehension, verbal expression, and processing speed may be a better way to improve both their foundation skills and future academic success.

Providing accommodations for a student and developing cognitive skills can work together. However, improving their skills is a more functional approach that can be used for every aspect of their life; at home, in the community, at work, and at school.

So You Didn’t Know A Speech Language Pathologist Could Work With Writing Skills?

Writing is a part of communication. Written expression is a component of expressive language. Writing is a higher level skill because there are many components at work at one time while one is writing. Some of the components of the process are:

• Initiation of an idea
• Visualizing the theme and flow
• Sequencing and organization
• Vocabulary choice
• Memory of the story flow and details
• Attention to detail to make it interesting and unique
• Summarization
• Sentence structure
• Grammar
• Spelling
• Editing
• Processing speed and time management
• Motor skills to type on a keyboard or for hand writing
• Presentation

The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) will help find out where the breakdown occurs in the writing process. That way, you are better able to target the underlying cognitive and language foundation skills that make writing difficult. Underlying skills, such as attention to detail, are used to be able to convey a more robust visual picture to the reader. We also use our attention to detail skills during the editing process.

The writer must be able to transition and show mental flexibility in order to think of options in the story line and to construct varied sentences. Mental flexibility is used later in writing when editing. Logic and reasoning skills are needed for sequencing and organization.

Memory skills are required to hold an idea and to recall details and information from one’s experience to make the story richer. To write for a specific audience, we use memory skills. Memory is also used for word retrieval.

Concept associations provide the Gestalt of a story and allow for the writer to compare and contrast ideas in their writing. Association skills also allow for more varied sentence structure to provide nuance and clarity. Word association skills help with vocabulary choice.

SLPs are trained to work with individuals on sound-to-letter encoding for better spelling. Motoric handwriting skill difficulties are referred to Occupational Therapists.

If you can relate to any of the following statements, you might want to seek out the skills of a SLP.

There appears to be a disconnect; your child can speak well and explain their thoughts. However, they have difficulty getting their ideas down on paper.

My child is anxious when writing and can’t get started.

My child is so disorganized. Their sentences sound jumbled.

My child’s writing skills seem immature and too young for their grade.

At The Brain Trainer, Dr. Parker will start with an evaluation of your child’s overall language skills with an emphasis on writing. Then you will meet with Dr. Parker to review your child’s strengths and weaknesses and where their breakdown may be occurring.