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Helpful Techniques to Aid the Student with

in the Completion of Written Assignments in the Classroom and at Home

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Following are some suggestions given by Jacqueline Favish, M.Ed., TSA Chair for Patient/Family Services. Mrs. Favish, who has a masters degree in Special Education, teaches learning disabled and emotionally disturbed adolescents in a self-contained classroom.
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For Standardized Tests

1. In multiple choice tests, where a word has to be written in, the student may have great difficulty in writing out the words.
Assign numbers to each of the possible answers, so that the student can simply write in a number for what he believes to be the correct answer.
2. On maching-graded tests, where a student is to fill in boxes or color in a slot, the student may have difficulty in staying on the line of the question he is working on.
Have him use a ruler or a straight-edge to help carry his eye across the page to whichever answer he chooses. He will then color in that slot or box.
3. In tests where several lines or a paragraph must be read, the student may have a problem in focusing visually on a question (this will vary a great deal, depending on the extent of the student's disability).
Use an index card that has a "window" cut out, so that the student will see only the one question he is dealing with at a time. Then he can use the straight-edge as a guide for writing in the answer. This technique eliminates the distraction created by seeing other questions or reading material on the rest of the page. As he works, he slides his "window" down the page progressing from question to question.

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For Non-Standardized Tests

Problems in Math Computations

1. Problems in dealing with space on the paper being used:
Each problem can be isolated on a section of the student's workpaper. To promote this, fold an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet into quarters or eighths. The student can then work on one problem in each section. This allows him to attend to one specific problem at a time and will help separate each unit of work so that distractions are minimized.
2. Problems with use of space in working math problems:
For division and multiplication problems, use lined paper with the lines turned vertically, so that each transaction can more easily be kept in the appropriate columns. (Graph paper also works well for this. -- the Webmaster)

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Timed Tests

1. For the student who must have unrestricted time tests:
No matter what the standardized tests state, the student with special problems (Tourette Syndrome is recognized as a Developmental Disability and therefore qualifies for this exception) is entitled by P1-94-142 to an adjustment of time limits in the test-taking situation. When unrestricted time has been allowed, this can be so noted on the test paper by the teacher, perhaps in the following manner: "Because of this student's confirmed diagnosis of a handicap, this test was completed without time limitations."

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Note-Taking

When a student has a visual-motor problem, note-taking can be very difficult. In addition, many Tourette Syndrome students have arm and hand movements which interfere with writing, thus creating additional problems.
The teacher can select one of the more capable, reliable students in the class and supply carbon paper to enable that student to make a simultaneous copy of his notes. (The teacher could also make a quick photocopy herself. -- the Webmaster) It is sometimes wise to tell this student that the teacher needs a copy of the notes, rather than identify the student with the visual-motor problems for whom they are really intended.

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This page based on a handout prepared and distributed by TSA Greater Chicago Region, 5102 Oakton Street, Suite 117, Skokie, IL 60077.