Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Modified or adapted, decisions to be made

Recently reviewing our children's school progress we had to make the hard decision of changing one of our daughter's from an adapted school program to a modified program.  We have had to make this decision with other children in the past and trust me it doesn't get any easier making this type of decision.  When a student works on an adapted program they still have to meet all the same learning outcomes but they can be presented in different ways.  If a child can't complete the work with adaptations then they can be on a modified program.  School work that hasn't built on what was learnt the previous year is easier for the child to complete in an adapted manner as there isn't any real concern from some teachers whether or not the student is retaining what is taught.

Having spent many years with children in the public school system, where it was drilled into us, if we switched our child to a modified program they would never be able to go back to an adapted program and they would never be able to graduate from highschool added to the fear of making this type of decision.  The feeling of making a permanent and life altering decision regarding our child's education made it feel like if we decided modified was their best option that we were giving up on them.  Over the past few years we have been homeschooling and I have learnt that you can switch back.  In order to graduate from high school you must obtain a prescribed number of grad 10-12 credits or to obtain an adult diploma you need an even smaller number of credits.  This means there is still the possibility of graduating in the future even if a modified program is best today.  When you decide on a modified program at public school that usually means the child is placed in the resource room and their focus is on life skills (which would make it extremely difficult to switch back as they wouldn't be learning academics).  As a homeschool family when you decide on a modified program you have more say in what their curriculum will look like.  For our children on modified programs we want a combination of academics and life skills.  For them it takes a very long time to learn and I would prefer for them to slowly master skills rather than breeze over things with nothing sinking in.  With a few of our children we have been working on kindergarten to grade 1 learning outcomes for 3-6 years, we use a variety of approaches and are seeing slow steady progress (minus the seizure setbacks).  The most recent convert to a modified program can read quite well but struggles greatly with comprehension,written work and mathmatics, by focusing her work to her level we are hoping for steady progress.  It was a harder decision on whether or not a modified program was in her best interest because she does have more areas of strengths than some of her younger siblings but having some older children with gaps in their learning from being pushed through we decided this would be best for her.  For academics her focus will be on language arts and math bringing in a bit of science and social studies as a means of learning these subjects. Her academics will be much lower than her peers but I am confident with time she will be able to graduate with an "adult diploma".   Singing, piano, trumpet and drama will continue as these are a passion of hers.  Life skills will fill up the remainder of her school day not be the focus of her modified program.

A modified school program can be tailored to your child it doesn't have to be all or nothing approach. Some of our  modified children likely will not graduate but they are still given the opportunity to learn academics along with their lifeskills and hobbies.  Learning should be fun and ongoing not limited because you couldn't master a skill within someone else's timeline.


  1. How wonderful that you are able (and willing) to tailor your child's education to meet her needs. We do this through homeschooling our oldest, but recognize that our 3 littles may or may not be on the homeschool path. Thank you for this post. So many times, people ask me about my plans for my littles, and my response is always, "we will meet them where they are, God willing, we will get them the education that best serves them". Do I hope that is homeschooling? Sure, because it'd be easier for me, but I don't know yet! #TwinklyTuesday

  2. Thank you for the explanation of the difference between the two programs. And thanks for adding this to's Tuesday special needs link up.

  3. This is awesome! It is always hard to make decisions - and feel like you can't go back. It's liking being out there, all alone...or are you?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share these differences!