I went through a rough emotional time last month. My school was kind enough to offer me two accommodations for my spelling. They offered me a stand for my iPad and a chair I could rest my arm on while I type. I was initially crushed and angry at the offer. My spelling was not believed for so long that I misunderstood and assumed they were trying to take my communication partner away and refuse me my general education classes if I couldn’t type independently right when the stand showed up. I realize now that I misunderstood, but at the time I was in a full panic. Now, I look forward to working with people like them with good intentions.
There are only three adults outside of my family that I feel I can really trust. That number is far too low. The only accommodations I am not afraid of come from them. I hope that as spelling becomes more accepted, new spellers can go into their IEP meetings without fear.
This is where presuming competence comes in. Educators have to believe we are capable of more than kindergarten level work. You are doing much more harm when you give low level work than if you were to give work that is too hard. I am the perfect example of why. Limitations were put on me as a young child and it traumatized me so bad that I am still terrified that every professional is out to take what I have away.
Accommodations are supposed to be helpful, but only if they are coming from a system that is supportive at its core. There shouldn’t just be one or two people fighting for you, it should be a team. Accommodations are the root of special education, but they should never be taken so far that they limit a student’s full potential.