At my son’s Individualized Education Program meeting, the team asked what accommodations he requires due to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. He has little impact from CMT, with the biggest issue being motor dysgraphia. This is a learning disability that affects handwriting and fine motor skills. Our doctor believes that his dysgraphia is related to CMT.
During the meeting, we discussed what CMT is and how it can affect my son’s education. One of the main concerns was his handwriting and the fatigue it causes. We decided to have an assistive technology services (ATS) consultation to see what they might suggest.
While waiting for the ATS consultation, I did some research on accommodations suggested by the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association. They include:
- Providing notes for the student and allowing them to type assignments instead of writing them.
- Understanding that timed tests and long, written assignments are difficult for a child who is unable to write quickly or for long periods. Providing extra time, verbal tests, or use of a teacher’s assistant can be very helpful.
- Providing the child extra time to get books, paper, and other materials ready.
- Giving advanced notice on projects and big assignments to allow the student to work at a pace so as not to tire so quickly.
ATS evaluated him a few years ago and found that he actually writes faster than he types. However, due to the dysgraphia and CMT, his handwriting is not always legible. The suggestions the team came up with back then were:
- Using speech-to-text on Google.
- Using a scribe, which could be difficult in high school.
- Providing a copy of notes where he could highlight important ideas and concepts.
- Using a computer to type assignments.
- Allowing shorter writing assignments and extended time to complete them.
The team essentially provided the same recommendations this time around. At the meeting, I shared the accommodations I had come across. The suggestions from ATS also were shared. My son attended the meeting and gave his opinions about the ideas. He did not like text-to-speech because it does not always convert words correctly and he would have to correct the errors. He prefers to type on a computer, although that can be tiring due to CMT.
The IEP team decided to allow him to use a computer to type assignments, plus give him extra time. This seems to be working for the time being. The good thing is that the majority of his assignments are on Google Classroom, which is apt for working on a computer. His high school will be 1:1 next year, meaning that every student will receive a school-issued laptop. That will make it much easier for him to complete his assignments.
I am grateful to work with such a supportive team whose members want what is best for my son. Team members were open to listening to different options and choosing the best ones for him. It was an easy process. Hopefully, it will help him to be successful in high school.
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.