Heidi Reichel is an Educational Consultant certified as a teacher and an impartial hearing officer in New York State. She has decades of experience working with students of all ages and ability levels. She knows that there is a fine, fine line between helping a student overcome a disability and making a student more disabled. She has seen too many students who got through high school or college using a plethora of accommodations only to find themselves unemployed because they have acquired little or nothing in the way of marketable skills. They have not learned to work within time constraints. Their independent math and reading skills are below par. They need constant prompting to attend to tasks and when they get frustrated they expect to be relieved of the source of their frustration because they have never learned to overcome it.
She has also seen special education students who have been remarkably successful. Those students learned to work hard (often harder than their non-disabled classmates), break tasks down to size, work through frustration and develop strategies to help them follow directions and attend to tasks independently.
Accommodations can be necessary tools that students use on the road to success. Unfortunately, they are often used as crutches and often times become disabling.
"When I teach students, I am changing the world. When I teach parents or teachers, I am changing the world. However, I know that I can only change a tiny piece of the world in my lifetime. Since I don’t want my students to be limited to a tiny piece of the world I try to maximize their potential and minimize the special accommodations that they rely upon."
- Heidi Reichel