ISHA Member Peggy Modglin Receives ASHFoundation Award

January 30, 2014

ISHA wishes to extend congratulations to Peggy Modglin on receiving the 2013 State Clinical Achievement Award for the state of Illinois from the ASHFoundation.  Mrs. Modglin was presented with this prestigious award at the ASHFoundation Founder’s Breakfast during the 2013 ASHA Convention.
Mrs. Modglin was selected as the recipient of the State Clinical Achievement Award due to her daily advocacy on behalf of her students at Normal Community West High School (NCWHS) in Normal, Illinois.  While working with high school juniors, she noted the disparity in accommodations awarded for the ACT exam for students whose primary designation is Learning Disability (LD) and students whose primary designation is Language Impairments (LI).  Mrs. Modglin observed that students at NCWHS with the eligibility diagnosis of LD were granted accommodations upon request, while students with an eligibility of LI were consistently denied accommodations with their first request. Upon receiving the denials, ACT requested additional information including academic and cognitive testing, which was not required in the requests made for students with LD.  This additional documentation did not guarantee that accommodations would be granted for the student with LI.  

The literature concerning the relationship between oral and literate language is well documented, so Mrs. Modglin initiated a campaign to help ACT understand that students with LI struggle with reading and writing tasks in much the same manner as students with a language-based learning disability.  In the spring of 2010, Mrs. Modglin contacted the officials at ACT to inquire about the process for securing accommodations, such as extended time for students with LI.  Through this inquiry, she perceived that ACT personnel were not well versed in the impact of language impairments on students’ academic performance.  A subsequent discussion with ACT’s Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Board member did not indicate that ACT would consider any accommodations for students with LI without the additional documentation.  

Mrs. Modglin worked with ISHA to conduct a statewide survey to determine the impact of this situation.  Once this information was gathers, ISHA and Mrs. Modglin contacted ASHA.  With the support of ASHA staff members, data was gathered to present a case to the Department of Justice.  Mrs. Modglin worked with students and their families to secure the release of records to support the cases of her students.  She then submitted all records for request of accommodations, the denials, subsequent paperwork submitted, and the ACT response.  The Department of Justice is using this information for their investigation.  

Mrs. Modglin’s advocacy has the attention of the Department of Justice; however, as of March of 2013 ACT has not made official changes.  The Department of Justice is reviewing Mrs. Modglin’s concerns along with similar complaints their have received.  While the Department of Justice is not able to provide details at this time, they continue to work on the issue and the investigation is open and on-going.  

Mrs. Modglin’s efforts truly exemplify grassroots advocacy.  She is an example that by our actions, our professional practice, and our advocacy, we can truly improve the quality of life for our students, patients, clients, and consumers.  Again, ISHA wishes to congratulate Mrs. Modglin on her achievement.  ISHA is proud to have her as a member!  

Portions of this article were taken from the nomination submission written by Mary Anne Hanner.