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Advocacy advice needed please


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69138
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Posted Feb 04, 2004 at 6:22:57 PM
Subject: Advocacy advice needed please

My name is "merlinjones" and some time ago I shared some troubles I had with my University and obtaining help for my ld in the mathematics. I took this up with the ADA complainace officer late last year and had to put the whole deal in writing. I have finally got a letter back from the dean of my uni and she states things that the offices of student disabilites told her that are actual untruths (like I swear on my bible they are untruths). The bottom line is that the director of the offices of student disability really think that because I do well in my other classes I just do not give myself enough time to do math! Now I have the most mad wicked of math lds and an ld not otherwise specified that results in my hand eye coordination and visual spatial skills leaving a lot to be desired as well as a very slow computation time with math and a very hard time conceptualising equations. These are things that do not impede upon my ability to read or write or do history, you know? So, I have spent a lot of time doing the correct thing and trying to be a self advocate, while at the same time doing a lot of study for elementary algebra, and have gotten nothing but a letter from the dean stating a bunch of untruths that the offices of student disabilites told her. I am just at a loss. The letter actually says that I was given accomodations that I never was given! That if I just work hard enough I will do my math better! It says just scads of bs. The funny thing is that I was asked to put everything in wirting but neither the dean or the ada complainace officer ever asked to speak to me personally! They left everything up to a letter I had written and nothing more, I was never given an opportunity to actually speak with all of these folks in a meeting anything. Does anyone find this odd. I just cannot believe it and am going to offer as rebuttal another letter I guess. While I do elementary algebra for hours on end and hardly study for anything else becuase I only take really lower division courses like beginning history anyway. Please note that I live in Memphis, Tn. which just has nothing really for adults with lds.

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 17, 2014
Posts: 69138

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Posted:Feb 04, 2004 8:00:04 PM

Merlin ----

Here is a place to start.

State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency

Jack Van Hooser, Asst. Commissioner
Department of Human Services
400 Deaderick Street, 15th Floor
Nashville, TN 37248-0060
(615) 313-4714
E-mail: KSTEEDE@MAIL.STATE.TN.US

-----

/signed/ Joe Tag,Jr.

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 17, 2014
Posts: 69138

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Posted:Feb 04, 2004 8:07:48 PM

...February 4, 2004; 8:07pm...

Merlin ---

Human Services Department, Vocational Rehabilitation
State of Tennessee
170 North Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 543-7301

-----

If you do not call them Friday or Monday, you will be
procrastinating. This is an agency you should be in contact with
already.

/signed/ Joe Tag,Jr.

P.S.: My assigned agency is DVRS NJ, 65 Jefferson, Elizabeth, NJ 07201;
908-820-3112.

--- end ---

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 17, 2014
Posts: 69138

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Posted:Feb 05, 2004 2:50:38 PM

I know, Joe Tag and everyone else, that this might be hard for you to believe but...the Vocational Rehab in Memphis, Tn. only deals with the most profoundly disabled. This is all that there "funding" has allowed them to do becuase on August 1st of the year 2001, they were made to abide by an order of selection that results in the most severe and profound cases of disabilites to have number one priority. For example, someone who is profoundly developmentally disabled would have a very large amount of resources made available to them from Vocational Rehab (and rightfully so imho) but someone who is at community college and has dyslexia would be made to go to an intake session and fill out an application and get certified with Vocational Rehab, but not be able to ever do anything more than be placed on a waiting list and hope that the order of selection rule that has been in place since August 1st of the year 2001 is one day adjusted or modified. Now, I cannot sit here and get terribly upset because I have a cousin who is profoundly developmentally disabled as a result of a car accident she endured as a young gal. I can, however, almost get upset at the fact that as long as Memphis, Tn. does not have a vocational rehab that assists the learning disabled as well as an agency that offers assistance to adults with learning disablities than I am up a creek. It is nice, I am sure for offices of student disabilites at Universites and colleges in memphis to know that they do not have to do all too very much becuase they do not really have anyone to work in accordance with them. I am in a situation where I am not all too very well with note taking and yet am really bad for tape recording lectures because I have difficulty transcibing things that I hear in a legible fashion, I explained this to the head of the offices of student disabilites and they literally said, oh well, just buy enough paper and pens for recopying purposes and let it go. It is really far out. I do not know where else to go with this, but it is kinda sad, you know? I just really would like to be able to have someone tell me what all I am to do with regards to my math ld and my nos ld. I have asked the head of the offices of student disabilites about this to the point where they write me off and (long story) I was told that I was being irrational and that they want nothing to do with me. I have also been told that it is the fact that I am a lady of a certain age that is ultimately preventing me from doing math, of all things. It is odd to me how you can ask, well heck what do I need to be doing to learn of my math? And have the heads of the offices that are suppossed to help you basically say heck if I know you irrational lady of a certain age. Soo odd...

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 17, 2014
Posts: 69138

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Posted:Feb 05, 2004 4:26:50 PM

To: Merlin Jones
<br>
http://www.ahead.org
<br>
Kimberly Marcus, Treasurer Coordinator
Center for Students with Disabilities
Northeast State Technical Community College
2425 Highway 75, P.O. Box 246
Blountville, TN 37617
Kamarcus@nstcc.cc.tn.us

Melissa Butler, Secretary Coordinator
Disability & Career Services
Rhodes College
2000 North Parkway
Memphis, TN 38112
Mbutler@rhodes.edu

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 17, 2014
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Posted:Feb 05, 2004 4:31:42 PM
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SuefromNJ
Joined Feb 15, 2004
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Posted:Feb 16, 2004 12:42:34 AM

I live in a very metropolitan community just minutes outside NYC, and I'm also having trouble at a small college (private). To the best of my knowledge, Voc Rehab is state-based, and the resources in your state may very well be limited. Empower yourself. Don't take any s--t from anyone. Don't trust anyone but someone w/ REAL knowledge of students w/ disabilities. I don't know how much research you've done about your Civil Rights but that's what you need to do immediately. Get acquainted with the LDOnline web site, the US Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights, etc., and thoroughly read Section 504 of the ADA for post-secondary education. Its very frustrating, I know, to invoke your rights but if you don't, you'll be toast. You'll get misinformed, denied, and passed on and on and on until the "powers at be" at certain colleges (that don't want to spend the time, resources, or money) as they try to get rid of you. Don't whine. Don't complain. Be ABSOLUTELY assertive and downright aggressive, but get knowledge under your belt so you know what you're talking about. Meet w/ some of the idiots at your college and start quoting Section 504 (read it and you'll know which parts I'm talking about that pertain to your situation). In the most demure way possible, allude to the fact that you're going to sue if your college doesn't get their s--t together. A couple of things: Have you been tested by a qualified professional and received a psychodiagnostic report? If so, don't give this report to anyone other than a certified professional (especially at your college--if they don't have someone, don't give it to them if it contains sensitive, confidential info) but, rather, have a certified professional (psychologist, certified LD specialist, etc.) interpret the report and issue a DETAILED letter requesting reasonable accommodations. If you haven't been thoroughly tested, get it done. It can be expensive but it will be worth it in the long run. I know EXACTLY what you're talking about when it comes to ignorant people, even academics, who don't have a CLUE about learning disabilities--what a shame, and shame on them (especially w/ all the resource info out there and the laws that govern them). I've been told on more than one occasion that I "don't look like I have a learning disability"--can you BELIEVE it??? I'm sure you can. I'm extremely articulate but have dyscalcula (a math disability), ADD, a reading disability, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), chronic depression, and general anxiety disorder/panic disorder. I'm on medication that makes me "sane" (hahaha) but I need my textbooks read on audio tape, I failed elementary algebra twice before I finally passed by going for tutoring EVERY DAY of the course until it ended (I try to stay away from math), and I need assistance in various forms of counseling (especially to help w/ time management and studying). I achieved a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida only because, after 4 years of college never reading a textbook, then leaving school for several years to work, and returning with the same problems, I decided to spend the money for tested and was diagnosed in my last year of college. I was 37 yrs. old. It took me 10 yrs. to finally get my degree, and I went from a C-D student to an A student after UF set me up on a reasonable accommodation plan based on my psychodiagnostic tests. They have a WONDERFUL department dedicated to students w/ disabilities, and I couldn't have been luckier. At least I had a good head start to compare other schools to when they challenged my civil rights. Smaller schools are notorious for trying to get out of assisting. If any school gets FEDERAL FUNDING (i.e., offer financial aid), they are OBLIGATED to honor your request for reasonable accommodations. However, you must have good documentation listing your disability(ies), its functional limitations, and ther reasonable accommodations you require to be met. Don't even pay attention to the ignorant fools who can often make you crazy. That's their goal so you'll just go away. Academics really know what their obligated to do--they're just hoping you don't. There has to be at least one designated person in charge of assisting students w/ disabilities (even though it can be hell trying to find that person), and if they don't know what they're doing, it THEIR obligation to find out and point you towards the CORRECT resources. You can't rely on them because that person is not required to have any background in disability assistance (or academics/education, for that matter). That why you have to know your s--t and let THEM know YOU know. Ignorant people, especially instructors, will believe you're receiving a competitive edge over other non-disabled students. Don't pay attention and keep pressing on. Just step right over their ignorant heads. If the person at the top is just as stupid (like the Dean of my college), and you're not receiving the accommodations you're entitled to receive (after all documentation has been provided, etc.), GET A LAWYER. If you're state doesn't have a law against covertly audio taping conversation (in NJ it not against the law to hide a tape recorder and tape a conversation you're having w/ someone but a phone conversation is illegal to tape record), start taping whoever is giving you a hard time and denying your accommodations. Letter writing is EXTREMELY arduous so do the tape record thing. Also, keep a record of the serious of events (dates, people you spoke to, a brief notation about what happened, etc.). When you're able to spit that out to someone who is giving you a hard time, they get intimidated REAL quick. The more organized and knowledgeable you are, the better chance you have of getting your needs met--and you're entitled to it by LAW--and that's ALL that matters. Don't care what anyone thinks about you, and give 'em hell in the most professional way possible. But never back down. It may be difficult, I know, but keep seeking resources in your state, county, community, that can assist you. If you have a good case, an attorney might take you pro bono. Your college can be fined pursuant to ADA law, and you can receive compensetory damages (money) if you have a strong law suit. Right now, I've been so badly misled, passed off, ignored, and lied to, I'm taping away and collecting all my documentation to take my college to court. Forget about going through the ADA or Division of Civil Rights--they take too long, are overworked, and most often complacent. You need action right away. I've spent 2 semesters and over $3000 (plus books and supplies) while waiting for approval of my requested reasonable accommodations. I failed 2 courses because I was prevented from receiving the services necessary to test and pass, and I had to withdraw this term so I wouldn't fail again and lose more money. My college thinks they only have to give me the accommodations they determine they want to give but their dead wrong. By ignoring the list of accommodation I submitted, they've opened themselves up to a law suit. I'm just biding my time until I have enough ammunition to go after them. They'll NEVER do this to any disabled student again, I assure you. There are many, many types of accommodations allowed. Colleges can turn you down but they don't have a leg to stand on if the accommodation is reasonable and the college can't claim a hardship in providing it to you. Federal funding is the key--the colleges get extra $$$ to assist students w/ disabilities. Go get it!

Good luck. I know you'll probably need it but make sure you make your own luck work for you!

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 17, 2014
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Posted:Feb 17, 2004 5:46:00 PM

Dangit Sue, as soon as I get to the University, I will be printing out your post, man. I really respect your struggle and strong will!

In Memphis, Tn. I am at a University called the Unviersity of Memphis, which gets the motherload in state funding. What is far out is that I do this complaint and I get big lies back. Like, a few years back I went to a community college, where I tried my best with the mathematics. This letter from teh ADA complainace officer that was read and commented upon by the dean reads as if I attended "numerous univeristies in the past hwere attempts at math had proven unsuccessful." Now, one community college turns into numerous universites! I went to a very good community college in (Ironic) Miami called Miami Dade Community College, not numerous universites. They turned the math tutoring assistance that you do in groups at the offices of student disabilites into my wanting one on one tutroing, even though I have a private math tutor and use my professor's office hours and the whole nine yards. Ultimately, in Memphis, they assume you have an entitlement complex becuase most of the students are on financial aid and for the most part are just rather lower middle class. It flips me out because all last semester I worked and worked with just really the bare assistance and all I wanted to know, from the people that run the offices of student disabilites is what I could do more of. That was it. I did not want like a math waiver or anything like that, eh? I just wanted to know what is it I should be doing and what is it I just might not ever be able to do? Plain and clear cut, right? All I got back was being called irrational and a lot of nonsense that does not answer my question. I have a heck of a math ld and an ld that is one for the books because it is not otherwise specialised, this makes for like math and map reading and science to be really hard for me amongst other things. Never do I get even like a notetaker for math and I just plain cannot take notes in math, they look like jibberish, I actually have to read every equation for assigned homeowrk before I get out my ruler and start doing the problems because I cannot even read equations cold. I do not have an entitlement complex, but if there is a law that says you can have certain accomadations, then let me at at least a few of those. It is just far out to have a math ld and have no one know of it. I mean these folks are all like, well you do well in your other classes! I take very easy lower division classes like history because I am a sop[hmore. My ld does not lend intself to like having the motherload in accomodations and like the offices of student disability do not understand that I just would like help for the math, you know? Eventually I have to take science and that will be a lving nightmare I am sure, this semester I had to beg for time and a half for elementary algebra tests, beg. Like on my knees beg, man.

But Sue, good luck to you. You sound like a fighter! I do not know what your religion is, you know? But may God bless you in your struggle and fight! Thank you for your post, I appreciate it and I am sure other folks will as well.

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