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Transition


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Mar 26, 2001 at 2:36:41 PM
Subject: Transition

My son has ADHD. He did not make enough credits to make it to 11th grade this year. He has a 10th grade homeroom, three 10th grade classes, and the rest are 11th grade classes. If he passes all his subjects this year he will be a senior next year.

They have not given him a senior advisor, or a senior project (which are required to graduate), because he's considered in 10th grade. This has posed a major problem for him.

He has always said he wanted to go into the service when he graduated. None of the service branches will take him because of his ADHD, taking medication, and depression.

I have tried to get him to look into college or a tradeschool as another option. But what college will take him if he continues to get Ds and Fs? He's not eligible for learning support under IDEA, and we've tried adaptations under Section 504. But just getting him to school every day has been a battle! Every day it gets harder and harder! School is such a nightmare for him! In his battles with going to school, and peer pressures, girl problems I have had to get him back into counselling. Can anyone give me an idea of what to do?

Barb Kelly

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Anonymous
Joined Sep 15, 2014
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Posted:Mar 27, 2001 10:19:21 AM

Even students witih poor grades can always be admitted to their local community colleges. That's what local community colleges are supposed to be for. To provide an education to anybody who wants one. If he could be successful in that setting, he could move on or transfer to a four year college. And at some point, the service might become an option.

Why is your son not eligible for any learning support when he clearly needs it? It's understandable that he's feeling depressed. Is the medicatioon he takes for his ADHD? I would also raise a great noise with the school guidance counselor about his being caught in between 10th and 11th grade. I would point out that at the end of the year he'll be a senior and now he's taking more 11th grade classes than 10th. If it's a major problem that he does not have a senior advisor or senior project, I'd first make sure they all know that it's a major problem. It could be just an oversight or a technicality that he doesn't have one. If they still don't give him one after you've pointed it out, I'd scream until they gave him one.

As getting him to go to school gets harder and harder, that could be a signal that school is getting harder and harder or more meaningless. Your son's story is simliar to my own son's. We looked hard into the possibility of homeschooling but have now agreed that we'll stick it out. But that's pretty much all we're doing. Just sticking it out. I sadly don't look to him to be happy through it. I do help him with anything he needs help with and that's includes doing some of the ridiculous homework for him. We sit down together every night while he does his work because he finds homework a demeaning and lonely task.

I've told my son the truth as I've come to see it. School is unfair and unjust. If school were fair, it would accomodate itself to his learning needs. If learning were really the point, the curriculum would be designed so that school were not a nightmare for him. Schools "mass-produce" kids and learning and not everybody fits in the cookie-cutter mold that schools cater to. My son believes that it's not just his learning differences that keep him from fitting in that mold but also his strength of personality and individuality and creativity. It helps him to see it in the light and it might help your son too.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 28, 2001 11:24:36 AM

Thank you for your reply. My son takes medicine for his ADHD and depression. I have a hard time getting him to take though. He only sees his depression when something he consideres severe and tragic is happening. I see it every day.

I didn't know a community college would take him with those grades, thank you for a direction to go in. Also there is an excellent college you may want to look into for your son, in Vermont, it's Landmark College. They have a web site you can check out..."landmarkcollege.org"

I have raised a fuss about this senior project deal. I finally got them to give me a paper for us to sign to get him into it, but they never let us know when the meeting was held to assign a senior advisor. I just found out there were two meetings; one in January, and one in February. So I got in contact with the coordinator of the special education department and told her our problem. She said she would take care of it and let us know. We'll see.

They say my son is not eligible for learning support because he did well enough on his evaluation. I tried to explain to them that he has had this SAME evaluation every three years. He could do it with his eyes closed and pass it. But if they would look at his individual scores, instead of averaging them out, they would see exactly where his deficits are. They say they don't do it that way. We work (and battle) with homework every day. What I truely worry about is, he turns 18 this year, right at the beginning of the school year. He will be a senior. He talks about moving out and quitting, and there isn't anything I can do about it because he will be 18. I'm trying so hard to find reasons for him to stay in school. It is so hard!!!

At the beginning of the school year I went in and talked to the guidence councilor and the principal about getting help for my son. The principals advise to me was to go talk to each of his teachers and tell them what I believe would help him make it and succeed. He's probably lucky I didn't have a baseball bat with me. I tried to stay calm, and told him that was his job. My job is to help my son, and to help the educators that work with him understand him and his disability. They all know I am more than willing to do anything I can to help, but the principal pushes too much! I had to call in the coordinator of special education to help me get them to listen and to help. I still didn't get much help but I did get some. It slays me to hear them say how important our kids are and how important their education is to them. They do not do anything parents aren't willing to force them to do! Thank God the coordinator of special education is use to working with me, and knows I only strive for the betterment of my children! She usually helps me get what I feel they need. But that in itself has made the principal vindictive toward me and my children. They complain about me going to the school because it just makes trouble for them. The idea is suppose to be to help them. But for the principal it's nothing less than a power struggle! I'm glad it hasn't gotten this hard for my daughter (yet)! I don't know if I'm strong enough to handle both at the same time! I've been fighting school systems, principals, and councilors for 10 years now. I've never given up and never will, but I do get worn down at times.

Good luck with your son!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 28, 2001 12:01:54 PM

My own son also will not take medication for depression. He says he wouldn't be depressed if it weren't for school so why should he take the medication? He says the problem is the school's inability to teach to his learning style and I can't really argue with him on that.

My son has often said he will quit school and, after much thought, I've decided that if he really wants to do that, there may be a message for me in that. Everybody says you have to stay in school but if school is making my son this depressed, I'm not sure he should. People leave marriages and quit jobs when the marriages or the jobs aren't working out for them. Why should he stay in school if it isn't working out for him?

He has thought about taking the GED and then going to college with his GED. Almost any college will take any student on a part-time basis. The competition for admission is for full-time students, not part-time. Many colleges now have applications on-line for part-timers where all you have to do is check the box that says you have a GED. They're happy to take you with that and nothing more if you're only applying as a part-time student initially. My son talks about working part-time and going to college part-time and I can't tell him that's a bad idea. He thinks that if he were only taking two courses instead of a full load it would work better for him. His high school allowed him to take a reduced course load his first year and that was the best year we've ever had. It cut down on the homework a great deal. But past that first year, they won't let you go to high school part-time.

Part of going to high school for me was the fun I was having. My son isn't having any fun. It's just drudgery and I don't how much he can be learning sometimes through all the pain. So I've decided if he really is serious about dropping out, I'll be ok with that, so long as he takes the GED or gets a diploma from one of the on-line high schools.

Check out some of your local colleges other than your community college. See if they have applications for admission on-line and see how easy it can be to get into any college so long as you're willing to enter as a part-time student.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 30, 2001 1:13:20 AM

I too am the father of an adhd son who is caught somewhere between 10 and 11 grade, with no services from the school because they say his evaluations do not warrant special services. My additional problem is that I am a divorced father and my son lives with his mother, and she is not willing to fight the school with me. Therefore, the school gives me lip service and goes on about their merry way. He too is depressed, angry and lacking in motivation.

I am encouraging my son to quit school this coming summer, and helping him prepare for that possibility. It is not the end of the world, or the end of his oppurtunity. When he is ready to work for his education, he will get it, and he will be very successful in it. Meanwhile, I help him, love him, and support him in all his decisions, especially the "right" ones.

And yes, your local community college will give your son the oppurtunity, and the help, to to succeed, even accell when he gets his GED, possibly even before. And they are often more able to do this than "traditional" 4 year schools.

Good Luck

Greg

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 30, 2001 8:18:39 AM

I've read through all your comments about your high schoolers struggling with learning and the school system. I hear your frustrations.
I am a learning support specialist at a private college and I'm hired part time to meet with students with learning disabilities. I read over their documentation and support their request for accommodations in college.I also meet with them to offer tutoring of study skills.
It isn't easy helping these students. They have quite a challenge before them. Some things I could recommend as you look for colleges if that is the path is make sure they have a good supportive disabilities office. Some colleges have more support systems for LD students than others.

Check out the kurzweil computer software program for reading comprehension. Check out books on tape from the Blind and Dyslexia Association. I would recommend a reduced course load the first couple of semesters. It may take longer but it won't be so overwhelming.
Organization and time management is a hugh issue for incoming freshmen in general. For LD students it's really an issue. Another major issue is writing.

To be honest I personally feel that going straight to college after high school is a big mistake for many students. Boys especially need an extra year to grow and mature. It wouldn't be terribly bad for them to work a year. During the year of working though, I would encourage that they attend a learning center, or get tutoring or attend adult education. Students with learning disabilities need strategies and help in writing skills.
Best to you all as you work through this difficulty time. Just love them though. It is not the end of the world if they change directions for a while.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 30, 2001 10:48:30 PM

This thread of discussion also depresses me. I am a transition teacher for a school system in Washington. Because of some dumb luck we got a building that was off site from our other high schools. I have students 18 to 21. Yep, most all have ADHD or some other significant disability. They "made" it through "school", with bruises and scratches. They were not "ready" for graduation and some how we convinced these kids to stay with me.

We spend our days "playing" but, don't tell anyone. Funny these kids have a hard time driving, need to learn how to ride a bus, getting through the college process, have no idea how to get an apartment, socially communicate, banking accounts, making friends, etc. We are doing life and learning how to not get overwhelmed by NO structure.

The students who are really successful in my program are the lost, hate school, what do I do now students.

1) Senior Project - not sure what that means but, most ADHD students really love to do a project that makes since to them. What could the student really get into. Build a Kyack, help a homesless shelter, learn about ADA, etc. Don't let the rules of the project hold you back. Make it a FUN family project, take a trip, at this point even missing school seems not to be a loss. They are failing anyway?! I know it sounds crazy and it takes a lot of thinking but, hey! if what you say is true he is hurting.

2) Do they really need a diploma? If they are hurting this much and what they are doing makes no sence, why not listen to their dreams and help them get there another way. Internships, non-paid experiences, on-line coarses, etc.
Get a GED someday.... ( I know this hurts but, who really came up with the idea of carnegy units and a diploma anyway!)

3) Yes, who said we all need to go to college? and when???? Most folks in community colleges are adults going back for re-training. Take a "fun" class, find out that learning is really "fun". Let the students work with adults, who won't judge them so harshly. What do they love?

3) I was looking at this list to get some ideas of how to help the LD/ADHD students with real transition and support. They really need it, not just the special needs kids.

4) PS - I have a BS- in Education (Art, Earth Science) A MS in Special Education, and now my administration credentials. I tell you this because I graduated in the bottom third of my high school class, hated school, told not to go to college! - Now, I really tell you this because one month ago I was just diagnosed with ADHD and I had no idea! Please just unconditionally love your children, help them grow in what ever direction they are going in, and love them even more. That is what really helped me. ADHD and High School is not the end. It really is a very small part of our lives.

Suzanne

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Posted:Apr 02, 2001 1:36:29 AM

Thank you Greg, for sharing and for the advise. A part of me agrees with you, but a part of me is so afraid that I am teaching him to be a quiter and not fighting for what you want and need. Some guy once said, "If you hated your job, how long would you keep it? You are basically asking these students to stay no matter how bad it gets, but you wouldn't!" So I guess when the time comes (his birthday is the first of September), I'll handle it with love, compassion, and gut wrenching fear and worry. I'll make sure he knows I love him and will stand by his decision. Maybe with tears, but I'll try.
Isn't it funny how having ADHD isn't enough, but there are soooo many added characteristics to give it an extra kick in the butt. I have ADHD and so also does my daughter. But my son worries me the most (at least right now). He's so intelligent, and yet believes he is stupid. It's not just the schools though. Many people in society don't accept ADHD as a problem, and some of the ones that do believe it only affects them in school. We live with my boyfriend. We have for 7 years now. He is one who does not accept ADHD as a problem of any type. He only finds fault with everything my son does or doesn't do. He believes I use ADHD as an excuse to allow him to be bad. Sometimes it makes me crazy, but imagine how it makes my son feel. We talk about it alot. I'm glad he's almost old enough to get out on his own. Then he will see why I said he only needs to worry about pleasing himself. And when I said there are alot of people out there who believe the same as my boyfriend. It doesn't get better just because you become an adult. If anything it gets worse because no bill collector wants to hear, "I'm sorry. I have ADHD and forgot to pay the bill" or "I screwed up my checkbook again. I'm sorry the check bounced" etc., etc.

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Posted:Apr 02, 2001 12:37:36 PM

call and talk to the people at Landmark College and also Beacon College in Florida. both can advise you on his credits and both are excellent schools for LD and ADHD students. Good luck to you

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Posted:Apr 05, 2001 11:23:28 AM

Read this book: Learning Outside the Lines by Jonathan Mooney and David Cole. Two Ivy league students with learning disabilities and adhd give you the tools for academic success and educational revolution (from the cover). Foreward by Edward Hallowell, M.D. who also wrote Driven to Distraction. Good luck.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Apr 09, 2001 5:11:05 PM

I relate to all your stories. I too have a son who experienced all the same things your children are going through. I fought hard enough to get him out of High School. (Thank God!). He is very talented in the Arts although even in High School he was never "good" enough.

I was lucky enough to find him a WONDERFUL school in Florida called Full Sail and he will be starting in May, earning an Associates Degree in Recording Arts. There are no liberal arts classes required and 40% of the sutudents there are what the normal schools would call failures and worthless.

Once I even had a special education teacher tell my son he would be working in McDonalds for the rest of his life if he didn't shape up.

I tried to tell him he was different not that he was "no good", as all the schools did. Different didn't mean bad or worthless.

I did all this research myself, I got no help from the High School, his transition services were pick a school. THAT WAS IT!

If you child is talented in the Arts, music, computer graphics, or animation, PLEASE check out this school, it is my saving Grace.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 12, 2001 1:11:11 PM

i thought my son was tested every three years also. come to find out in senior year they were screening tests. the college disability services require wais and wait testing which is more specific for the exact type of ld. i challenged the school psychologist. i was told it was too expensive to do wait and wais in the public school setting. i went outside the school system to have testing done. right about that time i won my battle with the school and they tested him. this should have been done in 5th grade. the results show a very intelligient young man with obvious learning disabilities. the iep has been generic all along. at college it will be more tailored to his specific needs. check out what tests the colleges will request. have them done now even if you have to pay for it . you'll get a better diagnosis and more credibility for requesting specific accommodations. good luck!

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