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College and LD


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Mar 29, 2001 at 6:45:37 PM
Subject: College and LD

I wondered if anyone (especially a clinician) has experience with students at the Collegtiate/Graduate level who are learning disabled, but with highly disparate results in various sectors. Example: A college student recently scored in the 99%ile for verbal-cognative ability on the WAIS-III, but showed deficits (relatively speaking) in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, scoring in the 16%ile (in 12 trials) as well as manifesting severe deficits in arithmetic (19%ile) and in global mnemonic function, determined by a WMS score of 75 (i.e. at the 5%ile). Based on these data, what type of condition(s) could cause such variations in results neurological, environmental, other? Are there published reports which discuss such variance in scoring?

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 19, 2014
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Posted:Mar 30, 2001 7:17:07 AM

The scatter you're seeing is not atypical of the scatter that students with learning differences can present. A scatter profile is the classic profile of those with learning differences. There can present areas of great strength and areas of remarkable weakness.

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 19, 2014
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Posted:Mar 30, 2001 10:30:19 AM

The scores you report open the question of deficits in executive functioning/strategy development as well as attention/ memory. This individual may have difficulty learning a foreign language, a common requirements these days in many colleges. Usually colleges look for specific statements about language acquisition in reports. Might this be a problem for this student? I agree with Sara that the scatter you found it not unusual for a student with a learning disability. Are there attentional issues as well?

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 19, 2014
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Posted:Apr 16, 2001 9:04:02 PM

Wendy, you are right on-target re. additional identifications. The student in my last posting has exceptional difficulty in study of foreign languages. In fact, this semester he took German but because he had trouble memorizing the vocabulary and had even greater difficulty in assimilating and applying its particular grammatical rudiments, he dropped-out after about a month and a half, even after tutoring. It was, to all purposes, impossible for him to gain even a rudimentary working ability in the language and this poses the additional problem of fulfilling a graduation requirement. I would be very interested to know more about how you identified the language deficit and possibly propose some countermeasures.

He also has a severe math disability, and is functioning at a 6th grade level. (He has managed to avoid this at the collegiate level by taking all non-math science courses.) It might also be worthy of note that his college entrance results reflected several lacunae: while his verbal score was in the 85th %ile, he scored in the 9th %ile on his analytical and in the 1%ile in the quantative.

The area of attention is also a difficulty, but it is very random. On the face of it, it seems that his ability to be attentive comes from his predilection for certain activities, but that explanation in reality seems too simple. Rather, he seems able to perform well when he can rely on crystallized, long-term memory storage but acquiring new information, techniques, etc. which rely little or not at all on already-stored information are extremely difficult. In the case of the latter, his attention is markedly more difficult to hold.

He has a lot of potential, but without some effective relief, his chances of success (not just academically, but in professionally) may be seriously threatened. He is dealing with a lot of frustration and (as if he didn't have these difficulties) he was misdiagnosed by a local M.D. who seemed to have thought him "just another ADDer" and prescribed him Adderol at one and a half times the normal dosage (and his test scores do not indicate hyperactivity) which after a few days caused severe symptoms, including slurred speech, imbalance, numming (!) and, after discontinuance, three days of severe anxiety attacks.

I am still wondering if there are any effective means to provide some remediation for this individual. Your thoughts?

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 19, 2014
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Posted:Apr 16, 2001 9:05:16 PM

Wendy, you are right on-target re. additional identifications. The student in my last posting has exceptional difficulty in study of foreign languages. In fact, this semester he took German but because he had trouble memorizing the vocabulary and had even greater difficulty in assimilating and applying its particular grammatical rudiments, he dropped-out after about a month and a half, even after tutoring. It was, to all purposes, impossible for him to gain even a rudimentary working ability in the language and this poses the additional problem of fulfilling a graduation requirement. I would be very interested to know more about how you identified the language deficit and possibly propose some countermeasures.

He also has a severe math disability, and is functioning at a 6th grade level. (He has managed to avoid this at the collegiate level by taking all non-math science courses.) It might also be worthy of note that his college entrance results reflected several lacunae: while his verbal score was in the 85th %ile, he scored in the 9th %ile on his analytical and in the 1%ile in the quantative.

The area of attention is also a difficulty, but it is very random. On the face of it, it seems that his ability to be attentive comes from his predilection for certain activities, but that explanation in reality seems too simple. Rather, he seems able to perform well when he can rely on crystallized, long-term memory storage but acquiring new information, techniques, etc. which rely little or not at all on already-stored information are extremely difficult. In the case of the latter, his attention is markedly more difficult to hold.

He has a lot of potential, but without some effective relief, his chances of success (not just academically, but in professionally) may be seriously threatened. He is dealing with a lot of frustration and (as if he didn't have these difficulties) he was misdiagnosed by a local M.D. who seemed to have thought him "just another ADDer" and prescribed him Adderol at one and a half times the normal dosage (and his test scores do not indicate hyperactivity) which after a few days caused severe symptoms, including slurred speech, imbalance, numming (!) and, after discontinuance, three days of severe anxiety attacks.

I am still wondering if there are any effective means to provide some remediation for this individual. Your thoughts?

Wendy wrote:
>
> The scores you report open the question of deficits in
> executive functioning/strategy development as well as
> attention/ memory. This individual may have difficulty
> learning a foreign language, a common requirements these days
> in many colleges. Usually colleges look for specific
> statements about language acquisition in reports. Might this
> be a problem for this student? I agree with Sara that the
> scatter you found it not unusual for a student with a
> learning disability. Are there attentional issues as well?

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 19, 2014
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Posted:Apr 17, 2001 10:35:41 AM

The issue of how to serve a student in college with language and math learning disabilities is under discussion on many campuses. Some have established policies for course substitutions under specific circumstances. In such cases, the student who demonstrates FL disability is allowed to take an alternative that meets most of the same objectives, such as a "culture" course. On our campus, we are developing a self-paced course curriculum this summer so that even students with more severe FL problems can achieve some success.
We are hoping to share this with other campuses once we finish it.

You may want to look at the article by Sparks and Javorsky in the Foreign Language Annals, Vol33, No 6: Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act: Accommodating the Learning Disabled Student in the Foreign Language Curriculum. (If you do not have this journal available, I would be happy to make a copy and FAX or mail it to you if you send me contact information.) It provides the history and a discussion of the issues related to FL and LD in college.

Many colleges deal with these issues on a case by case basis trying to balance the ADA and Section 504 mandates with the intent of the curriculum. Sally Scott has written a lot about this area in the J. of Learning Disabilities and other journals of higher education. If a case can be made that a FL is not essential to the degree (and another course would bring many of the same benefits), then the Dean or the Office of Disabilities Services could petition the faculty committee for a substitution. The case needs to be based on some pretty substantial evidence that there is a FL learning disability and it sounds like this student would qualify. The Disabilities Office should have guidelines for this. Otherwise, advising the student regarding teacher/language/study habits and using every accommodation allowed may pull him through. We often recommend a specific teacher in Spanish (because of the regularity of sound-symbol associations) with tutorial support and use extended time and alternative forms of testing in some cases. But, as I stated above, we are developing an alternative course for a few students who meet criteria because even these interventions are not always adequate.

As for math, advising around those courses is the best alternative. It seems like there is a pretty significant cognitive deficit that would affect his learning in this area. Direct instruction/tutoring may help get through essential requirements.

I would expect that this student would benefit from some counseling if he is not already receiving it. And a visit to the Career Center would also help him define some areas of interest and maybe open some doors. Good luck.

Wendy

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 19, 2014
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Posted:Apr 18, 2001 5:45:44 PM

Please, please, please, do not advise a student that he/she cannot do something! That only allows them to give up!

I never graduated from high school because I couldn't meet grad req's for math, and I spent the next 20 years feeling stupid.

Two years ago I enrolled in a local community college. With the help of two wonderful instructors who took time and patience and believed in me all the way, I graduated with my AA degree and a 4.0 GPA. I spent many nights crying and struggling over Algebra, Statistics, and Pre-Calculus... Trigonometry nearly killed me. I guess I thought I could get math after all, that I really had been loafing in high school.

However, after transferring to another university - to major in secondary math education, - I was devastated to learn that I couldn't remember anything! I felt like a high-school dummy all over again. Dried up and useless. Then I met with my community college counselor one day and she recommended I be tested for a learning disability. I found out I have a perceptual processing disorder that especially affects higher mathematical reasoning. I was so relieved I cried. I am so grateful for her recommendation; words cannot express how it feels.

I am now a junior at Oklahoma State University, and while my GPA is a little lower (3.7), my outlook is a whole lot brighter. Some of the accomodations I am allowed at OSU include more time on tests, the use of a calculator, a study guide, and a note card during an exam. I have to learn how to do it before I learn to understand it, so I do more homework than anyone else in my class, until I learn the "why's" of it.

I am still an education major, and I plan to teach middle school math. Currently I tutor algebra, statistics, and pre-calculus to junior college students in my community. Although I have changed from secondary to elementary education, I still plan to become certified to teach at the secondary level, and then complete my masters so that I can teach at the junior college level.

I urge everyone not to let students give up. Teachers, counselors, please be patient. I assure you that if anyone along the way had given me even the slightest idea that I couldn't do it, I never would have made it this far. If you don't destroy the will, there will be a way!

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 19, 2014
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Posted:Jul 05, 2001 1:12:59 PM

Look into Nonverbal Learning Disabilities. He sounds classic. The works by Sue Thompson are great. Try wwwnldonline.com.

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