tagline
WETA

Search LD OnLine

Get our free newsletter

advertisement

Forums
Postsecondary Education

Falling through the cracks


Author Message
Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69140
Other Topics
Posted May 08, 2001 at 4:23:41 PM
Subject: Falling through the cracks

My daughter is a sophomore in college. In grade school she was identified as gifted and talented. Since sixth grade she has been variously diagnosed with chronic pain, depression, school phobia, learning disabilities, fibromyalgia, ADD and expressive language disorder. I'm not sure any of them are correct. There has certainly been enough confusion for everyone to place responsibility somewhere else. And everyone insisting that the best course of action was to be "normal" and everything else would go away.

How do you get LD support at the college level, when you have never had any support before and may be in denial yourself. The student is struggling, which aggravates stress, which aggravates medical issues, which aggravates attention and attendance, where the loop resumes again.

She is seeing a therapist who suggested Landmark College, however, she was not considered appropriately disabled (ie. not dyslexic) when she applied to the HS summer program.

Since consideration would require a new WAIS, she doesn't want to invest more time or get her hopes up if she is going to get the same answer.

If this resonates with anyone, I am at my wits end as to how to help, other than to wait to pick up the pieces if it all falls apart. Many thanks for any suggestions.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Apr 20, 2014
Posts: 69140

Other Topics
Posted:May 09, 2001 2:29:06 PM

You must get a proper diagnosis to help your daughter effectively. I understand this is easier said than done, but if she indeed does have a learning disability, you wil need the documentation to get her the appropriate help.Look for a major medical center near you or ask the school who does private testing in the area. That will probably give you the best chance of an accurate diagnosis. Once she is evaluated, then planning and treatment can be more easily planned. Good luck. .Feel free to email me.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Apr 20, 2014
Posts: 69140

Other Topics
Posted:May 10, 2001 10:10:13 PM

There are other colleges besides Landmark which either target at students with learning differences or have programs for students within the larger college for students with learning differences. Green Mountain College comes quickly to mind. You could get hold of a copy of the K&W Guide to Colleges for Learning Disabled Students. You'd find a number of colleges in there.

It's also true that the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that colleges who accept federal money (which is all of them basically) must provide support for students identified with learning differences but some have their act more together in that department than others. Regardless of how good the services might be at your daughter's current college, you would need to share some testing with them and it sounds as if you do not have testing results that make sense to you. I'd also be surprised that they'd say again the best course of action is to be "normal" as you say.

But without testing that you're comfortable with, it will hard for any college support service to know what to do if no one really knows what's wrong. It will be ever harder to offer help if your daughter doesn't want it.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Apr 20, 2014
Posts: 69140

Other Topics
Posted:May 23, 2001 10:57:19 PM

What do you mean not appropriately diagnosed. Under IDEA it sure sounds like she should be. If I were a parent of a child with ADD and others(I have ADHD, and have just gone back), i would send my child to Landmark. School is to expensive anyway, and to send your child to a place that the "educators" have no clue about any LDs or ADD will add to the frustration of learning. I have experienced this first hand. I am not encouraged from what I've seen out there.--Landmark Has a good rep, and if the child has the need, it will be worth the money spent, and the results will be much more possitive that at some other pplace that is full of ineptitude.--Good Luck, tell your child I understand and it is not easy!

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Apr 20, 2014
Posts: 69140

Other Topics
Posted:Jun 07, 2001 9:49:11 AM

I can relate to your frustration. My daughter has dyscalculia and we worked with a public school system that did not understand that an LD student can be profoundly disabled in one area and gifted in another. We finally homeschooled for High School. We looked a Landmark and it is a wonderful place.
We were very lucky to find a great college closer to our home and it has been a godsend for our daughter. Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI has a wonderful Instructional Services department and our daughter has found a place that embraces her differences and celebrates her talents!

I stress that you need an accurate diagnosis and taking the risk of further testing is very important. Testing is very traumatic for my daughter but without it she would not be where she is today, a very successful college student working toward a bright future. Try to convince your daughter that having further testing to get an accurate picture of her needs is vital. I have included my Email address, please feel free to contact me.

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Apr 20, 2014
Posts: 69140

Other Topics
Posted:Jun 07, 2001 11:01:04 AM

Update:
thanks for all your support - I am new to this on line stuff. The bottom has indeed fallen out of the current university situation. Failure to communicate on part of staff and student has resulted in medical withdrawals and incompletes reverting to "F" grade. Academic practices committee sees problem as student irresponsibility. I have requested ADA review but they don't "get" it. While she could go back on probation, University failure to be responsive will not change. Student not ready to deal with situation.

I again am waiting to see what develops. When does this get easier?

Thanks to all.
Barbara

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Apr 20, 2014
Posts: 69140

Other Topics
Posted:Jun 08, 2001 3:45:20 PM

Unfortunatly, in my observation, at the university level, the perception of learning disabilities as the 'syndrome of the middle class under-achiever' seems to actually be more prevalent than in secondary schools, and professors are strikingly willing to view LDs as excuses proffered by lazy students for substandard work. Since a lot of LDs do result in work that looks sort of sloppy or untidy, this tends to reinforce the perception that the problems are really all due to last minute-edness, rather than neurological problems. The only really effective way to tackle this, in my experience (I'm now a doctoral student and so have waged this war a time or so) is armed with test results. Better still, test results coupled with professional advice as to what the student's deficits are, what accomodations are appropriate, and why. Colleges and universities tend to be rather sanctimonous about providing advice - saying that 'the student should be mature enough to advocate for themselves' which is, no doubt, true but tends to overlook the fact that much of the coursework that the student must deal with is quite new, as is the format of university classes and so the student might not have the clearest idea as to what help they need. I found it (and still do, truth be told) strikingly difficult to figure out, at the beginning of a class, in subjects and disciplines I'd never studied before, what kinds of tasks would be a problem or not...I think this means that it's rather common for a student to be in rather deep trouble before they work out what the issue is, let alone what to do about it. The good news is, that after your first few semesters you can specialize in what you're good at and confident in, and as you become more familiar with the subject, you very quickly improve in performance.
It is somewhat cynical, but what was helpful for me, as an undergrad, was going to a small state liberal arts college for which I was really rather over-prepared. I was therefore able to devote a lot of time to working out how to be a good student in a new and confusing environment since I found the actual coursework fairly easy. This might argue for your daughter to return to her university, or a community college and re-take the courses she had problems with - now that she has an overview of the material, it might go somewhat better. My college also offered some classes, like math classes, that were usually in a semester-long, in a year long format, to give students who needed more time for practice a chance to catch up. This was naturally instituted after I left, but if something like that is available it might be helpful to your daughter.
The testing is, however, really key: you can only fight these fights with good information. Perhaps your daughter's therapist could help her work with some of her issues and anxieties with regard to the testing? Really, whatever the results, more information about herself is only helpful.
Finally, if you feel the current school really is a go-nowhere situation, might she think about transferring to a school with better, formal support systems? Even if places like Landmark college look too specialized and like they might not offer enough academic diversity, schools like Hofstra university, which seems to have a *very* flexible admissions policy with regard to special needs students, admitting them on probation, and offering tons of support, could be much better options.
Good luck!

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Apr 20, 2014
Posts: 69140

Other Topics
Posted:Jun 12, 2001 10:18:47 AM

check out pederson's guide to colleges for students with learning disablities and add. they give listings of colleges with support programs and those with comprehensive support programs. very different approaches. sounds like a comp program may be in order at this time to get back on track. maybe a wais and wiat test also. interview schools with comp programs. usually their staff are learning disability specialists rather than student tutors. they also teach the students advocacy skills in addition to academics. good luck!

Back to top Profile Email
Anonymous
Joined Apr 20, 2014
Posts: 69140

Other Topics
Posted:Jun 17, 2001 3:18:11 PM

She needs to go to her schools disabled student services department and see what they can do for her. Plus she should try college extention programs that are taken through the mail, over the computer or broad casted on television. She need not step inside college grounds to begin or finish her education.Falling through the cracks isnt always a bad thing. I fell through the cracks too, having been told that I am too disabled for one program and not disabled enough for another. Falling through the cracks actually freed me to find my own way. People with learning disabilities are often self directed. And I suspect that your daughter may be self directed too. Also I would look into finding a learning therapist or an educational therapist to help her. An educational therapist is experienced in testing for and diagnosing learning disabilities. There is also two Books I would like to reccomend for her to help her find her way: Zen and the art of making a living by Lauremce G. Boldt and The Turtle Tattoo by Margaret Olivia Wulfson. The first is an expansive guide for anyone who is trying to make or find their way in the work force and although it is not designed for people with disabilities specifically it is very applicable for people with disabilities entering the work place. The latter uses stories that demonstrate how to achieve goals. It is short and very well written easy to read. Unfortuntaely it is out of print but perhaps you will be able to find a copy at a used or second hand book store. But anyway, people with any type of disability do not need to be under the eye of any governmental system or any system that is really unsympathetic with those of us with disabilities. We do not need so called authorities telling us what to do or how to do it . We just need a little support with what ever we decide to do with our lives and a little help with finding direction. Yours is the case of too many cooks spoiling the brothe. Falling through the cracks is sometimes a good things because it can spare people who have disabilities of having one more lable affixed on them and having these systems try to fit them in a mold when it is clear that those they claim to serve do not fit in.
Tascha Dresser

Back to top Profile Email