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foreign language needed for college


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Jul 11, 2001 at 10:52:49 PM
Subject: foreign language needed for college

Since my son, age 13, has been attending a special school for dyslexia, it has "magically" come to light, that he is very bright (something that his former public school administrators were very surprised to find out). He will be returning to that school district in one more year.

His current teachers have told me that he is capable of going to college and to do well. They have suggested that for his foreign language that he learn sign language. However, the resource "expert" at my son's to-be high school, has said that sign language, for someone dyslexia, is not a good idea but he has no other ideas to help us determine what foreign language my son can learn. Does anyone have any ideas? What have other children done for the foreign language requirement that is needed to get into a university?

Thanks

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
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Posted:Jul 12, 2001 6:31:07 AM

The sign language recommendation sounds like it makes some sense to me: if dyslexic students tend to rely on visual and spatial reasoning, it would seem like sign language would play to their strengths and I would have thought that a sign language class would almost have to be less reading intensive than another foreign language. Why does the person at the school your son is returning to think it would be such a problem? The only issue that I can think of (and it's not at all connected to your son's dyslexia) is that most colleges require a minimum of two years of a foreign language and more competitive ones seem to really prefer four - it would be worth finding out how many semesters of sign language classes are available at the new school. On the other hand, some colleges with good support programs for LD students will waive, or negotiate foreign language reqs for students who apply to the university through their program - I think Hofstra, American University, Adelphi etc. might do so. And, given that more and more universities will waive foreign language reqs for LD students altogether, I would have thought that an admissions commitee would see taking sign classes as a creative, but more academically rigourous way around a dyslexic student's areas of difficulty

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
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Posted:Jul 12, 2001 3:05:04 PM

Try Spanish.

It's purely phonetic and the grammar rules may may him understand English better.

Or Latin. Also phonetic, but no burden of having to master conversing in it. May also be helpful for the SATs.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
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Posted:Jul 12, 2001 3:16:16 PM

What about Latin? My own LD son was able to learn Latin as it is a purely phonetic language and as he did not learn to need to speak it. He only needed two years of it.

The other suggestion I'd offer is to take a look at the K&W Guide To Colleges For Students with Learning Differences. It might offer the names of colleges that have no foreign language requirement.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
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Posted:Aug 02, 2001 3:45:10 AM

This is amazing. I came here to ask a similiar question and found this thread right at the top of the board :-)

First, Sandy, get him excused from the language requirement if you can. Standing in front of a class and messing up every single word is so embarrassing. Latin might be a good idea, but find out how they teach it. At my college it's three hours a week of trying to speak Latin in a classroom full of people who've mastered several other languages.

Here's what I wanted to ask about: I'm a collge student and I do very well in all of my classes, except languages. I haven't even been able to pass an elements class. I've always had a problem with languages. I flunked three straight years of Spanish in middle school (it was mandatory to take, but they let me go on to high school without passing it). Then I barely got through Latin in high school. Luckily, we mostly copied words from our textbook to our workbook. There were only three of us in the class, and the teacher had another class to teach at the same time, so we didn't have to talk.

Now I've gotten to college, and a language through the intermediate level is required. The school provided a tutor for 3 and a half hours a week, and I couldn't pass Spanish. I seemed to have the most trouble with speaking the language, so I decided to try Latin. Well, Latin at the college level seems to require an awful lot of talking. Even studying constantly, and asking for another tutor, I couldn't get through it.

I was talking to someone in the advising department, and I mentioned that my dad and grandmother had had the same problem. She said that I should see if I have a learning disability. I've called a few people, and the average price for testing is about $1500. I don't have insurance, so I'll have to take out a loan to get tested. I'm wondering if I should, or if I should re-take those classes. On one hand, my advisor says I can substitute Roman culture classes if it turns out that I have a real learning disability related to foreign languages. On the other hand, I speak English very well, so we're not sure if I do have a learning disability.

I don't want to feel like I'm taking the easy way out, but I'm so scared of trying another language this semester. I just don't see how I can get through it and it hurts so much to fail. Should I take the risk and get tested? How would I choose the right doctor(?) to test me?

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
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Posted:Aug 03, 2001 9:54:59 AM

Your ability to speak English doesn't rule out having an LD. Doesn't mean you do have one either ;)

Make sure you knoow about all the options the school offers, including testing you for LDs or a shorter screening that would help you figure out if it were worth the investment in getting tested. It's an awful lot of dough and you're maybe already up to your eyeballs in college loans? (I'm always a little cynical about advisors, 'cause I've known one or two who couldn't be bothered to do their homework). Sometimes a community college will have resources that other schools don't. Another option is to check out the courses at other colleges and see if they're more suited to your learning style (or just plain easier :)), and see if you can transfer the credits.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
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Posted:Aug 03, 2001 9:58:25 AM

Hmmm... you put "expert" in quotes...

Different kids have different strengths and weaknesses. Does the expert think that *your* son wouldn't do well with sign language? Or did s/he reade somewhere that "it isn't good." I could see it being a royal bunbite for a kiddo with fine motor issues... where other kids it would be a nifty hands-on visual link to language.

Lots of places will exempt or modify the language requirement for people with LDs; Latin is an option to consider also.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
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Posted:Aug 15, 2001 6:30:45 PM

Here are some ideas for obtaining the monies for testing:

* Check in with the school and see if the school carries health insurance for students. Most universities and colleges have policies, but students have to dig to find this information from administrative personnel. If the policy covers mental health issues, testing costs for ADD and other learning challenges might be covered.

* If you are still covered as a minor under someone's health insurance, you might want to explore mental health coverage.

* If you work part-time or 3/4 time with a company, again explore the insurance option.

* By joining a LARGE professional organization, you might have access to their group medical coverage. This option is going to take some homework to find the right national organization.

* You could also join a Farmer's Bureau that offers discounts on medical insurance and other perks.


As for learning a foreign language, you could

* Call the International Dyslexia Association (do a web search for the site which has the 800 phone number) and ask who writes about learning foreign languages using the Orton-Gillingham approach.

* Call Mount St. Joseph College in Cincinnati to find out who teaches foreign languages using a similar approach to Orton-Gillingham. There are two professors at the college who specialize in teaching languages in a more structured way.

Hope this helps!

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
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Posted:Aug 30, 2001 1:52:24 PM

I,m not sure exactly where to post this but the original post brought to mind a question we will be facing the end of this school year. Our daughter will need to take two years of a foreign language just to qualify for a "standard" high school diploma. The alternative is a "special" diploma that amounts to nothing more than a certificate of attendance and she will have to (on her own time) take a GED test. The child has auditory processsing and short term memory problems that will make a foreign language the major barrier in completing high school. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

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