Postsecondary Education

college with lower levels?

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Jun 19, 2003 at 7:38:38 PM
Subject: college with lower levels?

Question, Could a student with writing and math levels of 8th grade or so, actually get into a college? My son is ADD/OCD/LD. He is 17 and will be a senior in high school this year. We planned on a 5 year high school since his freshman year to give him time to mature, increase his levels, increase social skills etc. He has looked forward to going to a junior college and hopefully study computer repair, but who knows? (Many people change their career choices in college) He is in all sped classes which in high school around here is basically teach down to their level. Remediation isn't a viable option. I have asked for a writing only class for next year where the schedule isn't dictated by time. He would learn to write a good paper no matter how long it would take. My son isn't too interest in the idea for now. It seems like he isn't motivated right now due to the years of long hours of homework every night. He seems burned out.

Recently, he had a vocational assessment done to what was presented to us was career options. What it turned out to be, was a list of things he couldn't do such as put a lock together using a diagram. He did it by a trial and error method, but did get it together. "They" say his way took too long. No employer is going to hire a kid like him with his behavior problems (moving around, talking, tics, easily frustrated etc.) Their solution was to put him in a prevocational skills training program. The schedule each day is as follows:

9:00 punch in

9:00 to 9:45 sit quietly on a stool putting a nut on a bolt and then into a plastic bag. Put bag in box, hit counter.

9:45 to 10:00 break in lunch room

10:00 to 10:45 discuss job related topics

10:45 to 11:30 do the nuts and bolts thing again

The day continues with lunch, a socialization time for about 30 minutes and another nut and bolt time until it is time to leave at 2:30.

I forced my son to go because all of the "people" in school said that it would be good for him (vocaltional assessment person, sped director, sped case manager) I asked my son to tough it out until today when we saw his psychologist. To say the least, since Monday has been hell on earth in our house. Monday, son went participated for about 2 1/2 hours, laid head on table for the rest of the time and refused to cooperate. Tuesday, son went and cooperated until 11:00, then walked out of center. Wednesday, went and according to "them" had an excellent day. Sat quiet, did work, followed directions, talked to other students. Thursday (today) my son went for 3 hours with an early pickup for psychologist's appointment. The psychologist recommends my son finish the week off tomorrow, collect his pay of $2.oo/hour (yes $2.00) and then I tell them that it is not appropriate for him. He thinks that it isn't doing any good for my son and that he will learn these skills as he goes along. He sees no use in a program making an ADD kid sit quiet, don't move or talk, and do such boring work. (My son has an IQ of 98 when last tested)

My son isn't interested in getting a job on his own. Tried once, but with his anxieties, the tics from his OCD blows up. He is involved in his high school football program as a manager, so he is out every afternoon for the next 2 weeks, and then again starting the beginning of August. Promises that he will help around the house with repairs this summer.

After this long message, the question basically is . . . What is there after high school? Can he go to college with the lower skills? Is being a computer repair technician a fantasy and not a realistic hope?

I feel that I am between a rock (the school) and a hard place (the psychologist and my son). Any ideas or help?

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Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Jun 19, 2003 7:53:05 PM

Soups' Mom:

I'll post in a few days when I have a chance to think but for now all I can say is the work they have your son doing would drive most people crazy! I'm proud of him for toughing it out this far! Good grief!

The reason it will take me a few days to post is that I have an LD and so everything takes me extra time. In spite of that, or somedays I think because of it, I have a college degree and a good job. You may wish to review the Adult with LD or Adult with ADD forums to see how others are doing. Sorta preview what life may be like for him. Most are doing well. Please remember as you read these forums that people mostly talk about their problems, not their good times so factor that in.

There is hope.

Take care,

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Joined Jun 14, 2003
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Posted:Jun 20, 2003 5:05:08 PM

I tutor at a community college in the Developmental Studies Unit. Lots of students come with skills just about at the 8th grade level -- that's about the cut-off to get into the developmental level classes. (If you don't assess well enough for that, there are Adult Basic Education courses; the developmental courses are specifically preparation for the college-level reading and writing and math, though, while the ABE courses are more general skills-development courses). Our whole unit is there to improve the odds for the most at-risk students so we've got academic (my job) and non-academic (help with just about anything else) support and a computer lab just for developmental students.
However -- boy, you're in a really tough place (or rather, he is). I know your stomach just rolls thinking of his daily schedule :roll: I gotta tell you that the burned out students who don't want to be there... don't usually stay there. When they get to the point where they've got a reason for being there -- like a career goal that they can think they might achieve (at least in their stronger moments; everybody gets doubts) -- things go a lot better.
What are his strengths? What, in his whole life, have been glimmers of success? (There's a good chapter in _What Color Is Your Parachute_ -- at least there was in the 1981 edition! -- about analyizing things done well for the things that would carry over into employment situations.) How can you set up a situation even if it's simulated and at home where he's responsible for something and successful at it?

Snoop around and see if there are any other resources or organizations or people besides the ones who advocated for that dreadful nuts and bolts situation -- and/or at least ask them to tell you what other options there are, even if they are *sure* they wouldn't be appropriate for your son, because they may be a link to a person who could hook you up with something that is.

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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Joined Apr 11, 2021
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Posted:Jun 30, 2003 5:25:41 PM

"moving around" - focus on a job that requires moving around

"talking" - a job moving around in a noisy environment...let him talk if he likes...it's noisy and nobody cares.

"tics" - all of the above, plus not in public or whatever meets his needs.

"easily frustrated etc." - supported employment/job coach to get him trained on the job and off on the right foot with the boss, supervisor and coworkers, etc. Refer to supported employment literature on Natural Supports(the job coach trains the coworkers on how to keep him focused, etc.)

I don't have nearly enough in the way of details to do any guessing on specific job goals, but it sounds to me like he needs some opportunities to succeed. And not in a prevocational workshop, although they do have their uses from time to time - maybe.

Gaining the initial entry-level work experience can be a real challenge because he can't just go down to McDonalds or Wal-Mart and get a job on the cash register. On the other hand, a placement counselor with good contacts can make arrangements with employers for try-outs and sometimes get them to carve out a job. (Unrelated example of carving from 1985 - high school grad with 60 w.p.m. typing and a severe stutter. Severe as in not understandable most of the time. My placement counselor talked an Army Officer, a Major IIRC, into eliminating the requirement that ALL federal civilian secretaries at the Fort handle the phones. It took 5 months to convince the guy, but in the end everyone was happy.)

As far as college with 8th-grade skills...people attempt it all of the time. Some improve their skills and succeed and some don't. They won't know unless they try :) For folks who need to improve their 3Rs, I usually advise beginning somewhere other than college because it is too expensive. Even community colleges are getting a little high around here.


P.S. - Almost forgot. I'm a vocational evaluator with 17 years of experience in a regional office. I work for state vocational rehab agency and was a rehab counselor for 12 years before moving to evaluation.

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Posted:Jul 28, 2003 8:04:41 AM
Subject:good luck

Speaking with your nearest community college would be a way to find out what level of skills they expect. Our local CC has remedial classes for those students who enter with low skills. The mission of community colleges is to be open to all the community.

call them and get their list of courses, degrees, certifications etc. See what they offer. There might be something there that is appealing to your son.

It certainly sounds as if the high school vocational program is more of a 'holding tank' than an educational experience and I'd get him out of there too.

Good luckl.

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Posted:Jul 29, 2003 10:04:15 PM

I am currently an occupational therapy student in my senior year of college. I have a written expression ( basically writing) disability with an average writing level of the 6th grade. I am also pretty ADD. While I do not know what ur son's level is, I have found out that I have had extensive testing to find out my exact strengths and weaknesses and worked with my professors and school disability coordinator to assist me. While I dont struggle with learning school subjects i do struggle with communication/attentional issues. I never the less think that I am doing very well. Professors and employers actually like my "creativity"" associated with my disabilities and have worked with me to get around my problems through compensatory strategies. feel free to contact me if you have any more ?'s .
ashleigh (benfielda@lrc.edu)

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