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Question about my daughter's possible (undiagnosed) LD


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Joined: Jul 11, 2003
Posts: 1
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Posted Jul 11, 2003 at 2:01:13 PM
Subject: Question about my daughter's possible (undiagnosed) LD

Greetings ... any and all comments will be sincerely appreciated!

My daughter is a senior at the University of Minnesota pursuing a BA degree. A graduation requirement is four semesters of foreign language.

She has struggled with foreign language since she began taking these classes and two of her foreign language professors "think" she has a learning disability because she can't retain anything from class. We've tried tutors ... just about everything ... she simply doesn't "get it" even after re-taking these classes. Her grade point average is about 2.8 so she's obviously getting something.

My question is ... is it possible to have an LD in specific areas? As in her case, foreign language?? I never have considered her having an LD until two professors mentioned that possibility to her. However, when I think back to her high school days, there were certain classes (foreign language, math) that she struggled with tremendously even though she studied like crazy.

I know absolutely nothing about LD so I apologize if my question appears lame.

Thank you.

P.S. We do have an appointment scheduled for next week with Disability Services at the U of M. Yes, I'm going with her on that appointment because I need some answers as to what our options are (if any) so she can graduate.

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bgb
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 330

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Posted:Jul 11, 2003 2:27:03 PM

Mom

This isn’t a dumb question at all!

This article www.ldonline.org/ld_indepth/foreign_lang/painful_collision.html discusses just this topic. I just skimmed the article. I believe it says initial studies indicated there was indeed a foreign language LD but that latter studies contradicted this and (more or less) proved that the issue was a more global LD that had gone undiagnosed until the attempt to learn the foreign language.

My brother-in-law struggled with language at the U of M. At that time (20+ years ago) we didn’t know as much about LDs as we do now. He finally made it by studying American Sign Language. Others have commented that *some* schools will accept credits from the Concordia Language Villages (also in MN). Some LDers find their immersion techniques easier than classroom learning. The above referenced article discusses more accomidations and modifications.

Good luck

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Anonymous
Joined Jul 23, 2014
Posts: 69140

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Posted:Jul 11, 2003 5:16:51 PM

It is possible to have an LD in specific areas and it's also very difficult to compensate for a learning difference in the area of foreign language. So many different skills are needed when one's brain tries to learn a whole new language and a glitch in any one of several skills can make the experience of learning a new language difficult if not impossible.

Nature didn't intend us all to be linguists. My own son can read a foreign language - with the help of a dictionary - but he has severe word retrieval issues and cannot learn to speak a foreign language. He still struggles to come up with the right word in English.

Latin is sometimes then a good language to take as one is rarely required to speak it. Seeing our older son's struggles, we sent our younger son to a college which does NOT require a foreign language.

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Anonymous
Joined Jul 23, 2014
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Posted:Jul 15, 2003 9:11:20 AM

Sara, could you tell me which university does not require a fl? Anyone who is aware of colleges/ univeristies that do not require a foreign language , please post who they are. I, too, am going to search for schools that do not require this for my daughter (still in hs). If you know of colleges/universities who allow substitutions readily for anyone (without preapproval and waiver process) please list as well.

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bgb
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Jul 15, 2003 9:32:18 AM

Have you tried talking to your child's high school conselor about colleges. It seems they would know, or would know who to ask.

Also, my understanding is that each state has a publicly funded parent advocate type organization. You can find a list of these under the "LDonLine Finding Help" section. Click on the red tap about this board. That group should be able to put you in touch with others in similar situations.

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Kay
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 64

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Posted:Jul 15, 2003 11:37:38 AM

To lb:
Many colleges require a foreign language taken in high school to be accepted into their programs, but don't require any additional foreign language while in college. I attended Colorado State University and one of the branches of the University of California, and neither had a foreign language requirement, even for graduate students. I don't think University of Washington (where I went for grad school) had a foreign language requirement either (although I believe it did for acceptance into the school). My brother graduate from Yale, and he didn't have to take a foreign language while there either.

Kay

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Anonymous
Joined Jul 23, 2014
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Posted:Jul 23, 2003 10:46:10 AM

Well, as a secondary level LD Teacher, it makes sense to me that she might have some sort of a language related learning "difference." I taught foreign languages and it does seem as if a foreign language learning task can be a tremendous load for some people's minds. My theory is that it is very taxing for her to deal with the oral/aural task and that all these words are new, the grammar is different, the pronunciation is different, and other things as well.

It just intuitively makes sense to me. It seems as if listening and speaking and comprehending our native language, with the speed and accuracy required for junior high, high school and college, is a burden for some people....therefore it makes sense that some folks would have a major struggle with a foreign language, because it places a tremendous load on grammar learning (the verbs and nouns and adjectives are in a different order and verbs have conjugations, for instance, in Spanish: hablo hablas habla hablamos), the vowels and consonants sound different from English, and everything else.

I do believe that a truly expert, experienced foreign language teacher would notice that your kid faces some unique challenges in this area, and would recognize that her lack of progress is not due to laziness, simple rebelliousness, or other factors.

I would think that any college has seen students like your daughter before, and they would be willing to give her some kind of a break or accomodations, maybe she could do a research project on the challenges faced by non English speaking immigrants arriving in the US and learning English in order to go to work or school? For instance, one group that faces many challenges are the Somalis. Or they could let her do American Sign Language?

John

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Anonymous
Joined Jul 23, 2014
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Posted:Jul 28, 2003 7:59:04 AM
Subject:possible LD

the short answer is that it's certianly possible for an underlying learning difference to express itself much more in one subject than in others. Difficulty with learning a foreign language is a classic place for a learning difference to be noticed for the first time.

What about Latin - if they make her take a language? Latin is not a spoken language and it allowed my own LD son to get through his language requirement.

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