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I am an early high school student. I just completed eighth grade but I find that a lot of my skills seem well below my classmates skills. I have had a learning disability since before I can remember. I have dysgraphia, fine motor difficulties, and speech difficulties. However I take a combination of regular, college prep, and honors classes. I am in no “special ed. classes” with the exception of supplemental.

I know for a fact that my skills in grammar, written expression, and spelling are well below the eighth grade level. However, I am receiving no help in those areas outside of my college prep English class. My teacher seem to think of me as “stupid.” I have asked for extra help but she seems too busy to provide any after or before school help. So instead she sent me home with English text books to borrow over summer which doesn’t help much since it takes me hours to get through one page due to my handwriting difficulties.

I learned very little in her class and I know the skills I lack in are not taught in high school but in elementary and middle school. I fear that without these skills I won’t be able to be successful in school and work. A tutor is financially out of question and my case worker, who also happens to be my supplemental teacher, doesn’t seem to think that I lack these skills or just doesn’t realize it. I find she doesn’t pick up on a lot of my difficulties.

How can I learn these skills that I need (e.g. basic grammar, spelling, and vocabulary) if I will not receive it through my classes? Do you have any suggestions?


I am so delighted that you understand your learning disabilities and learning abilities so well. As you know, this means that you have areas of great strength and areas of weakness.

If you have learned good compensatory strategies to minimize your weaknesses, you can handle most classes. However, in some classes, you struggle. Ideally, the special education coordinator for your school would work with the teacher for this class and help to develop any necessary adaptations or accommodations. You seem to be in a difficult situation where no resources are available. And, it seems that you did not get the necessary help in elementary school to compensate for your disabilities.

Don’t give up. First, let’s get your parents on board. Ask them to read this response. Then, ask them to go to the library and get a copy of a book, The Misunderstood Child. This book will help them understand what help you will need.

Maybe there will be a way to provide private help. Or, maybe, your parents can go to the school and insist on more help than you are now getting. If this does not work, e-mail me again.

Note from LD OnLine: Visit Dr. Tracy Gray’s section to see a Tech Expert’s response to the same question.

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