Fraid Not! Empowering Kids with Learning Differences
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Getting the right help is more possible today than ever before, but it is neither easy nor cheap. My spouse and I, who have six college degrees between us, spent several years, countless hours, and tens of thousands of dollars finding the right treatment and academic interventions for our now thriving year-old daughter, who has ADHD and dyslexia , a reading disorder. Despite what many may believe, learning differences do not correlate to lower intelligence or an intellectual disability.
Finding a College Fit for Students With Learning Differences - The Atlantic
In fact, students with learning differences who have normal to above-normal intelligence can succeed in school with the right academic instruction and accommodations. Brain-based learning and attention issues such as ADHD and dyslexia affect an estimated one in five children in the U. That means their parents, educators and therapists, and eventually, their employers, are affected as well. About 67 percent of students with LDs enroll in some type of postsecondary education within eight years of leaving high school, which is the same as the general population. The most common services offered in college to students with LDs include tutoring and coaching, additional time for coursework, tests and assignments, note takers, quiet spaces for test taking, audio books, and assistive technologies such as equipment, software, learning materials, screen readers, and voice-recognition programs.
However, students with LDs attend four-year colleges at about half the rate 21 percent of the general population. And just 41 percent of students with LDs graduate from a four-year college in six-years, compared to 52 percent of all students. The reasons for the lower graduation rate include added costs and trouble satisfying the documentation requirements. In the K system, for example, schools are required to test students and offer appropriate accommodations for free. At the college level, schools are not required to provide specially designed instruction to accommodate students with disabilities.
But college students may be eligible for academic adjustments, program modifications, and extra services, usually for an additional fee.
Our stories shine a light on challenges and victories
Students also must self-identify as disabled, and documentation of their disability must be provided. In the K system, schools operate under IDEA, which provides special education and related services to students aged , as well as Section and the ADA to make sure students receive the supports they need.
The array of special education laws and the alphabet soup of acronyms can be confusing. But in the end, it means that college students must be academically prepared, ready to live independently, understand the nature of their learning differences, be able to describe the services and accommodations they may need, and have the ability to advocate for themselves.
So are reports of rising rates of student anxiety and depression. Adding learning and attention issues to the mix can complicate matters even more. The good news is that there is a wide variety colleges that can serve students with LDs. Wax describe basic programs as those that comply with the federal mandate to provide reasonable accommodations to all students with appropriate documentation. Services are requested on a voluntary basis, and there may be some limitations as to what can be provided. The next level up are what the authors call schools with coordinated services.
At these colleges and universities, services are provided by at least one certified learning-disability specialist. Structured programs are the most comprehensive, according to Kravets and Wax, and have a director and staff certified in learning disabilities or related areas. A big mistake students and their parents make is assuming that a college or university will take learning and attention issues into consideration during the admission process and then change the curriculum after they get accepted and enroll. I had no idea where the words were.
I was really scared. He wore a hearing aid. He had a hearing loss and because he was deaf, no one expected him to read on time.
So, I figured in my six-year-old mind the solution to my problem was to convince everyone that I was deaf. I trained myself not to respond to loud noises. My dad would call us to come in from play. Everything was fine until June. Nobody can figure out what it is. And this six-year-old kid went through three days of surgery rather than tell his parents what he had done. Early identification would have found that kid. Early identification would have caught that kid and given him the remedial help that he needed. I was telling this story to an auditorium full of people in the mid-west and about three rows back on the left-hand side there was a young man, about twenty-five, sobbing during the entire story.
He was just rocking back and forth with his head in his hands. The people sitting around him are looking at me like what do we do? And the poor guy is in great distress. As soon as we got done he came running up to me and said can I spend a few moments with you? Could I talk to you about it? I got up one morning, I went downstairs and he was gone. I look back on my life now, in my mid-twenties, and I realize that was probably the best day of my life. He was a terrible man, who was terribly cruel to me and my brothers and my mom.
And in the first grade, my dad used to beat me. He used to beat me because he liked beating me. He was an extraordinarily cruel man and he used to beat me for no reason. Generally, when my Dad beat me he beat me in the living room or the kitchen and I could just run away and go hide until he fell asleep.
But when I did something wrong or made a mistake, I used to get what my brothers and I called a bathroom beating. A bathroom beating went like this: my father would take me, drag me into the bathroom, close the door behind us, lock the door, and then beat me until he got tired of beating me. You ran in the closet, he was there. You ran behind the toilet, he was there. You jumped in the shower, he was there. That was a bathroom beating when you did something wrong. The way they used to teach reading in my school system when I was a kid, is Mrs.
That was so embarrassing and humiliating for me that every other Thursday before Mrs. Then when Mrs. Donovan, my glasses are broken. Donovan probably wrote that this kid is not motivated. She must have known he was doing it on purpose and interpreted that the child was not motivated, which is so sad.
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That child was probably the most motivated child Mrs. Donavan will ever, ever have. His motivation was to avoid the humiliation. Imagine if she could have taken that motivation and injected that into his desire to learn to read. He was an extraordinarily motivated child.
Igniting the kind & brilliant leaders of tomorrow
I love that little car. My wife bought it on our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. It was manufactured the year we were married and I love that car. This little boy was so motivated to avoid being embarrassed that he was willing to take a beating from a grown man twice a month. We need to understand the incredible impact that an inability to read has on the life span of a child into adulthood.
In one of our videos there is all these adults sitting around talking about the impact of reading, comprehension, blah, blah, blah, and all of this kind of clinical good stuff. David Boulton: When we talk about reading difficulties, I think the biggest sleeping giant in the whole field is shame aversion; pre-conscious, automatic shame aversion. And how the shame response to that confusion is a downward spiral. Rick Lavoie: Yes. David Boulton: The mechanisms of avoiding this are really surprising. When we talk with parents and teachers the degree to which they do not understand this one point is huge.
Helping them to understand this is one of our main missions.
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Try to watch a physicist trying to teach his kid the times tables. Rick Lavoie: Right. There is a tremendous discrepancy and on-going argument in the field about learning disabilities versus reading disabilities. The bias of those of us in learning disability field is that the inability to read and the reading disability is not the problem, but rather a symptom of a larger problem. The larger problem is language development and a symptom of that is reading. The Language Arts consists of reading, writing, listening and speaking, and what we find is kids with learning disabilities have global problems in language that are reflected in an inability to read.
However, there are people who say we need to focus exclusively on the reading. You have a child with poor language development, and as a result of that, he has a reading problem, so you focus on the reading. So, the discrepancy appears to be whether you take a frontal assault on reading, or whether you take a frontal assault on language. Those of us in the learning disabilities field would favor more of an assault on language, because again, we see the inability to read as a symptom.
Rick Lavoie: Literacy, in and of itself, should not be the goal. Improvement in understanding of language should be the goal. What I try to do in schools where I consult is to get away from multi-disciplinary programming, get away from multi-disciplinary teams. The term multi-disciplinary translated means many disciplines.