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The EDUFAX Educational FAQ

I have a LEARNING DISABILITY.....

Question #13:
  • My 11 year old son has been recently diagnosed as LD in reading/writing. I realize it is too early to discuss post-high school education, but can you give us any insight into the type of accommodations we can expect from colleges ? (courtesy Pamela Elliott-Tamcke, League City, TX)
Answer #13:
  • It is indeed too early to consider post-secondary accommodations. There are many colleges and even professional schools (eg: medicine, law) which offer both remedial support and accommodations, but first you must teach your child to self-advocate. By the time he enters college, the field of Learning Disabilities will be completely different from what we understand today. Daily, we are learning new things about the brain and its abilities for reorganization. If I were you, I would concentrate on helping your child develop self-esteem and a clear and positive awareness of his capabilities.
    Work closely with the testing psychologist to find out about technological assistance (voice recognition computer programs for writing, the Kurzweil Reading Machine, AlphaSmart, etc.) and track down every lead you find on the web. Sometimes parents who are a few steps ahead of you in approaching similar difficulties can be the best resources. Join a support group so that you can learn from other parents and share your own experiences.If your son is in public school, be extremely careful about his Individual Education Plan (IEP). Bring outside experts to define his strengths and weaknesses and to suggest what kinds of in-school accommodation will help him achieve.
    Remember that a learning disability has nothing to do with intelligence. A person with a learning disability has the same IQ potential as a person without one, ranging from the very bottom of the spectrum to the very top. For a student with a learning disability, the key for maximizing potential is to dwell on strengths rather than weaknesses. Make certain that you are informed of the most up-to-date research and be familiar with the acknowledged experts in the areas which particularly affect your child.
    If you are considering a private school, contact an educational consultant who can help you make the appropriate match. Children with LD often benefit from summer classes and individualized attention. Remember, your child had the confidence to stand up and learn to walk because he knew that you were there to support his efforts and assuage his failures. The process for helping a child with a learning difference is much the same. You'll need cheerleading pompoms as well as bandaids.
    A parting idea -- you might enjoy learning about the theory of multiple intelligence, originally proposed by Howard Gardner of Harvard University, Boston, USA. What the brain subtracts in one area is usually compensated for by unique gifts in another.
    Good Luck with your child and thank you for bringing this important question to EDUFAX.

    Marcia Rubinstien, Director of EDUFAX, has taken an active role in services for students with Learning Difficulties:
    • Member of the Connecticut State Advisory Council on Special Education
    • National Co-Chair of the IECA Learning Disabilities Committee
    • Editor of The Support Report, a quarterly international newsletter published by SHARE Support, Inc.: a non-profit corporation dedicated to children and adults with unique learning styles and neurobiological disabilities
    • Educational Consultant and Advocate for students with LD and their families
    Marcia's detailed resume is available on the EDUFAX site.

    EDUFAX provides services for the Learning Disabled Student.

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