Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Step One

They say admitting you have a problem is the first step in dealing with it. Obviously a learning or physical disability is not a problem, but it is definitely something you have to deal with.

My son sent an email last night to his Stage Tech teacher, with words to this effect: I have a nonverbal learning disorder that makes it more difficult than normal to do these types of assignments. Can we meet?

This was after he went to the Internet to search for directions on how to do these particular stitches; he did find illustrations, but they were “too vague” to help him.

These two actions provide me with a good deal of insight into his odds for success in college. First, he took the initiative to try an alternative means to figure out this sewing assignment. Second, he acknowledged his learning disability. And third, he pointed out by saying "more difficult than normal" that this would "normally" be a difficulty assignment anyway!

It isn’t as though we hid the NLD from him for the past ten years; but neither did we ever really discuss the particulars of it during that time. However, last summer as he was preparing to leave, I gave him the write-up with the results of his most recent evaluation, which was really the best written of all the evaluations he has had. It was a clearly written summary of his strengths and weaknesses, the developmental history was right on target, and it ended with four strategies for success in the classroom.

At the time, he just filed it somewhere, and I still don’t know if he read it or even if he still has it. I did verbally stress the four strategies (which included extra wait time for him to formulate an answer, used of a keyboard for tests and assignments, extra time on tests and…hmm; I’ll have to get back with the last one!).

His teacher responded very thoughtfully, thanking him for the heads up, offering some meeting times to discuss it further, and reminding him of the availability of the school’s Learning Center. I assume that the latter will also be confirmed at the meeting he has next week with Disability Services.

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