Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Fly on the Wall

I know I got a little off-track (again) yesterday; it’s an important issue though, right?

Earlier this week, I called the director of the Office for Students with Disabilities because I wanted to make her aware that our son had agreed to let his dad attend the meeting, scheduled for this afternoon.

After speaking to her about the situation and the concerns that were raised, the director thought today’s meeting more appropriately should be between her and the faculty member, before including our son in the discussion. I mentioned that my son was told that there were about twelve of the twenty-two required courses that would be too difficult for him to pass. And I added that my husband and I were hard-pressed to identify three in the course catalog that had the flow chart for this major.

She (the director) felt there was a need on her part to educate the faculty member on my son’s disability, and also get further information about the course requirements that he would be expected to fulfill. I hope (and this is where the fly-on-the-wall comes in) she will be stressing the importance of reasonable accommodations. She will then meet with my son early next week for further one-on-one discussions. I don’t know if my husband will attend that meeting; right now, he is leaning toward not going, unless our son wants him there.

Potential outcomes of the meeting today:

The director might buy into the teacher’s case that the courses will be too difficult; or she will thoughtfully listen to the professor, equally thoughtfully explain the difficulties to my son, and let him make the decision himself; or she will validate the fact that my son’s learning disability should not impede his capability to pass the requirements of the major. Here is the dilemma: in the first two of the three cases, my son would leave her office next week with a new major, or with no major.

Largely because of his Nonverbal Learning Disability, my son is eager to please and therefore fairly easily influenced. Moreover, his confidence right now is about as low as it has ever been in his life. Finally, although he really loves theater and theater courses, he was wavering on his choice of concentration to begin with. When he expressed a desire to major in theater, I suggested something behind the scenes because I know he’d be great at an actual career backstage. He agreed (see the first sentence of this paragraph). Unlike communications, journalism or Internet writing (other considerations for his field of study), theater keeps him better involved with social interaction with peers – and for a young adult with a social communications problem, that ranks pretty high on the plus side when weighing the issues.

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