Wednesday, February 20, 2013

LD: Facing the Challenges of getting a good College Education

With high school guidance counselors, teachers, and even parents focused on college admission rather than how to succeed when they get there, students with LD remain largely uneducated about the dramatically different culture they’re about to enter.

 Even parents who graduated college themselves remain ignorant of the obstacles kids with learning disabilities encounter at the college level.

As a result, students cross the chasm between high school and college filled with misconceptions. They have no clue that their world is about to be turned on its head.

Upon entering college, students are blindsided by a totally different landscape in which the tried-and-true methods that got them through high school no longer work.

Following are the major factors that make college such a difficult proposition for students with learning disabilities:

  • Pressure from parents and/or peers: It is often expected that students enroll in college despite lack of ability, desire, readiness, or significant knowledge of their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Besides, with such a tight job market, what else is there to do? Sadly, parents learn the hard way that they can’t legislate motivation. To achieve success, motivation must come from within. In many cases, it comes with maturity.
  • Semester vs. year: Material covered in a year of high school is expected to be learned in a 15-week semester, making the college workload faster, heavier, and more difficult than that of high school. It requires more time, organization, and a greater mental commitment. In addition, because a semester proceeds so quickly, students often don’t recognize they’re in academic trouble until it’s too late.
  • Lack of an IEP: Students with disabilities in high school are covered under IDEA, the law that provides an individualized education plan (IEP) aimed at guaranteeing success. In college, IDEA vanishes and Section 504 takes over. All the support to which students have become accustomed is suddenly pulled out from under them. Now they are only guaranteed non-discrimination through accommodations (assuming they disclose); the onus for success suddenly shifts from the parent and school to the student.

This raises the issue of self-advocacy. Prior to college, parents were charged with looking after their child’s best interests.

In the span of 12 years, how many times did you contact the school, dissatisfied with services your child was receiving?

In college, this burden falls on the student who, up until now, has taken a passive role. This dramatic change is often underestimated and is a frequent cause of college failure.

Read more of this article here

No comments:

Post a Comment