Reply To: My ADD high school graduate can she survive college?

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I really feel your pain, been there except that our situation was actually worse since our school system refused to see either of my kids as eligible for an IEP even after an additional diagnosis of dyslexia. There are a few pointers for you and your child to consider.

1) It’s almost too late for her to enroll for the fall, so she’ll need some assistance in researching what’s actually available for her. This might be a silver lining situation since she should be able to enroll in your closest community college to begin with.
*Be sure to check with the office at your high school about how to order transcripts. People go on vacation, there may be a charge for them, you have to provide the address for each one ordered, and may have to have the request signed by your child. *If you’re looking at more than the local community college, try to locate a copy of Kiplinger’s college guide of schools specific for the learning disabled (sorry, can’t remember the title). It’s a great resource with detailed descriptions of the type of support available at schools across the country. Depending on where you live, there can be schools with strong LD support that aren’t prohibitively expensive.
*Check to see if the LD program triggers an additional cost. Most are offered as part of the school’s general overhead, but some are separate and can be expensive.

2) Check the dates on her most recent neuro-psych testing since most colleges ask that the data be recent, with three years being the most common cut-off threshold. You may not need to have a 100% repetition of all testing so check with the school(s) to see what they require.

3) Be sure you/all are communicating with the school’s admissions office, the financial aid office and the office that coordinates modifications and accommodations for kids with LD. The names of these offices vary a lot and sometimes you have to really search a website to make sure you’re looking at the right place.

I arranged for my daughter to meet the LD support staff whenever we made a campus visit (although we did this during her junior year) so that she was speaking directly with them. At first, she didn’t even know what to ask about since our high school only allowed her to have more time on tests and didn’t take off for spelling. After being on a few campuses however, she was able to discuss available options more confidently. In our case, she learned infinitely more about accommodations from the college level offices than she did during 12 years in our school system.

4) I’m not especially bothered by a new grad not being particularly drawn to one area of study or another. Given the estimate that kids with LD lag a bit in development and may not have experienced a lot of personal success in school, there may be reasons why they aren’t sure.

I wasn’t at all confident that either of my children would be able to handle school either, especially because they had a hard time understanding their middle school and high school coursework. One was able to negotiate her way through and one is still working on his degree, but both already exceeded my hopes for them academically. I think as parents we have to let our children try for things while still serving as the launch pad and enabler. Each child has their own constellation of issues and strengths so the necessary supports are going to vary too.

Good luck!