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Getting In & Staying In: College Applications and Coaching for LD Students Rebecca Field, Ed. M. Rebecca Field ConsultingBayhill High School

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Presentation on theme: "Getting In & Staying In: College Applications and Coaching for LD Students Rebecca Field, Ed. M. Rebecca Field ConsultingBayhill High School"— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting In & Staying In: College Applications and Coaching for LD Students Rebecca Field, Ed. M. Rebecca Field ConsultingBayhill High School DirectorCollege Advisor

2 What is a learning difference? A learning difference is a neurological condition that interferes with a person’s ability to store, process, or produce information. They can affect one’s ability to read, write, speak, spell, compute math, reason and also affect a person’s attention, memory, coordination, social skills and emotional maturity. Common learning differences include:  Dyslexia – a language-based difference in which a person has trouble with specific language skills, particularly reading.  Dyscalculia – a mathematical difference in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts.  Dysgraphia – a writing difference in which a person finds it hard to form letters, write within a defined space and express ideas. Learning differences often run in families. Attention disorders, such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and learning differences often occur at the same time, but the two disorders are not the same. Taken from the Learning Disabilities Association of America

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4 Are you ready? Academically Academically GPA and transcript trend College Prep Curriculum  4 English  3 Math (Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry). 4 recommended  2 History/Social Science  2 Lab Science, 3 recommended  2 Foreign Language  1 Visual/Performing Art Executive Function Executive Function Ability to plan Organization Self-Regulation  Sleep  Personal Hygiene  Medication  Food  Time Management

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Can you…  Articulate your LD  Understand the laws as they pertain to you and your LD  Understand and explain your own documentation  Study on your own and manage your time  Ask for help when you need it – not too late  Understand the unstructured time of college & manage it  Bounce back when you hit a bump  Understand and accept that self-reliance is gradual  Advocate for yourself now as a high school student

6 Transition from high school to college is HUGE for all students but for LD students it can be even more overwhelming than we might guess

7 So What Can We Do?

8 1. Understand the Laws

9 IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act) Educational Statute Governs K – 12 Education. Schools receive federal funding Free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment Active parent participation in the IEP (Individual Educational Plan) Open and active communication with parents/guardians

10 K – 12 Education: Parents are VERY involved Participate in the IEP Fight for their students

11 Parents also… Motivate their students Help teachers understand students’ unique talents Ask a lot of questions

12 Things change after high school Students must self-advocate Schools need to provide equal access. They do not need to modify the program in any way Students are responsible for their records and for asking for what they need

13 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Civil Rights Law Governs post high school Students are guaranteed EQUAL ACCESS No IEPs in college. Modifications are not required Students control their records & who can access them

14 2. Find Appropriate Schools Determine appropriate level of support  Structured, coordinated, or basic Discuss location & size Focus on the student’s strengths and interests Understand the importance of self-advocacy Always have a Plan A and a Plan B

15 For students to be successful, and get what they need in college, they need to be able to talk about their learning difference– their challenges AND their strengths, i.e. they need to be able to self-advocate

16 How can we help students develop their self-advocacy skills? Address instructional needs with the student Encourage experiences and expertise outside of the classroom setting. Develop independent living skills: money, transportation, etc. Involve the student

17 Some Examples Make an appointment with the person who assessed the student and have her/him explain the testing to the student. Make sure that the student (not the parent) is talking with teachers if/when school issues arise. Encourage work/internship experience. Encourage students to develop and pursue passions. Use summers! Allow students to fail sometimes. Make sure that students have basic understanding of money, credit, etc.

18 How can we help parents? Explain WHY self-advocacy is so important Help them see the big picture and that small failures are part of a larger success Teach them about the laws so they begin to back-off now Acknowledge that LD parents often struggle with even more stress than parents of neurotypical students Remind them that there are over 3,000 colleges in this country and that if their child prepares and finds the right college match, the college experience can be life-changing

19 3. Help with the application process!

20 Get Organized! Create a file for all college materials Does your high school have a profile/questionnaire? Begin visiting Stay true to your timeline Take standardized tests and ask for recommendations Use the summer to complete personal statement Aim to be “done” by Thanksgiving

21 Get Accommodations in Place SAT/ACT accommodations by end of sophomore year Update neuropsychological testing between Junior and Senior years Remember this is the student’s process Make sure s/he understands his own learning difference Make sure s/he understands the laws

22 Decide Whether to Disclose Is always up to the student Advantages  College understands the student and her needs  Student feels in control of her information  Clear and open lines of communication Disadvantages  Thinking, “I won’t get in because of my learning difference.” Can be done in numerous ways  Personal Statement  Additional Information Section

23 4. Celebrate With An Understanding of the Realities

24 Statistics (Taken from the National Center for Education Statistics) 2000: year olds 2011: 31.1 million 18–24 year olds General Population 67% attend postsecondary programs  40% attend 4 year college  32% attend 2 year college  52% completion rate Students with Disabilities 60% attend postsecondary programs  19% attend 4-year college  44% attend 2-year college  41% completion rate

25 To Know About LD 63% of postsecondary students who were identified in high school as having LD did NOT consider themselves to have LD when they transitioned to postsecondary programs Of those who did LD identify in high school, only 28% informed postsecondary schools of their LD 88% of LD students who DID receive assistance in postsecondary programs reported the supports as “very” or “somewhat” useful 43% of postsecondary LD students who did not receive any help reported that it would have been helpful to receive assistance The Post High School Outcomes of Adults with Disabilities up to 8 Years After High School A Report from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) September 2011

26 5. Help Students Stay In Successfully

27 Important Questions to Ask What supports are available on campus? How can students access these supports? What is a College Success & Retention Coach and when is hiring one a good idea?

28 Supports on Campus Note takers Extended time on tests Testing in a quiet environment Priority Registration Reduced course load Access to assistive technology (Kurzweil, Dragon Naturally Speaking, etc.)

29 Accessing the Supports Update documentation  Completed after age of 16  Cognitive and Achievement tests Meet with DSS person  When visiting campus  After acceptance and before classes begin Dear Professor Letter  At the beginning of each semester/quarter

30 Self-Advocacy Skills Are Imperative

31 Success & Retention Coaching A bridge to independence for those students who have gotten into college, want to be successful there, and need additional personalized support.

32 How Does It Work? Individualized meetings Year long contract with the family Mutually agreed upon goals Clear understanding of need for trust between coach and student Meetings to take place on campus, in the office, via phone or Skype Clear and consistent communication with student and family

33 When You Know It’s Working!

34 Resources College Board : Parents Education Network : Association on Higher Education and Disability: Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Great Schools (Learning Disabilities & Difficulties): International Dyslexia Association: US Autism and Aspergers Association: Special Needs Directory Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome Coalition for Education Networking and Development (AASCEND): Some helpful resource books: Fiske Guide, K & W Guide to Colleges/Universities for LD Students, Cool Colleges for B Students, Colleges that Change Lives, Peterson Guides. /

35 Contact Information Rebecca Field Consulting (510)


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