“The College Admissions Scandal Hurts Students with Disabilities” is the title of an excellent NPR article on the recent college admissions scandal. Beth McGaw, President of the Learning Disabilities Association, said, “This hurts every individual with a learning disability”, and we agree.
For students with learning disabilities or any disability that qualifies for accommodations, the process is challenging. Starting in 2017, the College Boards made it easier for students with existing accommodations to get accommodations for the SAT. Key points for students and parents:
- Get the right accommodations ASAP
- Use them appropriately
- Make sure your school coordinator submits the right paperwork or you do
In most districts, there is a person at the school who facilitates the process, but parents must be on top the process.
If you have not obtained accommodations for your child, start the process ASAP. Some parents have told us they did not want their child labeled with ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder), so they did not pursue accommodations in middle school. Now in 11th grade, their child is anxious and the College Board rejected their request and the parents believe their request is legitimate. Given the recent College Admission Scandal. late requests will be harder to get. If you have not started the process, start the process today.
For the students with learning disabilities, dyslexia, or ADHD, this scandal may make obtaining accommodations harder, but
The College Admissions Scandal Could Help Students with Learning Disabilities
Here is a video with Mark Halpert discussing the College Admissions Scandal — the Silver Lining for Students with Learning Disabilities.
Below are seven issues facing students with learning disabilities. Most of them have nothing to do with the college admissions scandal, but they are as important as ever to address:
1- Learning Disabilities impact 15 to 20% of the population, but only 5% are identified with learning disabilities. Therefore, 10 to 15% of the population is not identified and may not get the help or accommodations they need. As professionals and parents. we should work to identify students with who learn differently (learning disabilities). The college admissions scandal is drawing attention to people’s minds. Our goal is leverage this publicity to alert parents and students to the risks and opportunities the college admissions scandal presents. If your child is struggling in school or has anxiety, consider asking for an evaluation for special education services. We provide insights and sample letters on Getting an Evaluation.
2- Students with learning disabilities do poorly on the SAT and ACT tests, even with the best accommodations. The challenge is that students with learning disabilities are often 3, 4, 5 and even more years below grade level in reading comprehension. In Secondary School, 45% of the general population are 3 to 5 years below grade level and 21% of students with disabilities are 5 or more years below grade level.
3- Schools are not teaching to student’s strengths, nor are they systematically addressing the visual processing, working memory, processing speed and related issues that impact students. Most students who are struggling in high school learn differently and may have hidden challenges.
The College Admissions Scandal could and should lead to parents being informed, empowered and proactive to help their child succeed ethically
4- The IEP Goals for students with learning disabilities rarely include getting the student back to grade level. Since reading comprehension is either the top issue or close to it, there should be a reading comprehension goal.
5- Tests like the SAT are very tricky. Students with learning disabilities need to be taught how to approach the questions, how to solve the problems and how to check their answers.
6- Anxiety and/or frustration are often present. These could and should be addressed.
7- Preparing a child with learning disabilities for independence and success in life, whether they go to college or not, is challenging, specially in today’s competitive environment. This college cheating scandal make things harder but highlights the importance of the correct support and understanding to help your child navigate the school system to achieve success.
If you have a smart struggling child, the College Admissions Scandal could help you focus on the key goals of:
- Making sure your child gets a 504 or IEP Plan ASAP with the right accommodations and services
- Getting your child the right help outside of school to help your child to be all they can be
- Find a Trusted Advisor who can help you with both goals — recognizing that the real growth often comes from finding the right
- outside help.
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