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Posts about Learning Disabilities

Securing College Learning Support Accommodations [Updated]

Contributed by Paul Meschter, PA Licensed and School Certified Psychologist

Entering college is a challenging transition for all students, and one that is particularly demanding for learning support and health impaired students who have benefited from a learning support IEP of Chapter 504 service plan.

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Posted in Learning Disabilities

Protecting your Child from Bullies – Students with Disabilities

How can I keep my child safe?

It’s one of the first questions a parent asks. It’s a question a parent never stops asking. One of most significant threats to a child's safety and well-being is also the most difficult to combat: bullying. Children with disabilities are especially vulnerable.

How can a parent respond? Being informed is a good place to start.

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Posted in Learning Disabilities, News

Standardized Testing and ADD/ADHD

It’s a rare student who leaps out of bed, glances at the calendar, and shouts, “Yay! Today’s the day I get to take a standardized test!”

For most people, testing is a tough activity. It requires focus. Strong reading comprehension skills and excellent math skills can lead to successful outcomes, but they don’t necessarily make the testing experience fun.  

What is rigorous for the average student can be doubly so for a student dealing with learning disabilities such as ADD or ADHD. 

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Posted in Learning Disabilities

Standardized Testing and the Dyslexic Student

Someone once said that a standardized test best measures how well a student takes a standardized test. Though this statement is a bit oversimplified, there is a kernel of truth in it. So what is the flip side? Are there students who struggle with the SAT or ACT because of format issues alone—irrespective of content?

Absolutely, say Fernette Eide (“Dyslexia Accommodations for College Exams – PSAT, SAT, and ACT”) and Kyle Redford (“For Dyslexic Test-Takers, the New SAT Is Even Worse”). Even if the content of the test is at the student’s level, Redford raises the point that “standardized test environments in no way resemble school environment.” The testing experience itself is new, unfamiliar, and qualitatively different than anything the student’s academic background has prepared him or her for.

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Posted in Learning Disabilities

Philadelphia-Area Tutors for Students with Learning Disabilities

A+ Test Prep & Tutoring helps students get to the next level. Sometimes that means preparing a student to earn the few extra SAT points he needs to be accepted into his dream school. However, we also help students with a broad range of learning disabilities to prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a parent, you may feel stress, anxiety, and guilt about your student’s learning issues—but you’re not alone. Whether you live near our Gwynedd or Jenkintown location or prefer in-home sessions, our tutors can bring your student the specialized attention he needs to succeed. The following are some reasons that A+ Test Prep & Tutoring’s one-to-one services may be particularly beneficial to students with special learning needs.  

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Posted in philadelphia tutor, Learning Disabilities, Tutoring

Brain Myths: Debunking Common Misconceptions Affecting Education

Despite the fact that the brain and learning are closely intertwined, neuroscience and classroom teaching are not often discussed together. And while parents and teachers don’t have to be neuroscientists to educate students, knowing how the human brain really functions can help us better understand how students learn and what they are capable of.

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Posted in Learning Styles, Learning Disabilities

For Learning Support Students Who Will Be Applying to College: Three Things Every Parent Needs to Know

If your high school student has a learning support IEP or Chapter 504 plan for ADD or another health concern, continuing the accommodations that were granted to him during his elementary and secondary school years into his college years will greatly increase his chances of completing a college degree. However, many parents don’t know how to secure these accommodations in advance and, regrettably, many high schools do not inform students and their parents about it

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Posted in Learning Disabilities

Securing Learning Disabilities Support Accommodations in College

What Parents and Learning Support Students Need to Know (and What Your High School Might Not Tell You!)

Entering college is a challenging transition for all students, but it can be particularly demanding for students who have benefited from a learning support Individualized Education Program (IEP) in high school. The IEP likely includes accommodations that have helped the student acquire and retain the curriculum, as well as enhance his or her ability to demonstrate that knowledge. Students with specific learning disabilities can greatly increase their chances of success in college if they continue their accommodations at the college level. However, most parents are unaware that it is necessary to obtain an independent evaluation in order to do so.

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Posted in Learning Disabilities

How to Improve Reading and Writing Skills: Tips for Dyslexic Students by Dyslexic Students

Dyslexia is a learning disability that one in five Americans face every day, a disorder that can impede a student’s ability to proficiently read, write, and spell. There is no medication for dyslexia, but fortunately, there are plenty of dependable resources that can help people with dyslexia become good readers and writers.

In “Tips from Dyslexic Students for Dyslexic Students,” an article from the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity by Nancy Hall, dyslexic students who have worked to improve their own reading and writing skills share tips on managing time, using the right technology, and staying positive.

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Posted in Study Techniques, Learning Disabilities

Needing Extra Time to Take Tests: A Firsthand Look at Dyslexia

Allison at her graduation from Columbia University, where she earned her master's degree. Photo and caption courtesy of the Yale Center of Dyslexia and Creativity.

Needing extra time to take tests is not something to be afraid of. Take it from Allison Schwartz, a woman who refuses to let her dyslexia get in the way of her success.

In "How Extended Time on Tests Improved More than Test Scores" the young writer brilliantly accounts what it is like to grow up with dyslexia, and the struggle she had with standing out as "different" among her peers.

In fourth grade, Schwartz had a teacher that recognized her learning difference. "She observed discrepancies in how I spoke in class with how I scored on tests," Schwartz writes. Without this teacher's encouragement to seek extra time on tests, Schwartz predicts she would have lost the confidence and motivation to do well in school. "I would spiral downward in a fit of never-ending self-doubt," she says. "I would have given up on studying and neglected my schoolwork."

By high school, Schwartz admits she started to get embarrassed that she needed extra time on tests:

Although my comments were always well respected in class, I didn’t want to be labeled as one of “those people.” “Those people” were the individuals who went into special rooms to take tests because there was something very wrong with them—so wrong that they couldn’t take tests in the same room as others.

In the article published by the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, Schwartz explains that the extra time was needed to help her process the information. Without the extra time, she wouldn't be able to translate all of her knowledge on the page in front of her. She needed extra time to reread directions and numbers, ensuring she understood the question.

She also needed to reread her answers:

Making sure you wrote what you thought you wrote is huge for dyslexics. When dyslexics write they sometimes insert words that do not make any sense, but sound like a word that they want to use, or construe sentences whose grammatical structure is more similar to a Persian sentence. For those of you who do not read Persian or “dyslexic,” Persian is written in the opposite direction of English and the verb comes at the end of the sentence. Persian grammar is flexible, as is dyslexic grammar—English grammar, not so much. This is why dyslexics must always make sure they properly translate their ideas into English. With certain time constraints, this task is almost impossible for dyslexics.

Extra time doesn't solve all test-taking struggles, Schwartz says. "Trust me, extra time does not make you into a superhero where you can overcome any calculus or philosophical problem in a single leap. You either know the materials from learning them or you don’t."

Now, with her bachelor's and master's degrees from top-tier universities, Schwartz looks back at her learning career with two regrets. She wishes she had asked for extra time earlier, avoiding a hit to her GPA. She also regrets believing that her learning difference "meant that my learning and test-taking abilities were inferior. “Different” does not mean inferior," she writes.

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Posted in Learning Disabilities

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