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Dyslexia, full disclosure?

names1names1 Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
edited October 2011 in Parents Forum
Hi I'm desperatly looking for advice before I send applications! My D has dyslexia. She has managed fine throughout HS without support programs so I dont necessarily need a school with a super LD deptment but her gpa is 3.3 and her sat reading/math is 1050. Those score make her seem completely average so will disclosing her dyslexia make her a more desirable candidate? I'm looking at schools like Muhlenburg, Delaware, Syracuse, Towson, and Quinnipiac. Please help!
Post edited by names1 on

Replies to: Dyslexia, full disclosure?

  • poetgrlpoetgrl Registered User Posts: 13,334 Senior Member
    Since you used no support during high school, she won't get any during college, anyway. Do you have testing to support her dyslexia? Recent testing is necessary. But, keep in mind that your daughter will have to manage the work at any university, since she never had support, without any. So....she should choose her schools accordingly.

    My own daughter, a high iq dyslexic, did disclose her dyslexia, was accepted to some of the top schools in the country, and chose an entirely different school than most would have chosen, based on her conversations with other students who were attending those schools, and where it was she believed she would be the happiest WITH her dyslexia, cuz it's not going away. ;)

    So far, so good. She's a junior, has a double major, has employment for after graduation in a chosen field and other profs encouraging her to continue on to grad school in the other field. If your child chooses the right environment, they will do well.

    Also, just as an aside, in the case of a kid with a strange and maybe unrepresentative record, I highly recommend a college counselor. This website is associated with a company which consults with students on their applications, and also there is a poster named Hanna who seems to be interested in non traditional kids. YMMV
  • umich8790umich8790 Registered User Posts: 311 Member
    My son is now a college freshman and has dyslexia. When his college counselor asked if he wanted to disclose it to colleges, he said that she should do whatever would benefit him the most. She did write about it in her Counselor letter to colleges...explaining the disparity in math/reading scores on standardized tests, some of the academic decisions that were made regarding class selection in high school, how he has dealt with it in the school setting. He did however use accommodations in high school. He applied to and was accepted at 3 top ten engineering schools.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 29,835 Senior Member
    My son had a 504 plan in middle school, but chose to drop all the accomodations in high school. He scores quite high on SAT tests so that wasn't an issue, but he did have some low grades in some subjects that require a lot of memorization. (Latin, Math, Chemistry) In the parent brag sheet I put in this statement which the GC may or may not have used: "When Mathson was in fourth grade he was tested for learning disabilities. He always seemed to be about six months behind the program in school and had difficulty that involved memorization. He also seemed to have problems processing oral instructions. His handwriting was slow and awkward. IQ tests showed him to be highly gifted in some areas and very average in others. He had a 504 plan which included extra time on tests and access to a keyboard, however the implementation was scattered, and he felt, mostly unhelpful. (Tests were often in rooms that were noisier than his own classroom for example.) Ultimately, he decided to drop the 504 accommodations when he entered high school. His chemistry and Latin grades have probably been affected by his decision to do without the extra time and his difficulties with memorizing lots of material." I think if your GC can address the issue it sounds less like whining than if it comes from the student. (Though of course many students write very good essays about overcoming difficulties.) I don't think it hurt that even though my son wasn't that strong on math tests his math teacher wrote a lovely letter about how he really understood the math (sometimes better than the A students) even though his test results didn't always reflect that understanding.

    My less long-winded answer is that it shouldn't hurt you especially since the point is that she hasn't been getting accommodations.
  • names1names1 Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    My D has testing from 3 years ago. She had accomedations for extra time on tests but thats it. I'm not sure if your children had better grades than mine. I'm sure i will pick a type of school that she can thrive. My question was really if you thought admissions looked more kindly on your kids bc of the disclosure?
  • poetgrlpoetgrl Registered User Posts: 13,334 Senior Member
    I think it used to be considered that colleges would look "less" well on kids with dyslexia. I don't know what "they" thought about my daughter's disclosure. I do know she did not want to go to a school that didn't know about her dyslexia and accept her knowing about it. She got in everywhere she applied. Make of that what you will.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    I think it's best to do full disclosure, it should not affect your applicant one way or the other (either positively or negatively), but once accepted your D may want to at least have the option of having dyslexia accomodations. College is very different from high school, with longer exams, more at stake in each exam, and often essay-based exams that dyslexic students may struggle with. I wouldn't rule out just because she had no accomodations in high school, she might want to have some in college (most common is getting extra time to finish tests, or having keyboard access, as some here have mentioned).
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 29,835 Senior Member
    The other thing you don't want to have happen is for her to be accepted someplace where they will be unaccommodating if she needs it. It may be better off not being some place where they won't be sympathetic.
  • starbrightstarbright Registered User Posts: 4,660 Senior Member
    I realize this isn't answering your question but please do consider ensuring she has current testing and is able to readily access accommodation IF it becomes necessary in college. Much better to have that set up and opt not to use it, than to lose important early months getting something on board. It is not uncommon for kids who found highschool to be relatively straightforward, to find that their LD poses new challenges if they attend a rigorous college where the sheer workload volume and speed is entirely different from highschool (a decent arts degree for example, will typically have very high volumes of reading that even those without dyslexia find a big challenge to adjust to in order to keep up).
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,522 Senior Member
    One of my kids did not have accommodations in high school, was tested between high school and college,and has already used accommodations at college. You definitely need new testing, I think: but check on that.

    We sent documentation of testing and doctors' letters to the disabilities office as soon as she was accepted, and had accommodations set up. We explicitly stated that she was coming on campus without any intention of asking for accommodations, but that we wanted them on record should they be needed. She needed them after three weeks!

    The disabilities office and dean showed nothing but gratitude for our approach, which they suggest to all anyway. They would much prefer that a family set things up in advance, than that they have to play catch up in a crisis.

    You do not have to disclose anything until your daughter is accepted. But it might help with acceptances. The guidance counselor can write about it, and/or you can write a note to include with the guidance counselor recommendation, or your daughter can write about it. But disclosure is not obligatory, during the application process.

    The main question is whether explaining that she has dyslexia will get her into a school that might otherwise not take her. I think that that information can avoid misunderstandings of character and ability, myself, but that is really up to your daughter.

    You can try to research the level of support at different schools, but in our experience, it is only through the actual experience that you can tell what the attitudes and practices are. You can get a ballpark idea, but often it even comes down to the attitudes of individual teachers.

    The way it usually works is that the student receives a letter for each professor, written by the dean's or disabilities office, stating that the student is registered and listing accommodations. One of the main reasons we have done this with two kids (one with medical issues) is to avoid misunderstandings of their character.

    There are posters on here who have kids with dyslexia at top, top schools. However, I think finding the right fit is important. Also, have you heard of Landmark College in Vermont? Kids can go there for a year, or a summer even, and learn a lot of strategies for success, apparently. They also have a 4 year program.

    One other thing: you say "I send applications" and "I am looking," which would seem to indicate less involvement on the part of your daughter. Please understand that I am pointing this out in a spirit of sympathy and solidarity. Parents of kids with special needs end up providing a lot of support, and it is hard to remember that we won't be there at college...When looking for a good fit, it helped me to remember that when my daughter asked advice about her choices. She is at a school with two academic advisors, a peer advisor, an involved dean, extensive psychological and health services on campus, and supportive teachers: for all students, actually. It was a good choice on her part.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 29,970 Senior Member
    Our kids have chronic medical conditions but did NOT have accommodations in HS. I believe both mentioned somewhere in their apps as did their HS Counselor the obstacles they overcame to get through HS and that it helped them.

    They were granted accommodations for taking SAT in that they were allowed to take it in a separate, quieter room and allowed to eat and drink beverages during testing.

    Once S was accepted by Us, I contacted each one to see how each would handle possible prolonged absences which COULD be caused by chronic medical condition. All but one of the Us assured us they would work with S & with us. We crossed off the U that said they'd "encourage"/force him to w/draw if he missed the equivalent of 2 weeks of school in a quarter.

    It turned out that neither kid has needed or used accommodations at their U, tho both have registered with the disabilities office (S just graduated in 2010 & D will be getting her degree in 2012). Both work closely with their instructors to keep up with their work and deal with issues that may arise.

    It may be useful for you & your child to have a meeting with the HS guidance counselor for advice about this issue as it applies to your child's case and apps. Good luck!
  • kindernykinderny Registered User Posts: 1,385 Senior Member
    It is not a rule if you didn't have accomodations in h.s. that you won't get them in college. While more common, a college may well agree to work with a student who did not need them in h.s. However, profs get to choose whether or not to make accomodations for an individual class. YMMV. My D did not disclose her disability (dysgraphia) or accomodations until after she was accepted.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 29,970 Senior Member
    Agree that student MAY get accommodations in college (as supported by medical documentation) that were not required OR not used in HS. It depends on what is needed by the student and what can be worked out with the college.

    For example, our D was able to get housing close to her classes in college as an accommodation; she did not require or get that in HS.
  • amtcamtc Registered User Posts: 2,863 Senior Member
    I am reading all this with great interest as my daughter is also dyslexic. Her schools have always been very accommodating so we did not officially classify her until sophomore year in high school when she needed it for the SATs and such.

    In her common app essay she mentions her dyslexia only in terms of how it did not detract from her developing her love of and ability for creative writing. Her elementary school uses the Columbia Writing Program and this was instrumental in her developing her writing ability. Again, her dyslexia is not the focus of her essay, just a point of reference.

    I think works beautifully and hope we can discuss her few needed accommodations with the schools once she is admitted.
  • latepartylateparty Registered User Posts: 316 Member
    My spouse went to university (in another country) with a friend/colleague who I have met several times over the years and who I was told has dyslexia (person didn't discuss directly with me). I don't know if it was disclosed, treated or what but I DO know this person has a Ph.D. and has been fully successful in a well-compensated, high demand engineering career in that country (which is a country where I don't imagine a whole lot of support). What I did hear is that this person had some difficulty TEACHING as part of the Ph.D. requirements - THAT specific part was tough. However, professional work has gone fine and this person has a rewarding life. Hope sharing this info, however vague, may be of some help.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,568 Senior Member
    Dyslexics can do wonderfully. Many are above average IQ like my son and others that contribute to the forums. The problem is that many read very slowly albeit with good comprehension and some have trouble getting words onto paper (my son) or words out of their mouth (not my son) even if their thought processes are zooming along. The problem generally is these darn standardized tests that have time restrictions even with time and a half they are pressure packed...or really multiple classes at the same time that have a heavy reading load and multiple papers that have to be written within strict time frames, again more pressure packed than anything.

    It really is, ultimately and in the absence of any other LDs just a point of reference and a facet of their life that many dyslexics have come to understand and know how to compensate. I know through the years my son, who was diagnosed at age 6, has fascinated some teachers who just were not familiar with dyslexia and how it can how it can "show itself." I'm guessing my son will disclose or his GC will, he's been kind of a success poster child in the system for early intervention as opposed to later intervention. I still think it's an individual (disclosing) thing and each student has to make that decision for themselves and much is dependent on which course of study they will take in college and what kind of college they will attend. My S would probably have a harder road at a college where he would have many classes with heavy reading and writing required prior to landing in the major. If he can pick and choose his schedule he's learned how to balance the classes with heavy reading.
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