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Accommodations transition from HS to college

Jennifer2Jennifer2 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
I posted this in another section recently and got NO replies. I think with the new design people are lost more easily and not reading as broadly as before. At least that is true for me! Mods, please let it stay here if possible. (?) I tried to shorten a little.

D20 has struggled with school since day 1. Around age 8 she was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD and dyslexia. She had an IEP in elementary school then converted to 504 for middle and high school. Her accommodations have been very generic, things like extra time if needed and extra clarification of assignments. On a few occasions she required modification to assignments.

D has never accepted the idea of a learning disability. She has fought with us on this since the first day we mentioned it to her. She won't talk about it EVER, with us or teachers. She has had testing 3 times with different psychologists over the years and the results are always very similar. Her last round of testing was around age 14 at her request, because she was so sure the previous testing was all wrong and wanted to prove that she didn't need accommodations. She was furious at the results (same ADHD + dyslexia) and says she will never be tested again.

She insisted on terminating her 504 because she hated the idea that teachers would get a document stating she needed anything that other students don't need and she believes in universal accommodations (give everyone enough time on tests, which most teachers actually do).

She works very, very hard in school. Pedal to the metal 100% of the time. She has an A- average but every point is hard earned. Her main compensation for her very slow reading speed is to give herself extra time and she remains baffled (but accepting) that she requires so much longer to do homework and projects compared to her friends.

With an out of date 504, she has continued to receive accommodations unofficially. In 10th and 11th grade (after 504 was gone) her GC and I spoke with her various teachers to explain her learning style. Teachers readily note that she is bright with great ideas but has trouble with output (tests and writing). I have gone behind her back a few times, emailing teachers about specific assignments.

The one nut that was too hard for her to crack was the ACT. She studied, and studied, with a tutor, and totally bombed the first try. That shook her up and she did ask for help because she realized that without extra time she could not finish the exam. We were able to get it and she did much much better on her second try.

She is interested in 4 year colleges and her list is realistic with lots of matches at least based on Naviance. We think she'll get in to some of them, but we are more worried about what will happens once she actually goes. She does not speak up about needing anything out of the ordinary, and she does not acknowledge a learning disability.

Here is where we are stumped:
1) Do we need to re-instate her official 504 before college? Is this a document she will need if she requires any extra time accommodations in college? She has refused til now, wondering how hard we should push her to reconsider.
2) Anyone dealt with a kid like this? She has so much shame and lack of insight into WHY school work is always so hard for her.
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Replies to: Accommodations transition from HS to college

  • 3kids2dogs3kids2dogs 250 replies24 threads Junior Member
    I don't have a child in college yet, but my oldest has a 504 plan in high school now and will need to transition it to accomodations in college.

    I can tell you that as I browse school websites, every single one of them goes out of their way to state that parents are no longer involved in this process. The student is the one to register; the student is the one to submit documents; the student is the one to request and obtain accommodations. I think that will be your biggest hurdle. If your daughter doesn't want them, and puts up a fight in requesting them, you can't just put them in place without her input as a safety measure.

    Also, all offices I've browsed seem to want documentation, including something on letterhead with a diagnosis, so it will likely depend upon your relationship with the providers whether they will give you a brand new diagnosis/accommodation letter that will be able to be used in place of a lapsed 504.

    If the provider will only provide details as of the time of testing/diagnosis and your daughter subsequently terminated her 504/accommodation request (and was successful enough to get into the college) without it; I think that may be a problem getting accommodations.

    Personally, I would get that 504 back in place ASAP while you still have some say so over the whole thing, so if your daughter wants accommodations in college, she can use the most recent school year accommodations in her request.
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  • mathmommathmom 32776 replies160 threads Senior Member
    If she's resistant I think it's going to be hard to get the 504 plan back. Some kids like her bomb in college, some don't. I had a kid who seemed to have weird processing issues, trouble in elementary school following oral directions and copying things off the board. I suspect some mild ADHD - inattentive type. He's very, very bright and didn't get a 504 plan till the end of fifth grade. The plan (supposedly more time on tests and access to a keyboard and sitting up front) was applied pretty inconsistently. When he got to high school he requested to give it up. We felt his reasons were legitimate, and he did quite well in high school with the exception of chemistry and Latin. He figured out what worked for him - he (unlike me!) uses his agenda religiously. He figured out how to do college and if he hadn't taken four years of Arabic he'd have had great grades. (And to be fair after a junior year in Jordan - he Arabic grades went from C's to A's.) I've been impressed with the young man he's turned into. He's a Naval Officer now.
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  • voyagermomvoyagermom 208 replies13 threads Junior Member
    My dd (hs class of 2020) also has ADHD and dyslexia and has had a 504 since towards the end of her sophomore year with one accommodation - extended time for testing. She had been diagnosed with ADHD for many years before then, we just hadn't gotten the 504 until more recently as the need for extended time was not obvious until the amount of reading required for her classes and the length of her tests became more than she could handle. We plan to continue the 504 in college. My daughter though likes having the extended time for the tests and has not been reluctant at all with her 504. But that is probably because of how hard it was for her to do well on tests as a freshman without any accommodations. Unlike for your daughter, her teachers did not give extended time to those without the 504 or IEP. So, she has really felt how her 504 has helped her.

    I would reinstate the 504 for your daughter for this school year so that you have it in place. I would also be realistic and know that there's a good chance your daughter will ignore any accommodations and ignore the 504 in college when she's on her own. But, better to have it in place in case she changes her mind. Like 3kids2dogs mentioned, pretty much all colleges follow the rule that the student is an adult and is in charge and parents stay out of the process, so it really will be up to her. Perhaps after heading off to college, if she does struggle with completing a test, she'll be more willing to want the accommodation and ask to have it put in place when she herself sees the need for it.
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  • CaMom13CaMom13 2076 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    @Jennifer2 - you don't need a 504 plan for college accommodations. In fact, there are no IEPs or 504 plans for college - the college have to provide accommodations based upon demonstrated "need" but it's up to the school what documentation is needed. I think you've already done the big step on this - according to our GC if you got testing accommodations for the ACT, that is enough for colleges to give testing accommodations for the whole 4+ years. My D has a similar profile and all we had to do was submit the ACT letter to the school when she started college. Easy-peasy, seriously.

    In terms of dealing with a kid who is resistant to getting the accommodations she needs - it's very hard. It's the kids who need the help most who are most resistant to accepting it - partly because there are kids who don't need accommodations who get them anyway to "cheat the system" and they don't want to be party to that. When my D took the SAT there was only one other kid in the room and he finished all his tests early and glared at her because she took the full time. She NEEDED that time - he obviously didn't. She laughed it off but it's infuriating. I would just let her set the level at which she'll accept accommodations and let her know you have faith in her abilities and work ethic no matter what she decides.
    edited July 2019
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8745 replies82 threads Senior Member
    When does your D turn 18? If it's before she starts college, you will need her buy in because the schools won't talk to you, even if you are footing all of the bill.

    I personally would have a frank discussion with your D about your expectations for college. It's a very costly endeavor to fail courses when an easy time accommodation would allow for success. Again, that's a conversation to have now.

    FWIW hugs to you and to your D. I wish I had a magic wand to take that shame away. She just processes information differently. There is ZERO shame in that!
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  • scubadivescubadive 1091 replies3 threads Senior Member
    My child had a plan in place due to a medical condition and really did not use it. Although for us it was useful when hospitalized as the condition was on record. We used it primarily for housing and meal plan. It does not matter if a plan is in affect in hs. Its the doctors that matter in this.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76523 replies3386 threads Senior Member
    She does not speak up about needing anything out of the ordinary, and she does not acknowledge a learning disability.

    Even if the college will provide accommodations for your daughter, It will still be up to HER to actually access them. She will need to be a good self advocate to get these accommodations actually implemented.

    If she is unwilling to advocate for herself, or access assistance herself, this is going to be a no win situation for you.

    There are no guidance counselors or 504 case managers in college who will chase your student down, or make her come for tutoring, or anything else.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23831 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Do you know another student who used the accommodations in college? Kids often don't listen to their parents and may not think they need the accommodations, but if another student could explain how they used them, I think she may listen. If a friend already in college tells her, "OMG, the disability services office was SOOO helpful. I got to register for classes first, I got to have a perfect schedule (for me), I got extra time on exams or for a lab if I needed it. It was so nice to have the help IF I needed it but I was totally in control of when I needed help. One class was so confusing and I got help taking notes."

    She doesn't have to use the services if she doesn't want to, but having them set up before the emergency is a nice security blanket.
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  • QueenXQueenX 11 replies5 threads Junior Member
    If you live in or near NYC, the CUNY schools are very disability friendly. Public colleges and community colleges usually have more services than private. #1 fact: There are no IEP/504 plans in college. Here’s how it works: after the student gets admitted to the college, u can speak with the accessibility office about accommodations and they’ll register the student with the office. However, in order to get the accommodations and services, the student has to want it and inform the professor. It’s not like K-12 where the staff make sure the student gets the services. For example, if she needs extra time, she has to get a paper from the disability office and fill it out and show it to the professor. If she doesn’t do this stuff, she won’t get the accommodations she needs.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 5445 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Pick a college and talk with them on the process so you have a better understanding. If she had time for ACT then that is great. We did have our kid retested around ACT time for extra time and proof for college but neither of my kids have used any accommodations in college. Seems like my son's delayed processing is much improved and my daughter has found strategies that just work for her. Your daughter needs to learn that people "learn" differently. She's getting "A's" by working harder then others. My daughter is like that but it's a great trait for college. College will be harder.
    Working smarter not harder is key. Have her read this, http://www.calnewport.com/books/straight-a-student/.
    It is working smarter not harder and a great chapter on procrastination. It's actually a fun, quick read and tell her to forget the title. It's a great book on time management etc for college.
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  • Jennifer2Jennifer2 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Wow, I haven't been here in a few days because the new site format is too frustrating!
    Thank you for such great replies.
    @CaMom13: I didn't know that the ACT letter would be useful in the future or that one doesn't need a 504 for college accommodations. Everyone has been telling us that if she leaves high school without it she would need brand new (expensive) psych testing for any college accommodations. I have a ton of documentation from her earlier years, which is how we got the ACT accommodations, but I don't know how long it will hold. My understanding is that this is a lifelong trait, but I don't know how the colleges think about it.
    @twoinanddone : D's boyfriend had accommodations for the ACT for ADHD. He was so matter of fact about it, did not seem ashamed, and did really well on the same exam that she bombed. I am sure that helped her conclude that extra time might benefit her too.
    To those who said she will have to advocate for herself in college without parental intervention: we know! That's why I'm so worried for her. I'm afraid she'll have to fail exams before speaking up.
    @momofsenior1 : She puts so much pressure on herself already, trying to get good grades, and about the expense of college. We are walking on eggshells when we try to discuss the learning disability angle.

    I have a lot of faith that she will figure it all out eventually. As one of her doctors said, "She won't grow out of it but she will grow into it." It's just painful to watch her make things harder than they need to be.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1984 replies27 threads Senior Member
    IMHO I don't think she will be able to get accommodations in college without a 504 or IEP. The greatest different from H.S. to college when dealing with a disability is that it is up to the student to go to the office of disabilities and work with them. They will not seek her out and make sure professors are giving her the accommodations she needs. I agree with your friends who have told you she would need new testing if she leaves high school without the appropriate documentation.

    So many college kids have accommodations. It's really quite common. I hope she will come to understand that in time. She doesn't have to be open about but just needs to "take care of business." Good luck! Her work ethic sounds amazing.
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  • PurplePlumPurplePlum 139 replies9 threads Junior Member
    The documentation a student needs to provide the disability services office of a college will vary depending on each college. Just submitting a current 504 without submitting a recent psychoeducational evaluation may not (and probably won't) be enough.

    For example, at my kid's college, copies of an IEP or a 504 alone are not acceptable documentation. We were told that prior accommodations used a prior educational setting do not necessarily justify the provision of current accommodations. We needed to provide *recent* documentation from a licensed clinical professional describing the disability, and it needed to include a diagnostic interview, a psychoeducational evaluation, clinical summary, etc. The disability office made it clear to us that they needed more than a 504. I believe that for this particular college, the documentation had to be no more than around three years old, if my memory serves me. Of course this will vary depending on the college.

    What you may want to do is take a look at the web sites of a couple of colleges your child will apply to and read what documentation each college will require. If that info is not on the web site, then you can call a sample few disability services offices and ask. It is a good idea to get an idea of what documentation you will need and how recent it must be, and also ascertain whether a current 504 or IEP is needed in addition to any other required disability documentation.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9909 replies538 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    My son had an IEP in middle school for dyslexia and dysgraphia, changed to 504 in HS, for 9-10, then unofficial 504 for the rest of high school. His last official testing was also at 14.

    My son had none of the other issues like your daughter, and fully acknowledges his weaknesses. He has almost entirely figured out how to work with what he has. He absolutely does not want to be retested for accommodations in college, which is what he would need at this point. He starts college in the fall, and he will have no accommodations.

    If you want accommodations for your D, I expect you will not a find a college that will give them to you without official recent documentation. So you are possibly talking about spending thousands for private testing. However, she doesn’t want it.

    Honestly, I’m not seeing a problem. Your child is doing well in school. College might be more challenging, but a kid who is getting A’s in high school should be able to manage decent grades in college.

    Your D should understand that no one in college cares about her LD’s, as in, she isn’t going to be judged. If she chooses not to acknowledge the LD’s, what can you do? She has proven to herself she can do the work, so let her feel what she feels.
    edited July 2019
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  • PurplePlumPurplePlum 139 replies9 threads Junior Member
    OP did say that her child was getting A's, but she also stated that her child was receiving accommodations "unofficially" in high school, and that OP was emailing her kid's teachers about her LD's without the daughter knowing. OP's daughter will not be receiving accommodations "unofficially" in college (especially extra time) and OP won't be emailing her kid's college professors behind her daughter's back (presumably). Thus, I think that one can not assume that OP's daughter will have the same academic experience in college as she has had in high school, since as OP stated, her daughter was receiving unofficial accommodations and such (though admittedly, OP did not specify what unofficial accommodations her child has been receiving--so not sure if it was extended time on tests or what).

    OP, if your daughter has been utilizing extra time on tests/projects, etc. throughout high school, it may be a real challenge for her to handle her LD issues in college without addressing them in an official capacity. If in high school she has developed work-arounds to her issues that do not specifically require policy exceptions, then I would imagine she could continue to do the same in college. However, from what you wrote, I did not get the sense that she has work-arounds for all of her LD issues.

    My kid has dyslexia and it takes her forever and a day to read anything, so I completely understand OP's concerns. I do think that OP needs to assess what kind of unofficial accommodations her child has been receiving and give thought to the fact that colleges will not give out these same accommodations unofficially (at least I can not imagine any college would do so, especially without a current 504 in place). Maybe this is a starting point for discussion with OP's daughter--to list which accommodations she has been receiving thus far, both official and unofficial, and think through whether or not the daughter will be placing herself in a very challenging situation by not pursuing these same accommodations in college.
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  • Jennifer2Jennifer2 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited July 2019
    @purpleplum explained it well. She has received "soft" accommodations-- extra time on tests and some assignments. Extra clarification/explanation for projects. A few times she has been given alternative (shorter) assignments when the reading burden was too much. She has had to ask for most of it though sometimes a teacher just notices that she needs it. Teachers at her school vary but a majority give extra time out easily if a student seems to need it. My D doesn't consider this representative of a disability because she has seen other students receive accommodations and she thinks none of them have 504's. I'm sure some do and some don't.
    Her GC has played a role too, explaining her situation to some teachers. In Massachusetts, students can terminate their 504's at age 14 and that is what she did, against both her GC's and my advice.
    The ACT was a shock for her. We've tried to get her to see how much the extra time helped her, but she just says it is a stupid test and she thinks it was a one-off.
    I know what we have to do. We have to put a 504 back in place, and give her copies of her past reports to take to college in case she needs them. I cannot emphasize how agitated she gets when this topic comes up. It means something negative to her that we cannot break through. One of the psychologists calls it "defending" against the idea that she is not intelligent.
    We've told her that lots of kids have 504's. She doesn't care. Told her that this has no correlation with intelligence. She doesn't believe us. Told her that no one thinks anything about her having accommodations, no one cares. She doesn't see it that way. I need the magic words!

    edited July 2019
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  • PurplePlumPurplePlum 139 replies9 threads Junior Member
    So OP, it's the idea of having the 504 "label" that freaks her out? The reality is that she is receiving the accommodations unofficially that a 504 would give her officially--so there's no difference other than she does not have a piece of paper that *requires* her teachers to give her the accommodations. Have you explained to her that once she goes to college, all of the unofficial accommodations go away? I would ask her what her plan is for completing her exams without extra time in college if she was unable to do so in high school.

    If she thinks that having dyslexia means somehow she's not intelligent, maybe you can have her google "dyslexia" and "twice exceptional" or "2E" kids, where she can see that there are kids who are both learning disabled, including having dyslexia, and also are intellectually gifted. Perhaps then she may start to understand that having dyslexia does not mean a person is not smart.

    Blossom is 100 percent correct when she said, "refusing to deal with the hand she's got is going to get more painful as the work gets more challenging". I am worried that college course work is going to hit your DD like a ton of bricks if she does not come to terms with her learning disability.

    I will PM you with some more information about my dyslexic DD that may help you and your daughter.
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  • Jennifer2Jennifer2 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Exactly this: "Blossom is 100 percent correct when she said, "refusing to deal with the hand she's got is going to get more painful as the work gets more challenging". I am worried that college course work is going to hit your DD like a ton of bricks if she does not come to terms with her learning disability." (Haven't figured out how to do quotes yet)

    I'm worried too, which is why I'm here. I have been waiting YEARS for her to mature enough to have a reasonable conversation. Kept thinking "next year, she'll get it." Now she's going to be a senior and we have not gotten there. She has a lot of anxiety around school and assignments and worries all the time during the school year. She meticulously plans all her studying and then freaks out when things take longer than she budgeted for. She thinks her high school is the problem (hyped up, competitive students) and that college will somehow magically be better because the Ivy-bound types will be gone to their Ivies. She does not understand that there are competitive students everywhere. I see the train wreck coming and don't know how to stop it.

    Twice I've scheduled her with a psychologist/therapist hoping to process some of these issues. She refused to go. "I DON'T NEED THAT!" Apparently therapy has a stigma in her mind too. I have absolutely no idea why.
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  • blossomblossom 10165 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Stop calling it therapy as a first step. Counselor, Adviser, "someone who can be a resource for you as you transition to college". She's not broken, so is clearly resisting the idea that there's a medical professional out there hankering to fix her.

    The anxiety troubles me. If she were cheerfully rowing her boat, that's one thing. But if HS is making her anxious trying to keep up, college might really be a mental health minefield.

    So in the interest of being helpful (or at least trying to....) have you dropped the idea that if she's interested in a Gap year to do something non-academic so she can switch gears a bit before college, you'd be open to it? I hate to hear about kids who have spent HS anxious and worried heading off to college without some time to decompress.
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