As our school year closes and the seniors graduate I ask the question “What’s next for them”. Having been taught to advocate for themselves, and with the majority of them being demystified, I ask if the college world will understand that students with learning disorders still require support. Fortunately the majority of the senior class members have chosen colleges and universities that have specific programs for students with learning disorders. At Forman using the AKOM language enables our students have a much clearer understanding of their own learning process. They are constantly told that it will be important to contact the college early and discuss their individual needs, seek out resources, clearly articulate their strengths and challenges. I recently spoke to the senior class about their legal rights under The American with Disabilities Act and what they can and can not expect from colleges. There are many misconceptions that students and parents have about a students rights once they graduate high school. My message to them was to understand the basic abilities of their mind (Neurodevelopmental functions) to the best of their abilities because this will be a life skill.
My role at Forman School, a private school for bright college bound learning disabled students centers on bringing two different playing fields together. A percentage of our students are funded by their local school districts. I have to deal with the districts, attorneys, advocates and parents. One issue that surfaced with regard to public schools deals with classification. I was involved in a PPT with a district who stated that the students testing, as good as it was, could not be used to classify the student, and thus allow him to be eligible for services. The student’s testing had been done at the All Kinds of Minds clinic. The language used in the All Kinds of Minds testing really is phenomenal, yet we were told that standardized testing needed to be done in order that classification could be determined. Districts are looking for numbers, especially the difference between the Verbal and Performance on the WISC IV. At Forman we speak a language that follows the AKOM language, but I have to speak the Public School language when running PPT meetings. How do we change the mind set?