Friday, February 12, 2010

Too Smart for Assistance

I had corresponded with Sara about my school situation a while back, and she reminded me that I left out a bit of the evaluation. Here's her comment.
"You should post the rest of this story. The insane part is that they don't think you "need" CART or anything because your grades are so good. They don't get that you can be SMART and still STRUGGLE.

I was in the same boat, but I sadly don't have any advice since we never got anywhere with getting me CART until I was taking graduate classes..."
Which was another aspect of it. I'm pretty sure they took one look at my grades, and scoffed at the idea of giving me services. A large part of the evaluation was weighted on my grades and test scores (apparently the words "commended" and "superior" don't exactly scream "Needs help!") My grades certainly aren't/weren't bad, although they'd be better if I actually learned a thing or two in class. I might actually get some sleep with CART, instead of having to learn what I miss on my own. Maybe I wouldn't be so frustrated, maybe I could actually relax, if I'm just given equal access to material.

Full disclosure- we got our class rank for our time in high school so far. I'm told that in most places GPA and class rank are not that big of a deal. Well here, it's kind of a huge deal. After each test, people actually sit there and calculate out their GPAs. The pressure to do well and rank better than others is enormous. I'd rather be measured against my own success and improvements than that of everyone else. Anyway, I wasn't planning on looking at mine. After half of my friends ended up being ranked in the top 10 (not the top 10 percent. The top 10 people. Out of 820. That's like...insane.) I went home and looked. I'm in the top 6%, which is nothing to sneeze at. Could be better, but it's not like kid swith hearing loss are held to much of a standard at my school anyway.

I'm going to start a new post about the meeting, since this one's getting long. Keep this in mind as you read the conversation that goes on between me and the others at the meeting..


  1. I don't think people understand the enormous impact hearing loss has on the communicational and social aspects of one's life.
    There will be people who will say, "But, she is doing so well. She may have to work harder than most people, but that builds character. She will be stronger for it." Yes, but why does it have to be harder for you?

    Also on getting perfect grades and GPA, it does not matter. It is not worth stressing over. Yes, it matters to make decent grades. But, getting a C, D, or even an F is not the end of the world. In High School I made mediocre grades (there were a lot of Cs and one or two Ds and Fs). I went on to attend Emory University. In college, I failed a class and made quite a few Cs. But, I was still able to attend Columbia University and get my masters degree. As for graduating from a good college or graduate school, in terms of getting a decent job, it does not really matter. No one cares about the grades you made or where you attended school (in fact, in my line of work, it may have hurt me (a lot of jealousy and skepticism out there)). It took me a year after graduating to get a decent job teaching. I never have been rejected so many times in my life (but it was good practice-I am a pro at interviews now).
    But, I am not saying you should start slacking. Keep up the good grades, they never hurt. It just for those who struggle to make perfect grades, they should not stress too much. There is so much more to people than grades.

    Back to the CART issue, it seems as if there is budgeting issues and they will be over looking the fact that you could really use it. As long as you are making good grades and you "appear" to communicate well and get by fine, they will think that you don't need the CART.

    Let me know if there is any way I can help.


  2. Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the comment. It really does help put things into perspective. I think I've always felt like I need to prove myself, and that's probably why I work so hard. Which, while a good thing, it's certainly easy to go overboard. I have no idea where I want to go to college, but here in TX, students with hearing loss don't have to pay for their college if they also attend a public TX college. I know it's a very tempting offer for my dad, but one of the scools (the one most Texans want to go to) has a top 8% rule for guaranteed admission, and that just adds to the insanity! I have no idea if I want to go there, but I guess I feel the need to keep the option open!

    The meeting really helped me understand where these people were coming from. Not in the sense that I believe they're right, but in the twisted way the Special Ed services (at least in my district) work.

  3. I had to duke it out with a high school counselor over my son's learning disability for the same reason. He pulled my son's accommodations because my son was making honor level grades. He isn't hard of hearing. He has dylexia, and a pretty decent IQ-- meaning that with the accommodations he could perform up to his potential. The accommodations were not expensive. He was given a special 'quiet room' to study and was assigned oral instead of lengthy written reports. It's stupid this counselor wanted to pull his accommodations. Later I found out he did away with everyone's accommodations!

    But this is what I'm talking about Lam. I filed a complaint against the school with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights. Within hours, the case was resolved. My son's 504 was reinstated. He was 14 at the time, now 21.

    Because he continued to receive accommodations in high school, he was eligible for the same accommodations in college without having to prove his disability all over again. (I will add here that all of his friends with similar disabilities lost their accommodations in high school because their parents didn't fight, and none of them went to college.) My son was the only one.

    That's why it's critical you and your parents fight for this now. No matter how smart you are, this impacts your potential for success, as well as future accommodations at college.

    When you go to college, the ADA counselor looks over what you had in high school and bases his/her recommendations on that. If you get through high school with no record or history of needed accommodations it will be harder to convince a college counselor that you need them.

  4. Hi Kim,
    Part of the reason this is so frustrating is because my parents just went through the same thing with my sister (now a junior in HS) last year. Her situation was very similar to your son's. She doesn't have dyslexia, but she a problem with her eyes or something(?) where she only sees a few letters at a time when reading ,rather than an entire word. This made her reading painstakingly slow, as well as made it difficult for her to comprehend what she'd read. She also has test anxiety (a bit of a cause/effect thing, if you ask me). She was (and still is) in very difficult classes, and they used that as a reason not to give her extra time. Basically, they said "If it's so hard for you, then drop to an easier class." My parents appealed it, but nothing really ever came out of it.

    Because they refused to give accomodations in school, she couldn't get them on the ACT or SAT. Well, there was a bit of a situation that occured when she took the ACT last weekend (long story short- she got halfway through and cancelled it because she was so worried about not having enough time) that my parents are once again trying to pursue her getting extra time.

    So, we know the consequences all too well! My parents have been told that colleges are much less likely to give a hard time about CART/C-print. I'm guessing they have more of a budget?


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