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5/12/2011 9:51:17 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter -- May 2011

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter
May 2011--Tackling Tricky High School Issues Part 2
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In the last issue of our Struggling Learner email newsletter, we
discussed some of the tricky high school issues that many families
encounter related to homeschooling a teenager with special needs or
learning disabilities. In this month's newsletter, we will address
some of the challenges related to college preparation and
post-secondary goals when it comes to working with teens with special
needs. Particularly, we will look at the frequently asked questions
our Struggling Learner Department receives related to preparing for
post secondary endeavors, such as college.

Q: I am not sure college is realistic for my child, who has some
severe special needs, or that she even wants to go to college. Do you
have other post secondary suggestions?

A: My first word of encouragement is to "never say never" and don't
underestimate the power of personal motivation. As a high school
junior, I was told by my guidance counselor, "Don't bother applying to
college because you are not college material." With the support of my
mother, a great math tutor, the strength of Jesus Christ ("I can do
all things through Christ who gives me strength!"), in addition to
taking my harder math and science courses in the summer months, I was
able to get the credits and course work I needed in order to apply and
be accepted into the colleges of my choice. I also took the ACT and
SAT several times in order to get my best possible scores. I also
made sure I applied to smaller colleges that took into consideration a
personal portfolio of work, interests, volunteer work, and community
service, rather than just a score!

> Joni Eareckson Tada's ministry has a listing of colleges that
accepts students with learning disabilities. Check out their website
at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11108

> Crosswalk.com http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11109 ; Select
Christian Education directory for extensive list of Christian colleges
and universities

We encourage families who are homeschooling children with learning
disabilities (and especially those who have children who are gifted
with learning disabilities) to plan their child's high school studies
with college in mind. Do not automatically rule college out because
the student has some mild-to-severe learning challenges, such as
dyslexia. Community college is a great stepping-stone to a four-year
university or college.

However, if college is not realistic or a desire for your child, then
there are many other options to consider, such as:

> two-year, junior college (Landmark College in Vermont and Louisburg
College in North Carolina are two-year colleges for struggling
learners)
> Vocational/Technical training
> Military
> Internships and Apprenticeships
> Transition to work force
> Assisted independent living
> Conservatorship/Guardianship

Q: My child has a specific reading disability, and I am concerned he
may not be able to meet the foreign language requirement that many
colleges put forth. What do you recommend?

A: The foreign language requirement can be challenging for teens who
are struggling with learning disabilities or language processing
difficulties. But it is not impossible to meet this requirement.
Here are some things to keep in mind:

> Many universities are now accepting American Sign Language

> Some colleges will waive the foreign language requirement if the
child has a documented language-based learning disability or specific
learning disability.

> Check with colleges and university special student services
departments to find out if they will accept alternative/substitute
course work such as cultural studies class, mission/volunteer work
where language was learned/applied in the field experience.

> With the use of accommodations, slower pace of instruction,
assistive technology such as reading pens, textbooks on audio and
software packages, as well as a tutor, the student may be able to be
successful with a foreign language.

> Many colleges are accepting less frequently used languages such as
Russian and Mandarin
in order to meet the language requirement. The course should include
speaking, writing, and reading.

If you choose to use Rosetta Stone homeschool version as your foreign
language curriculum, you should supplement with a text/workbook for
grammar. One suggestion is to find out what foreign language texts
the local public schools are using (in some instances homeschoolers
may be permitted to borrow these books). Also check with your local
community colleges to see what foreign languages they offer and if
they have dual enrollment for high school students. You may also want
to find out the textbooks/curriculum they are using.

Q: My child wants to go to college, but I am unsure he will perform
to the best of his ability on the SAT or ACT because of his learning
challenges. How can I apply for special testing accommodations on the
college boards?

A: If a child has a learning disability, ADHD, or some other special
challenge that will warrant the implementation of testing
accommodations, there is an application and documentation review board
process set in place by the College Board. Documentation policy
statements for the College Board, as set forth by the Educational
Testing Service (ETS) are available at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11112 . These provide guidance to
parents, consumers and educational testing professionals about the
type of documentation required to verify accommodation requests for
test takers with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder.
On the College Board website, please go to students with disabilities
section. Look at the documentation guidelines, application process,
and forms for parents. They also have counselors available to help you
through the process. One of the requirements set forth is the student
must have current (within three years) psycho-educational battery of
tests by a licensed psychologist or certified educational
diagnostician.

The documentation and application process is fairly lengthy, so we
encourage parents to begin early. The Special Needs consultants
encourage you to not wait until the student is a freshman or sophomore
in high school to have your child's learning disability or struggles
officially diagnosed or documented. We have talked with many members
who have waited until the student was a teenager to get an official
diagnosis only to be denied testing accommodations by the College
Board.

A helpful article on navigating this process is available at Kathy
Kuhl's website, http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11110

Also keep in mind, that there are many colleges that do not use the
ACT or SAT test scores for admission decisions. Be sure to check
ahead of time to see what the colleges your child is interested in
require for homeschooled students. To view a list of over 300 schools
that do not use the ACT and SAT, visit the Fair Test website at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11111

We know that those God has called He will be faithful to equip with
every resource needed in order to finish the good work! We are so
happy to be able to come alongside you and assist you in the task of
homeschooling your struggling learner (Yes, even through high school).
We will leave you with this promise from God's Word.

2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have
abundance for every good work."

Resources:
> "Homeschooling Children with Special Needs" by Sharon Hensley
> "Guiding Teens with Learning Disabilities" by Arlyn Roffman, PhD
>" Learning Disabilities: The Ultimate Teen Guide" by Penny Hutchins
Paquette and Cheryl Gerson Tuttle
> "Peterson's Guide National Colleges with Programs for Students with
LD and ADHD"
> "K & W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities"
*(also provides a list of assisted independent living options for
young adults)
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-> What do you look like when you get out of bed?

It's hard to look our best all the time. HSLDA works to present
homeschooling in an engaging, dynamic, and informative light to
the public news media.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1104

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