View Full Version : Foreign language and ADHD and 504 plans

11-01-13, 06:01 PM
Have any of you successfully gotten your ADHD/504 student exempted from a foreign language requirement in college?

We met with someone last night who states that she has worked with students who have done that.

My son is a senior in high school who enjoys Spanish but struggles mightily with spelling it -- and is constantly battling his grade in the class. I told him not to take it this year, but he did. :( I think I have him convinced to drop it second semester.

11-02-13, 05:00 PM
Hmm. Maybe he could take one less class and an easy elective his first year in college.

11-02-13, 07:41 PM
I think waivers of foreign language classes may be easier to pull off with an IEP than with a 504 plan.

However, it may also be possible to work in accommodations to the language class that could help.

For example, maybe your son could be permitted to submit work with the rest of the class, but then have the opportunity to correct misspellings using a dictionary without otherwise changing his answers (at least, where the object of an assessment isn't primarily spelling, like when it's more about knowing the vocabulary words, or which form of a verb to use, or demonstrating that he's understood a reading or listening exercise or a video).

Another option that some kids can use is to take a sign language class as a foreign language. If your son is good with visual and motor skills, just not spelling, that might work. Of course, not many high schools offer ASL as a language, so it would probably require some kind of waiver anyway.

[EDIT: Whoops, just saw that you're looking ahead to college...

The 504 plan won't apply in college. However, that, along with whatever other documentation you have, will help the college disability services staff determine what accommodations may be appropriate for your son.

Most colleges don't allow wholesale waivers of language requirements without
a) documentation of a severe language learning disability, and
b) repeated course failure prior to the request. (nice, huh?)

However, some will permit students -- with and without disabilities -- to take courses like American Sign Language to fulfill a language requirement.

Others may allow language courses that focus more on conversation or culture than on writing, or even count some language-immersion study abroad experiences.

It definitely depends on the school, the wording of the foreign language requirement (some prescribe a narrow range of specific courses that fulfill the requirement; others allow more flexibility), and the breadth and nature of their language course offerings.

Some colleges also offer supplemental language tutoring, either for free through an academic center, or for a small fee. Your son may want to look into that.

Finally, depending again on the school, he may be able to take a language course in a smaller setting, perhaps at a community college or over the summer. Or, if money is no object, he may be able to take a Spanish course at a school that specializes in teaching students with ADHD and LDs, like Landmark, and transfer the credits. But you'd want to be sure the school accepts transferred credits before going that route.]

11-03-13, 10:40 AM
Do many colleges even require a foreign language anymore? At least in the US, most schools seem to go more for a cafeteria approach (pick three electives from column A, three from B, etc).

In Overcoming Dyslexia, the author mentions that dyslexic students are often allowed to substitute a cultural class instead of taking a language.