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  #1  
Old 11-07-04, 06:18 PM
distracted23 distracted23 is offline
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Unhappy How can students help college prof's to understand/care?

Hi, I am a junior at a small college. I have had a really hard time with a couple of my prof's since I let them know I am ADHD (I was diagnosed in August). I told them at the beginning of the term (well, about a week and a half in, as I was not allowed to before then, argh), and they received the accomodations letter about 3 weeks ago. The accomodations I asked for are: extended testing time, help with notes, and the use of a tape recorder. One of my teachers has been really awesome, possibly because they have two close family members who have it. Another started out awesome and is still okay in class. A third has no idea I don't think about what ADHD is, and even after I explained it to them, seems to really only get that I can't concentrate as much. They don't seem to understand that this affects a whole lot, even in their class. They have though, allowed me to use the tape recorder in that class and have been really cool about that. The fourth is the biggest problem, which is the biggest surprise. They are my teacher, advisor, and my boss (I TA for them). I have known them since I was a first semester freshman. They do not seem to really want to allow me to tape record, etc., and only agree because "the law says I [they] have to". They have not helped me with the notetaking (like identifying someone to help me, etc.) and say that to record, I have to tell everyone I am doing it. This presents a few problems, as it is a small class and the majority of them are in the other class that I tape record in where the prof acts like it's his. This one will not do that. They say I don't have to tell people I'm ADHD, but yet I know there will be questions and there are no real suggestions given to answer their questions well. In the other class, when the prof told them he was recording the class from now on, and implying it was for him, most of the students were very resistant, some even talking about their rights and the laws about it. And that was thinking it was for the prof! What about when I do it?

I think the biggest problem I have encountered though, is the change in attitude towards me. 3 out of four of them have gradually (well, not gradually for one, the last prof I talked about, it happened very quickly) distanced themselves from me. It's like there's this wall between us. The fourth one is the worst, in that it seems like no longer am I a person, a student, but just a problem they need to rid themselves of. When talking to them about registering for classes next semester, I indicated I wanted to take one of theirs, and the response was not good. They didn't say no, but they did not seem happy at the prospect. They have also implied I should now find another job (this is the one I TA for), and a class that I wanted to take, said so last semester and this semester before I told them, and which they seemed happy about me taking then, is now all of a sudden closed to me. They said the other instructor had already had enough people, and there is an enrollment limit. My friend emailed the other instructor, interested in taking it, and they received an email indicating that it was not full, there was still room, and that was almost a week later!!! So, it seems that my prof doesn't want me taking their classes, does not want me working for them, and this has all changed since I told them about the ADHD. I do not know what to do. I have to take them since they're in my major, and I don't want to get another job.

There is also the fact that this same prof would not answer a question of mine that I asked about our research project, just telling me to read the directions. Of course, they didn't give us any, except verbal and I don't know if I wrote them down right. Then someone else in the class walks in and I was in the hallway and overheard them giving her tons of help with basically the same questions!!! So, they helped her, refused to help me!!!
If you all could help me understand what I did wrong, and what I can do to help this situation, it would be very much appreciated. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 11-07-04, 11:54 PM
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Talk to someone hire up. Go to the disability support office and express your concerns about these profs. This is exactly why i will not disclose unless absolutly nessasary.
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Old 11-08-04, 12:44 AM
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As mentioned, going to the dean of their department can do worlds of good. IMHO, most of the issues you're having with them stem from two attitudes, one of which is easy to at least dismiss, the other less so. The easier one first; many people will see AD/HD as an "out", like you're using it as an excuse to get around having to do the normal amount of work. This is the 'easier' one only because, if they learned about it, they'd realize their mistake. But it's a hard thing to get them to do. Especially with the big upsurge recently in diagnosis, there's some people who don't believe it's a 'real' illness, but it's just a psychiatric way of diagnosing "can't handle the real world" or something ridiculous. Especially when you ask for more testing time and copies of someone else's notes. This is a hard attitude to break, because they don't want to be proven wrong, then they'll have been proven wrong by a student. Which is embarassing to their professional stance. So they just won't listen. In this case, if talking to them doesn't work (and you should always talk to the prof about it first), go to the Dean and state exactly how the prof is discriminating against you based on your illness. Cause that's illegal, and the dean can't risk you going public about it if he doesn't do anything, even if he personally agrees with the prof. He'll have to act. But, in many cases, the dean's better able to deal with people.

The second, harder attitude to deal with is the one causing them to distance themselves from you. This is because, quite simply, mental illnesses and disorders carry a social stigma. People with them are seen to be not-normal, and thus something to be feared and avoided. And certainly not socialized with. Unfortunately, there's little you can do about this, either, because the more you approach the prof the more they'll back off and feel uncomfortable, and it's not illegal in any way to avoid someone. About the only thing that might work, especially in cases where they were friendly beforehand, is to send them a letter or an e-mail, detailing what you have, that it's effects are more similar to the effects of, say, depression, than a severe problem like schizophrenia, save that it won't be fixed, only treated. And that you're still the same person you were before the diagnosis, who they were friendly with. Chances are they don't even know they're backing off.

And I really don't understand the issue with recording classes. I'm writing down everything you say anyway, what does it matter if I have an audio as well as a textual copy? And if they're worried about any student having an issue, just announce that you're taping the class, or have it right out in front of you and obvious, and if anyone has an issue they can leave. Since it's an accomodation, they have as much legal right to prevent you using it as they would removing the wheelchair ramp into a classroom knowing there's a wheelchair-using student they wanted to avoid.

And nobody has to know why you get to record the classes. Just that you have a right to do so. Maybe you've got a hearing problem. There's been one person in each of my classes the last three years who's recorded classes and gotten the prof to wear a mike for that. Maybe you can't write, or you're dyslexic and can't write readable notes. There's plenty of other things, often with less stigma than AD/HD currently has, that could be the reason. You don't have to say what the reason is.
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Old 11-09-04, 08:43 AM
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from the horse's mouth

Super kind Professor that I know suggests the following:


- If the student is not is a DSS program go to the program office or the counselors office today and get in the program.

- Take advantage of the DSS program but do as much as you can keep up with the class without special treatment. Instructors usually are more receptive if a student can demonstrate the effort they have put in before they ask for help. For example, instead of just saying ďI donít get it !Ē, say, ďIíve tried it, hereís what Iíve done so far, can you help me complete this?Ē

- If you are not getting help from the instructor see if the DSS office can get a tutor for you.

- If you are getting help from the instructor donít take advantage of them. Instructorís often have a lot of work and if you become a constant visitor you will not be welcome for long. Get your answers and leave.

- Keep your spirits up! It may be more difficult for you than others. You might need to repeat a class on occasion, donít panic, many students without problems withdraw or fail and need to repeat a class. If you have a goal just focus on your goal and donít let the pitfalls stop you from achieving your goal.

also noted the following:
Taping is a touch issue. Some instructors don't care, some don't like it because they feel it's an intrusion on their privacy, some will not allow it because they feel that it is a form of stealing, like taking intellectual property. The school can not force an instructor to allow taping. At (some schools), if a DSS student can not use a tape recorder in class the DSS office will hire someone to take notes for the DSS student (usually itís someone already in the class).
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Old 11-09-04, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie
Taping is a touch issue. Some instructors don't care, some don't like it because they feel it's an intrusion on their privacy, some will not allow it because they feel that it is a form of stealing, like taking intellectual property.
I've never, and will never, understand this. The stealing aspect, I mean. How is it 'stealing' to record an audio of his speech, when you're allowed to take a shorthand dictation copy of the exact same speech? Same information, same wording, everything. I fail to see the difference.
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Old 11-09-04, 09:06 PM
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How do you tell your college profs that you are really struggling because of your ADD? I really need to tell mine. I have been sliding lately. Just can't focus on anything. Papers used to be so easy for me. Type them up the day of, get them back with an acceptable grade. Now I can't get them done. I can't get anything done. I am missing class because I don't want to go unprepared. I'm am about ready to FREAK OUT because I think I'm going to fail. I'm frantic here. My house looks like a disaster. I'd clean it but I have to leave for work in a couple minutes. I have mega tons of homework. Today I got up at 6am and went to work until 9am. Then had class all day until 7pm. Now I get to go to workAGAIN from 9pm-1am and do it tommorow all over again. Rikes!

B R E A T H E..............
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Old 11-09-04, 10:27 PM
distracted23 distracted23 is offline
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Thanks guys for the help! Well, I do have a DSS office, well, actually it's more like one person, and they've tried to help, but they can't seem to get the prof's to really understand, and I think they could do more if they had the time. There's also the little thing about the DSS person being friends with a couple of my profs, including my biggest problem one. I think that gets in the way sometimes. They don't want to push it, and neither do I, but yet, something's gotta give. It was necessary for me to disclose, because I thought if I had to go through another semester like the last, I would end up quitting. I still think that's a possibility.

As for going to the head of the dept., the "problem" one (I hate to call them that as they are really nice and smart, they just don't get it, and I think they think it's not real), IS the head of the dept, so that's not an option. I have tried to talk to them about their distancing themselves, but they don't want to talk about it. But I think a lot of it is the mental disorder part. I think it freaks them out and that scares me, I mean if they feel that way and they've known me for awhile, what about everyone else?

I don't get why the tape recording is a big deal either as we're all hearing it, well some of us are. I lost the nerve to do it today though, which made me mad and frustrated at myself. The teacher is little, well, no help at all. I have this unreasonable fear that they're just going to guess, that they'll look at me and be able to tell and that they'll judge me, as my prof's seem to have.

I do as much as I can without any "extras", and the only thing I use is tape recording one class and I get extended time on a test tomorrow. I don't know if those laws go by states, I would think they would be federal, but my DSS person says that the school can force them, according to some law, to allow me to tape record and that no teacher or student can deny me that. I'm with Alex on this one, I don't see it as stealing at all. If they allow us to take notes in which sometimes we quote word for word, I don't see that as stealing. They are offering us that information when they give it in an open classroom.

Again, thanks for all the replies guys, I really appreciate it!
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Old 11-09-04, 10:37 PM
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If the DSS office is of no help, and the head of the dept is of no help go above them. Go to the dean of the department or dean of the school. Threaten to make it public if that is what is nessasary. This is your education, and u need to do what is best for u!
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Old 11-28-04, 09:16 AM
armyrebel4 armyrebel4 is offline
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The Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires edcuactional institutions to make reasonable accomidations for students with disabilities. Go above DSS head and talk to the HR coordinator at the school, they cannot refuse to accomidate you....
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Old 11-28-04, 03:08 PM
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To give a different stance and feel free to flame me for it. Is your ADD really so bad you need to get a disability waiver and be labeled "mentally challenged/special needs" as part of your resume? I know it's harsh but if you claim disability under the law you get lumped in as mentally challenged in the same list as down's syndrome.

I mean, some people are this bad, some ADD people kids still wet the bed at 20 years old and cry in public while holding mommy's hand. But, most of us are not so bad we just can't pay attention. If you go this route who is going to hire you out of collage? Business do have to make concessions for the handicap by law, but that doesn't mean they actually do it. In the real world there will always be another applicant with better qualifications they can point at in their defense. Most likely your profs feel you are trying to use the add as a crutch. If things were so bad everyone would feel sorry for you (and for me this is the worst thing of all) I have never seen a teacher, let alone 3 out of 4, who would pick on the handicapped.

My advice, suck it up and become more efficient. Are you allowed to use laptops or PDA? If so record on those. Take your tests in the time allotted, it's easy if you have studied properly. I studied more then everyone in my class and my grades were the worst, but at least I passed on my own.
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Old 11-29-04, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andocrates
My advice, suck it up and become more efficient. Are you allowed to use laptops or PDA? If so record on those. Take your tests in the time allotted, it's easy if you have studied properly. I studied more then everyone in my class and my grades were the worst, but at least I passed on my own.
Hmm, interesting. Elsewhere you're defending ADD meds, and here, telling people not to take advantage of accomodations to level the academic playing field? I suspect some kind of ADD conflict-seeking behavior is involved here, but that has little to do with your points, anyway.

I'm not going to point-by-point address your post. Rather, I'd simply like to ask, what is wrong with someone taking full advantage of accomodations that may be available to them for ADD? Do we tell airline pilots that need glasses to "suck it up" and see more efficiently? I don't think so.

I'm in a somewhat uncommon category, myself: ADD, gifted, and learning disabled. I know what my potential is, and I'm absolutely not above taking advantage of laws that are there to help me to achieve it. If you've read any of my other posts, you would know I don't use ADD or LD as an excuse. I also don't hold my mommy's hand to cross the street or wet the bed.

I use a PDA and take meds, but neither of those are going to do a thing about my learning disability. They really only represent a partial compensation for my ADD. I wonder, what is your advice to me?
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Old 11-29-04, 02:10 AM
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My advice to you, Exeter is do whatever you want too. (Post edited by Moderator.) I was pointing out that it's a slippery slope to start claiming a disability, it soon turns into a crutch which then turns into a way of life.

(Post edited by Moderator.)

Last edited by smooch; 12-01-04 at 03:18 PM..
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Old 11-30-04, 01:17 AM
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You can tape. Period. It is a lawful accomodation for your disability. However, I would begin taping on the very first day of class. I would sit right up front, close to the prof and simply say: "I have trouble taking notes and listening at the same time so I have chosen a tape recorder as an aid for me." End of quote. Never, never, beg for an accomodation. It puts you in a one down position and you don't need to be there.

In most cases you need not disclose a disability to enjoy the advantage of a simple accomodation at your own expense (You pay for the recorder and tapes). I have an M.A. and I wish I had had the guts to use a tape recorder for math classes. Fortunately, I can hyperfocus on anything related to English Lit. Hence my major.

You should avail yourself of the DSS but do not use it to hold over your instructors' heads. This just isn't wise. To the extent you can solve your own problems, you will gain respect. If you feel that someone you are about to communicate with regarding your need for accomodations is going to refuse you, dismiss you, or dis you. Get it on tape. You are allowed to accomodate your disability. Anyone who doesn't like it can just keep his/her mouth shut.

Your part in this senario is to never get emotional, never lose your temper, and never whine. Any of these just play into the prejudices that people hold.
Do not worry about having to put anything about your disability on your resume. Do not worry about the college disclosing your information about your disability to potential employers. They know that this is against the law. And remember, there is life after college.
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Old 11-30-04, 01:22 AM
Coral Rhedd Coral Rhedd is offline
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by janesays
How do you tell your college profs that you are really struggling because of your ADD? I really need to tell mine. I have been sliding lately. Just can't focus on anything. Papers used to be so easy for me. Type them up the day of, get them back with an acceptable grade. Now I can't get them done. I can't get anything done. I am missing class because I don't want to go unprepared. I'm am about ready to FREAK OUT because I think I'm going to fail. I'm frantic here. My house looks like a disaster. I'd clean it but I have to leave for work in a couple minutes. I have mega tons of homework. Today I got up at 6am and went to work until 9am. Then had class all day until 7pm. Now I get to go to workAGAIN from 9pm-1am and do it tommorow all over again. Rikes!

B R E A T H E..............
Do not procrastinate. College writing assignments are different than high school writing assignments. They are more complex, they require more research, and they require more critical thinking skills. You need to plan your time for writing assignments in segments and see a tutor, usually the beginning of the assignment to brainstorm your approach with someone who is experienced.
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Old 11-30-04, 08:53 AM
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[Coral Rhedd] Do not worry about having to put anything about your disability on your resume.


Do not worry about the college disclosing your information about your disability to potential employers.

They know that this is against the law.

And remember, there is life after college.[/quote]


wooo hooo! Thanks Coral I KNEW, well I figured this was against the law but I am soooo happy to find out it IS!
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