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  #1  
Old 02-12-04, 01:27 AM
ifso215 ifso215 is offline
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About to cause some BIG problems here at school

I picked up my college's newspaper today to find a front page article in the features section on how students here are "coping with the challenges of ADD." It included the obligitory basic info about coaching, stimulant meds, and the services the university offers to its students with ADD.

It included comments from the vice-president of our Academic Development Center who deals directly with almost all LD/ADD students. She mentioned how the school provides various modes of assistance for students with ADD based on their individual needs - making specific mention to how the center most often arranges extended time for tests and the like. The overall tone of the article was very positive and made it sound like students with ADD here have it just GREAT.

Well, this article made me FURIOUS. I've had personal experience with the university's willingness to provide 'accomidations.'

Close to two years ago, I was diagnosed by a Neurologist and put on medication the same day. Within a week I'd made an appointment to speak to the very woman who lent her input to this article. After waiting a month for the appointment to come around, I walked in with my diagnosis and the printouts of my TOVA test with intentions of giving whatever information I needed to be accomidated with extra time on exams and flexible deadlines with written assignments (my personal worst weakness). Within five minutes I was shown the door after being told that since I'd recieved my diagnosis from a neurologist and not a rigorous ADD evaluation and suggested accomidations from a psychiatrist, my needs could not be accomidated in any way. No extended exam periods, no flexible deadlines, no coaching, no official documentation of my needs to save me from the humility of explaining it to five different professors each term, in short - NOTHING. I asked whether I needed anything like the college equivalent of a 504 individual education plan, but since it's a private university I was told it was merely "how we do things here." I was told to not even bother trying to make another appointment unless I'd gone through the whole process of a full evaluation, something easier said than done. It would have taken me well over three months to go through that process, the whole time kicking and scratching my way through school with just a bottle of Adderal to help. After that I would have had to wait at least another month for an appointment, time I just didn't have.

Needless to say, I've fought my way through school for the last two years and am on schedule to graduate only one semester late (what's another $20,000?) and I still recieve absolutely no accomidations from the administration. When necessary, I speak individually with the professors and usually work something out if I'm having trouble, but that doesn't always work unless you've got an official mandate from the administration. I might not have completely slipped through the cracks as I did through the entirety of my earlier schooling, but the only acknowledgement of my disorder has been from the medical world, not the higher education institution whose motto is "Ever to Excel."

I'm planning on writing a letter to the editor of the newspaper exposing how the services here aren't quite as 'accessable to everyone' as their article claims.

Here's my favorite (read: infuriating) quote from the whole article:

"The Academic Development Center provides accommodations to students who have ADD that are truly individual to each student based upon their specific need," said XXXXX. "Some students are fully in control of their ADD, while some students need more help."

Now I wanted to pose a question as to whether or not such a slap in the face merits a letter to the paper that would be read by the president of university, the deans, the administration, not to mention thousands of students? Maybe I'm taking this a little too personal, but I know I have the ability to write a short, eloquent letter that in the words of a friend who teaches LD, "would definitely stick it to 'em."

Do I get all fired up and start some trouble with this, or should I just take my adderal and settle down?
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Old 02-12-04, 01:42 AM
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Ohhhhh just reading this makes me furious! I want to shout, GO, KICK SOME *****, fight the good fight! Don't write a short, eloquent letter. Write a LONG, eloquent letter, and send it to every newspaper you can think of. Better yet--send it to the counselling office of every high school within a hundred miles of this so-called "university". THAT is where you will hurt a private institution; by threatening their supply of new students and money. Does the school receive any government support or special status? Send it to every related government agency you can think of too... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Now... reverse that last impulse.

Here is the "cons" of the above.

-Ticking off the university is not going to improve their attitude towards future ADD students in need.
-Ticking off the university is not going to improve their attitude towards YOU.
-Subpoint: you still have classes there, right?
-Subpoint: Universities can afford better lawyers than you can. And you do NOT want to be sued for slander and libel.

Counterpoint: If you do decide you want to raise a little hell... DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. You want dated, signed bits of paper from everybody everywhere. If there is any way you can get the university's position on this ON PAPER, you have a major weapon against them if the you know what hits the fan.
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Old 02-12-04, 01:45 AM
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I'm facing this very same battle for my son and daughter in grade school. If anything your post has shown me there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I cannot tell you what is right for you; but, everytime the school tried to F my kid's over I"m in there asking, talking, begging, pleading and screaming if I have too. I wish you the very best and if it's any consolation at all I think what you have accomplished on your own is amazing.
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Old 02-12-04, 04:13 AM
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Thanks NF.

I don't want to deal with any more red tape to tell you the truth, and I'm sick of reading through endless pages of government documents trying to figure out what my rights are, So I was never even considering being that kind of a pain in the neck for them.

This is a matter of principle for me.

I can deal with the fact that I'm a minority and can't expect the system to bend to my liking. I can deal with the fact that there's always going to be red tape to dissuade me. What I can't deal with is the parading around of the University's history of educating and nurturing the sons of poor Boston families so that their potential was not lost. So here's me, one of those sons who made my way here by virtue of highschool teachers' testimonies of flashes of brilliance and enormous potential despite a somewhat blemished journey along the way, and after a month of waiting, making phonecalls, and researching, I'm given five minutes and then sent on my way.

That's what bothers me, the whole banner-waving show proclaiming their values right before I'm shuffled out the door.

Prior to that meeting when the adderal was still working great I'd managed to write a research paper that my professor urged me to publish, yet in the process it consumed nearly all the waking hours of three weeks of my life, nearly causing me to miss thanksgiving dinner with my family before I e-mailed it in a week and a half late. Think that proof of an individual 'challenge' would have possibly persuaded someone to set the rulebook aside for just a few minutes and give me some unofficial 'accomodations' until I'd gone through the ridiculous motions of getting all they supposedly required? Especially with all that emphasis on realizing your potential?

Nope, they didn't even blink.

That's why I'm angry, the subtle things.

That's why I just want to write a short, polite letter with equally subtle undertones of how angry I really am, so maybe when somebody reads it they'll think to themselves, "Wow, if somebody's got something to say that intends to take away from reputation of the special needs administration, they probably gave him a pretty good reason to be ticked off."

True, WC, I've gotta get the facts straight in this scrambled ADD brain of mine, but I don't think it will be very difficult at all to get something published that is tactful, truthful, unoffensive, and at the same time just agitating enough.

That's if I can get it in before next issue's deadline.
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Old 02-12-04, 07:53 AM
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I'm praying that you do. Like I have said before the educating I do with our own school and board may not benefit my children; but, later down the line it will hopefully benefit someone else's children. I would like to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel somewere.
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Old 02-13-04, 03:37 AM
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So here's the letter I'm submitting to the paper tomorrow. I've gotta shave about 10-20 words off it by 5 PM, but I think it'll do.



To the Editor:

I was pleased to see last weekís article about students with Attention Deficit Disorder and the services available to them through the Academic Development Center on the front page of the features section. Unfortunately, when I read the article I knew that by no fault of The Heights it was a slap in the face to me and every other student that the ADC didnít help.

Iím diagnosed ADD and have medication to treat the symptoms, but I still struggle in most of my classes. I went to the ADC looking for help in the form of coaching, extended time on exams, and help with structuring my course load, but I was denied these and all other services they offer to students with ADD. In short, a diagnosis and difficulties with the challenges of college werenít enough to make me eligible.

Although I was on the verge of failing out and needed help immediately, I was told that I didnít have access to their services unless I went through the arduous process of receiving a full, traditional ADD evaluation along with an official record of what educational accommodations a psychiatrist believed I needed. This process would have taken me no less than three months and would have resulted in two things from the psychiatrist: the same diagnosis Iíd received from a neurologist a few months earlier, and their name and signature on a list of educational accommodations I believed I needed. This list was what the ADC was especially looking for, and they already had it from me Ė minus the expensive stationary from the psychiatristís office.

After two months without help from the ADC with my work in the meantime I realized that the process they wanted me to undergo would take much longer than three months, time I didnít have to waste. I remember the exact moment I gave up, it was in the middle of an argument over the phone with the insurance company. They couldnít seem to understand why I needed a referral so that I could be diagnosed with ADD a second time. Neither did I, so that was the last phone call I made.

A year and a half after being diagnosed with ADD, Iím still kicking and scratching my way through college without help from the ADC. When necessary I speak to my professors individually and they usually sympathize with my cause, luckily. Iíve also received help from the Learning to Learn program as well as the A&S deans. Itís really unfortunate though that the first line of defense for a student with ADD at Boston College is the ADC, and the help they provide doesnít depend necessarily on what your specific needs are, but instead on the stationary those specific needs are recorded on.
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Old 02-13-04, 08:25 AM
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I think your letter is not only well worded; but, it does not point out a specific person to enrage. Good luck I wish you the best with your results. And let us know what happens.
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Old 02-13-04, 09:31 AM
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Does your school have an ombudsman? A lot of schools do - to help deal with the type of red tape you have experienced. They are there to be unbiased and help fight the "system" in a way that won't p###-off the administration. You might want to look into it.
Good luck
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Old 02-13-04, 10:37 AM
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ifso,

well done!!!

i found a link to the article you read in your college paper. since registration is free, i signed up quick so that i can read the article. i am looking forward to seeing your response in print!

don't be surprised if they further edit your letter. editors sometimes need to fit it into a finite amount of space.
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Old 02-13-04, 10:39 AM
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Wheezie you are the most thoughtful person.
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Old 02-13-04, 10:53 AM
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ty futs - your comment brought a tear to me eye (but then again, i am a *certified* sap!) funny how i *want* people to think well of me, but, am usually surprised when they do.... (obviously not funny ha ha, - but anyway...)

ooooppps, off topic! carry on with your high praise for ifso!
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Old 02-13-04, 11:19 AM
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Wheezie you deserve the compliment your posts are alway's have alway's been thoughtful and supportive. But, I to am like you; I find it extremely easy to tell someone how much I appreciate them and their company but, find it impossible to believe when they reciprocate the gesture.

As for you ifso if you don't take a stand for yourself no one else will. This may get uncomfortable and you may lose your temper again. Before acting out I advise you to come vent here first not only will we support you; but, you may get some advice on were to go from there. And I pray you make the road travelled a little less bumpy for the next guy. Keep up the good work and know I'm behind you 100%.
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Old 02-13-04, 05:25 PM
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ifso - which paper are you sending it to (other than the school paper)? i want to make sure i get a copy - seeing as how i live about 40 miles from Boston....

would be interesting to send the whole shebang (the article and the letter) to a local paper (globe or herald).
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Old 02-13-04, 06:29 PM
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Nah, I just want it to go to the school paper, it'll get around to everyone involved that way. I just sent the final version of the letter in to the editors, and I made some minor changes that pointed out that this has happened to several people I know as well.

I'm interested to see if our radically right-winged paper says anything about the original article or my letter down the line (they love picking on the other paper). When this paper picks up a topic and the two publications begin going back and forth, that's when things usually start getting interesting.
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