Self-Advocacy Beyond the Classroom
On the last day of the Adventures in Summer Learning program, students wrote about what they learned this summer. Many essays focused on not being afraid to raise your hand if you need help or have a question. The students wrote about no longer feeling embarrassed if they had a question, or worrying what a classmate might think. Sometimes it is not clear to students how that insight applies outside of school. The following is an instance when a former Springer student had an “aha” moment.
An alumni parent sent a note about her Springer graduate’s experience at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The student, who has dyslexia, was taking the written exam, the initial step in obtaining a driver’s license. The exam can be administered in an alternate format, allowing the examinee to use headphones and listen to the question and the possible answers, and then indicate his selection on the computer. After an hour, our friend failed the exam. He and his mother were, understandably, upset – apparently the headphones had not been working!!!
The student was aggravated about not passing the exam, but also at himself for not bringing the headphone/audio problem to the attention of the staff in the office. The student went back the next day, this time checked that the headphones and audio worked correctly, and passed the test in 10 minutes.
This experience was a huge lesson for the Springer graduate. Going forward, using the skills and strategies he has learned will be critical for success, not just in school, but in any endeavor. Also important, however, was talking this experience through with an adult who listened without blaming or lecturing.
Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues.