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Grades 9 to 12 (High School)

Once high school comes around, it’s important that students know how to take charge of their learning disability (LD) and are able to articulate what they need in order to succeed. High school issues are tough enough—competition, planning for the future, and raging hormones, to name a few—which is why it's important that teens know how to deal with LD-related obstacles.

High Schoolers with Disabilities - Adults with Learning Disabilities

A Parent's Perspective — Tools for the High School Student with LD (audio)

about learning disabilities–students with disabilities

In this Parent Perspective, Salle, the mother of a high school student with Aphasia, discusses the LEAD (Learning and Education about Disabilities) program at her daughter Hillary's school. Salle credits the program with helping her daughter develop the crucial tools necessary to succeed: self-advocacy , self-knowledge and self esteem. In spite of dire predictions from well-meaning professionals, Hillary attended a four-year college.

A Parent's Perspective — Tools for the High School Student with LD

Assistive Technology for Students-Assistive Technology for Children Our daughter Hillary was in the fifth grade when she was originally diagnosed with a language disability. It wasn't until she was a freshman in high school that her disability was given a name: Aphasia. Hillary's Aphasia is both expressive and receptive, meaning that reading, writing, processing information and speaking are all more laborious tasks for her than for other students. At the time of the diagnosis, doctors told us that college was an unrealistic aspiration for Hillary.

A Parent's Perspective—Setting Goals and Planning for the Transition to College

Planning For College – Transition DisabilitiesMy son, Sal, is a high school senior just outside of New York City. He was first identified at the age of four as a child with a significant language disorder, and then later, as a student with a learning disability and a stuttering disorder. A large part of his current success is related to transition planning, which has helped him gain the academic, emotional and social skills necessary for attaining his goals.

A Teacher’s Voice: IEPs, Self-Advocacy and My Teenage Students

Recently a senior at our high school in the Bronx, who we’ll call Maria, realized that there will be some huge changes when she starts college. The consistent attention, specialized instruction, and accommodations she is currently guaranteed by her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will not simply be given to her. There is no streamlined system that mails her IEP to the institution of her choice—in fact, the services she qualifies for under IDEA will stop when she graduates.

Accommodations and Modifications for Teens

Accommodations for Students-Students with Disabilities

Accommodations for the Classroom

An accommodation is an adjustment that allows you to participate in school or at work in a way that matches your learning strengths. Accommodations can include, among other things, a quiet work area, extra time to complete tasks, repetition of instructions, use of a calculator, and sets of instructions specially provided either orally or in writing.

Advocating for Your School-Aged Child

Special Needs Child - Child Advocacy Your child has the right to a free and appropriate public school education. Getting involved in his or her education is among the most important things you can do as your child’s advocate. As you’ll see below, you have a right to be a part of every decision regarding your child’s education, including the process of finding out if your child needs special services. You know your child best, and your input should be considered at every opportunity.

Being Your Own Advocate

Education Advocate - What is Self Advocacy Having learning disabilities often means having special needs. As an adult it's up to you to make sure your rights are being respected and that the accommodations you need are available to you. Whether at school or at work, being an advocate for yourself means understanding your rights, understanding how you work best and working with others to ensure that your special needs are met.

Can Adult Literacy Programs Help High School Students?

Literacy programs-Literacy in High School

Can Adult Literacy Programs Help High School Students?

I haven’t seen any research one way or the other. I’m certainly positively predisposed to public libraries in general and to anything that’s organized through the local public libraries. They tend to use local people, and they tend to have high credibility. But I haven’t seen any specific research looking at that, so I can't say unequivocally, “Oh, yes, this is exactly the way to go.” But that would certainly be one of the resources, adult literacy programs.

Checklist for Evaluating a College

special-needs-stories-knowledge-puzzle-pieceWhether you’re applying to a two- or four-year college, there are many important factors to consider. Use the following checklist to help you determine which college will best meet your individual needs, keeping in mind the level of support your learning disability requires.

Checklist for Transitioning From High School to College

Checklist College - Transition From High SchoolAs you and your teen look ahead to college, make sure you’re both aware of key differences between high school and college: special education services and the laws that support and protect those with learning disabilities. There are no IEP’s in college!

Children With Reading Problems in Middle and High School

Reading Comprehension Skills-Reading Comprehension Strategies Recently, there’s been a lot of research and discussion about early intervention and teaching basic reading skills to kids before the age of nine. But what happens to kids with delayed reading skills when they enter middle and high school? Are accommodations in the classroom enough? Is it too late to teach reading? In this article, Kevin Feldman, EdD, addresses these questions.

Common Warning Signs of Dyscalculia in Children in Grades 9–12

Math Learning Disability Symptoms in TeensHas your teenager always struggled—in one way or another—with math and spatial concepts? Has math become an even greater challenge in high school? Dyscalculia refers to a range of learning disabilities involving math. Whether your teen’s math struggles have existed in some form over time or if they’ve suddenly become more prominent, you may want to review the following list of common warning signs of dyscalculia in high school students.

Common Warning Signs of Dysgraphia in Children in Grades 9–12

Dysgraphia Warning Signs - TeensHas your teenager always struggled with written expression? Is his or her written work messy, disorganized and incomplete? If the answer is “yes”, review the following list of common warning signs of dysgraphia in high school students. Dysgraphia is a learning disability (LD) that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information-processing skills.

Common Warning Signs of Dyslexia in Teens in Grades 9–12

Dyslexia Symptoms and Warning Signs in Teens

Are you concerned because your teen is struggling with academic learning in school? Have you noticed any social awkwardness or a tendency to keep a distance from peers? Does lack of motivation seem to be a problem? Do you worry about whether low self-esteem is taking the joy out of learning? These may all be signs of a not-yet-identified learning disability (LD) such as dyslexia. Dyslexia is a language-based processing disorder that can affect reading, writing, spelling, and speaking, as well as social interactions and self-esteem. Look over the following list of common warning signs of dyslexia in teens in Grades 9–12. You may find that it will help clarify your concerns.

Common Warning Signs of Dyspraxia in Children in Grades 9–12

Dyspraxia Warning Signs in TeensHas your teenager always seemed to be somewhat clumsy, struggling with fine (small) motor skills, dropping things unintentionally or bumping into people by mistake ? If so, review the following list to see if any of these common warning signs of dyspraxia look familiar. Dyspraxia is a disorder that hinders motor skill development and coordination. Many teens are awkward and clumsy at times, but a teen with dyspraxia consistently displays these characteristics and is likely to have had similar struggles during their childhood years.

Does Your Child or Teen With LD Need Therapy?

Behavioral Therapy - Learning TherapyIs your child or teen finding every excuse in the book to avoid going to school? Spending all her time alone? Having trouble eating or sleeping? Or, is something just not quite right, and you’re not sure how to deal with it?

Dr. Arlyn Roffman on Promoting Self-Awareness and Self-Acceptance in Teens

College Learning Disabilities – Transition Learning Disabilities Guiding Teens with Learning Disabilities: Navigating the Transition from High School to Adulthood is the book from former National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) Professional Advisory Board member, Arlyn Roffman. In her book, Dr. Roffman offers advice, tips, and information to help families and high school guidance and support personnel understand the extra challenges posed toward students with learning disabilities (LD) as they face the already daunting task of transitioning from high school to adulthood.

Going to a Two-Year College: Is It the Right Choice for You?

checklist-college-student-sitting-in-backgroundThere are many reasons for going to a two-year college that should be taken into consideration when deciding which direction you’d like to follow when you graduate from high school. Don’t think of a two-year college as a second-choice option or one that holds less value. Many students (both with and without learning disabilities) opt to attend a two-year community college – and benefit from the experience.

Helping Your 11th or 12th Grader with Career Preparation and “Fit”

Career Preparation - Life Skills ProgramAs the parent of an eleventh or twelfth grader with learning disabilities (LD), how confident are you about your teen’s plans for the future? Does your teen have realistic job or career goals? Has your teen found enjoyable activities that he is enthusiastic about pursuing as an adult? Has your teen held volunteer or paid part-time jobs? If so, can he see any of his jobs leading to a career that will allow him to be an independent, working adult?

Helping Your 9th or 10th Grader With Career Awareness and Exploration

Career Preparation – Learning Disabilities Jobs As your child makes her way through school, you, like most parents, worry about what life after graduation will hold. As a parent of a child with learning disabilities (LD), you have extra sources of anxiety. As high school begins, you worry about how strong your teen’s resilience skills are. What should your expectations be for your teen’s future? Should you encourage her to pursue some kind of postsecondary education, even though school has been such a struggle? What kinds of jobs or careers might play to her strengths? How do you help your teen set realistic goals?

High School Diploma Options and Students With LD (audio)

about learning disabilities–students with disabilities

In this podcast from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Candace Cortiella interviews two experts about high school diploma options and their impact on students with learning disabilities (LD). Her guests are Laura Kaloi, public policy advisor for the NCLD, and Dr. Martha Thurlow, director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes.

How Can I Get Work Experience? Volunteer and Paid Jobs for Teens

Jobs Internship Opportunities – Student Internship Jobs

    Whether you’re a junior or senior in high school or a new graduate making decisions about your future, it’s important to get some real work experience. A volunteer or paid job can help you “try out” a career field or job setting to see if it’s a good fit for you.

    How Older Kids Can Improve Their Writing Skills

    Improving Writing Skills-How to Improve Your Writing You know, it’s interesting that here in California—and my reading of studies from around the country suggests that this is relatively consistent—we find across the board, whether students are doing pretty well or not so well, that they’re usually doing better in reading than they are in writing. So we find that this is kind of a generic issue. That in general, our students, our young people are not writing as well as they should be or could be.

    How to Help Kids With Tricky Math Homework

    How to Help With Difficult Math Homework | Parent-Child Study TipsAt some point in our children’s education it happens to all of us: “Sorry, but I can’t really help you with that assignment because I don’t know how to do it myself.” For many parents, this “uh-oh moment” happens first with math—but you don’t have to panic. Just because you don’t know how to do the math doesn’t mean you can’t help your child figure it out and get a lot out of the process along the way.

    How to Pay for College: Financial Aid and Scholarships for Students With LD

    Scholarships For Disabled – Financial Aid Disabled Senior year of high school—time to relax, coast, wait for college, right? Wrong! You may have been accepted to your college of choice, but the work doesn’t end with an acceptance letter and a trip to the mall for new sheets and jeans. How will you finance your college education? Where and when do you begin the hunt for financial aid?

    Improving Teens' Reading Speed and Comprehension

    Reading Comprehension Skills-Reading Comprehension Strategies It is not done simply—like most complicated things in life. The recent report of the National Reading Panel had a whole chapter on reading fluency. And that's really what we're talking about is reading fluency and automaticity, which are directly linked to comprehension.

    Is It Too Late for My Child to Get an IEP?

    Students with LD - Too Late?It’s true that the earlier a child’s LD is identified and addressed, the greater his chances of success. However, there are many reasons why some children aren’t identified until middle school or high school. Depending on the type and severity of the specific LD and a child’s ability to compensate for it, some students don’t appear to struggle until their teen years. So don’t despair; make the most of special education services that are available while you can.

    Planning for Postsecondary Transition

    Children Special Needs – Postsecondary Education With the first half of the school year almost complete, I think it’s safe to say that everyone (parents, educators, students) is looking forward to some holiday time away from the classroom. But for students who will be finishing high school in the spring, the next few weeks are likely to be filled with paperwork and planning, meetings with guidance counselors, conversations with college admissions personnel,and hours of online research.

    Preparing for College

    How To Prepare For College – Students With DisabilitiesObtaining an advanced degree or training beyond high school is essential for individuals to be competitive in today's labor market. Whether it is college, adult and continuing education, or technical preparation, postsecondary education plays a major role in preparing people for employment and career opportunities. Students who continue their education after high school are more prepared to meet the challenges of a changing marketplace.

    Preparing for Post-Secondary Education: College Versus Vocational Training

    How Can I Get Work Experience? Volunteer and Paid Jobs for Teens When parents begin planning for their child’s transition from high school to post-secondary education, it is important to remember that the concept of post-secondary education is not synonymous with college. There are many venues where education can occur, many of which do not involve a traditional four-year university.

    Preparing for the Process

    College Learning Disabilities – Transition Learning Disabilities

    Guiding Teens with Learning Disabilities

    You and your child should prepare for the IEP meeting in advance to help you make the most of the transition planning process. Preparing your child for the IEP meeting IDEA requires that students attend their IEP meeting once transition planning begins. If they do not attend, the school must ensure that their preferences and interests are considered throughout the process.

    Recommended Reading for Teens With LD

    Teens with Learning Disabilities - BooklistBooks by, about, and for young and older teens with learning disabilities offer readers valuable stories and guidance. Check out the following books, a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, when you want to give your teen something special to read.

    SAT vs. ACT: Which Should Students With LD and ADHD Take?

    Tips SAT vs ACT - Students with LDCollege admissions is a stressful process in the best of circumstances, but for students with learning challenges or ADHD, it can be overwhelming. In a maelstrom of deadlines, recommendations, essays, and applications, standardized tests like the SAT and ACT stand out. Students tend either to give them little thought or obsess about them to the point of distraction. Neither approach is helpful! Preparation can help ease anxiety while ensuring a student is giving the test his or her best effort.

    Scholarships for Students With Learning Disabilities

    Scholarships For Disabled – Financial Aid Disabled Scholarships are “free money” given to a student for their college education—unlike loans, this money does not have to be paid back. Many private scholarships are available that grant money to students based on their particular strengths, interests, disabilities and other characteristics or qualities. Finding this money can be the hard part, but we’re here to help. The following is a list of scholarships particularly for students with learning disabilities.

    Stress in Children and Adolescents: Tips for Parents

    Stress in Children - Tips for ParentsWhat Is Stress?Everyone is affected by stress and reacts to it in different ways. Stress is a way that our body responds to the demands made upon us by the environment, our relationships and our perceptions and interpretations of those demands. We all experience both “good stress” and “bad stress.” Good stress is that optimal amount of stress that results in our feeling energized and motivated to do our best work.

    Student-Led IEP Meetings: Technology Puts Teens in the Driver’s Seat

    IEP Meeting-Idividualized Education Program For the past several years, teachers and parents have been encouraged to let high school students in special education take a more active role in their own IEP meetings. When a high school student participates in this way, he develops and hones his self-advocacy and self-determination skills—skills critical for assuming more control over the direction of his future.

    Tales of Stress and ADHD: High School

    Stress and AD/HD - High School StudentsJerome Schultz - Stress and AD/HDClinical neuropsychologist Dr. Jerome Schultz is the author of Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It and is an expert on stress, learning disabilities, and ADHD. In the following three scenarios, he takes you inside the brains of a parent of a teen, a high school student, and a high school teacher as they attempt to cope with ADHD- and stress-related challenges. At the end of each scenario, he offers his expert take on the situation and follows up with tangible (and at times out-of-the-box) tips that parents and teachers can apply.

    The SAT, ACT and Students With Learning Disabilities

    special-needs-stories-spell-stressMultiple-choice time! College admissions exams like the SAT and ACTare:

    A) A chance for high school students to show college admissions officers what they know
    B) Often an anxiety-provoking event for high school students
    C) Just one part of a comprehensive college application
    D) Sometimes a particular challenge for students with learning disabilities (LD) like dyslexia and dyscalculia
    E) All of the above

    Tips for Teens on Getting Organized

    Getting Organized-Get Organized at Home While nobody likes to be disorganized, for students with learning disabilities, disorganization can spell certain disaster. Searching for lost assignments or course handouts can take up valuable time, and it's almost impossible to study and meet deadlines when notes from different subjects are all jumbled together.

    Tips to Help Your Teen or Young Adult Manage Stress

    Stress Management in College | How to Reduce Stress in Young AdultsA survey by mtvU and The Jed Foundation found that 63 percent of college juniors had been so stressed that they couldn’t get things doneat some point during the preceding three months.

    You can help by acknowledging signs of stress in your children, understanding the causes and helping them determine the best course of action to reduce or redirect it. Fortunately, it’s possible to manage and maintain stress at relatively healthy levels. Here are some approaches to discuss with your child:

    Transition to College: Strategic Planning to Ensure Success

    Students With Disabilities - Transition To College  Transition is one of the many areas supported by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). When IDEA was last reauthorized, Congress made substantial changes to the law to increase opportunities for more students to graduate with a regular diploma and then make the successful transition to college. For students with learning disabilities (LD) who want to go to college, it is imperative that strategic planning take place as early as possible.

    Transition to School and Work


    What is Transition Planning?

    Transition planning is a process that should help ensure your child's happiness, success, and satisfaction after high school and onto further work, future education, and adulthood.

    Transitioning to College and Beyond

    Transition Disabilities - College Transition


    Authoritative research-based data on successful transition to post-secondary school and work settings for adolescents and young adults with LD. Information must apply to all post-secondary students (regardless of school location, graduation status, prior school experience, parental expectations, and socio-cultural factors), and address issues including: academic achievement, social-emotional development, work-related competencies, and family involvement.

    Understanding Strengths and Challenges for Teens

    Testing for Learning Disabilities - Children with Learning Disabilities You can’t determine a person’s strengths and weaknesses simply by looking at him or her. And you can’t fully understand your own strengths and weaknesses without making the effort to recognize exactly what they are. That’s why it’s important to follow a systematic approach to discovering your personal learning profile. A professional evaluation detailing your specific LD and your areas of strength, can be extremely useful, and a less comprehensive screening can be an important and useful first step toward success.

    Unlocking My Full Potential

    special-needs-stories-group-of-students-standing-in-hallwaySome people fear heights, other people fear snakes, but what I fear is writing essays. I find nothing more daunting than a blank sheet of paper waiting for me to divulge my thoughts and feelings that do not want to come. My head is streaming with thoughts, but my hand fights the transfer of my own ideas to the blank sheet of paper. I look at my hand and ask, “Why, why does writing have to be such an arduous ordeal? Why do you prohibit my thoughts from gushing out of my head and onto a simple sheet of paper? Why am I destined to agonize over a task that others find so effortless?” “I do not know why,” I tell myself, “but I am who I am, and I accept that.”

    Video: How Can I Prepare My Teen With LD for the Workplace?

    How Can I Prepare My Teen with LD for the Workplace?
    Parents often struggle with helping their teens with LD choose a career path. Laura Breeden, an expert in career management, shares her expertise on how parents can help their children prepare for the workplace and what skills provides keys to success.

    To read more about this important topic, visit our “Teens & Transition” page.

    Ways to Address Low Self-Esteem in Teens

    Develop Self Esteem - Self Esteem SkillsAdolescence is a trying time under the best of circumstances. For teens with learning disabilities, the daily and life-long struggles of coping with their disability-related symptoms can be wearing and dispiriting. Repeated failure, taunts from peers, and negative feedback from teachers often come at a considerable psychological cost.

    Your Teenager’s Behavior: What to Expect and When to Be Concerned

    Teens - When to Be ConcernedThe teenage years: The mere phrase can bring on anxiety for parents. The image of a moody, rebellious, angst-ridden teen is common on television and in movies. Luckily, this stereotype isn’t representative of how most teens actually think and behave. But even though the high school years aren’t always as dramatic as pop culture might promise, they can certainly be a rollercoaster as teens seek independence and grow into adulthood.