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  #1  
Old 08-12-10, 02:59 AM
jenchon jenchon is offline
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"Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

So I responded to an earlier thread asking about how quickly do you finish assigned essays with: “The quick answer: for a 5-paragraph standard expository essay = ~15-20 hours in total.”



> >
Now here is the long answer:

I love reading literature. I love writing on my own. I hate writing assigned essays for an English professor's subjective view. In high school's AP Biology and DNA Science (post-AP course) classes, I could bust out a 20-page (single spaced) lab report in about 10 hours. But that was much easier than writing a critical essay on literature for English class because lab reports have a specific structure with pretty much everything laid out for you through procedures, data, conclusion, etc.

With expository or analytical essays for literature, my mind gets filled with so many ideas to write about. I love analyzing literature and determining all the layered themes within the novels, but putting them down on paper in an organized fashion is hellish. I try to start off with a blank sheet where I jot down every idea that comes to mind. Then I try to connect all of them together using shapes or just connect each relevant idea by lines. Next, I try to write outlines for each idea (usually 10-15 pages of just OUTLINES). Then!!! I try to pick and choose which ideas I want to put in my paper which requires analyses of no more than 3 ideas. That takes me about 5 hours just choosing them.

Then comes the writing (skip the "drafting"...it's impossible for me).

It takes me 1-3 hours to complete a paragraph of 3-5 sentences. My main issue is wording my ideas and organizing them so they flow.

Then after I'm done with, say for example, 5-paragraphs, I read over it and realize nothing flows, but I had just spent over 30mins on each sentence, so I sit there staring blankly at my finished draft and have no idea how to reorganize or reword things!

----------------------

Now that I am an "adult," I've come to be more responsible with trying to take control of my ADD/ADHD symptoms and procrastinate less (especially when it comes to writing). I start my assignments the day of receiving them, and work on them almost every day until the due date, yet I always end up turning them in late and dissatisfied with the work. It makes me feel completely hopeless at succeeding at a university writing course because even though I'm not lazy or procrastinating, I still end up looking like that in a professor's eyes.


Right now for summer semester 2010, I have just failed a required English writing class for my undergraduate degree because I could not get my drafts and final drafts in on time. I kept in touch with the professor about my efforts and my frustrations with my disability (ADD/ADHD + Anxiety) and she would not hear of it! She replied with "Every student has their problems, why do you expect to be treated special? If you have disabilities, go to the disability office! I can't help you!"

It really hurt to read her email, and it made me give up in the course. I wasn't asking for freebies, and I was getting 90-100% on every assignment in the course that wasn't writing-related...I would think that it would be a reasonable accommodation to offer a student with documented disabilities extended time to turn in assignments or if possible, modified assignments.
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I don’t know what to do. Now I have another F on my transcript due to my disabilities, and every time it just makes me more and more hopeless in completing my degree.
> >
Do you have any suggestions? Study habits? Different approaches with professors who don’t understand? Your thoughts on “reasonable” accommodations for someone like me? Etc?
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Old 08-12-10, 03:00 AM
jenchon jenchon is offline
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

Btw, I don't know what those smiley faces appeared in my post.
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Old 08-12-10, 03:04 AM
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

Mind mapping.

Then to outline.

For lit essays I would stick to a thesis that i had clear cut evidence for. Essentially, I worked them like a lab write up.
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Old 08-12-10, 03:05 AM
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

What accomodations do you have? Did you register with the disability office?

Unless the accomodations are in writing you can't ask for any accomodation. It's BS to suggest that an accomodation is 'special treatment" it's called an access accomodation because it allows people with adhd to access their civil rights by evening the playing field so that we too can compete. Why should others have their neurology catered to and not people with disabilities?
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Old 08-12-10, 03:15 AM
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

Yes I've been registered w the disabilities office. Each semester they require LD students to fill out a sheet of accommodations, basically just marking an "X" next to a bunch of options like note-taker, ASL interpreters, reader, assistive hearing devices (the only one I mark is for extended test taking). They don't offer any other options of accommodations...neither a scribe/dictation for assignments nor extended time for turning in assignments.

So really, since essays are not time-exams, the standardized "accommodations" don't even apply to my writing course!

I'm planning to get an appointment with one of the disability counselors to ask them to communicate w my professor to at least obtain an "Incomplete" in the course instead of an "F" since my professor is unwilling to respond to any of my pleas for help. We'll see how that goes (I'm not optimistic), but I still think other accommodations that just an "Incomplete" are needed.
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Old 08-12-10, 04:58 AM
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

Jenchon, your DR should be giving you a note with specific instructions as to what your accomodation needs are.

Filling in an X marks the spot box with accomodations that aren't going to mitigate your particular disability is just plain useless. It is so important to learn as much as you can in order to self advocate. In fact, PLEASE do not delete that e-mail from your professor. As far as I'm aware her response is hostile and she SHOULD know better. Professors are given education of disabilities including the fact that we pay taxes to public institutions we've been excluded from. Suggesting that civil rights are special treatment is way way out of line.

Also, I will send you my techniques for writing a paper that may help (may not too but can't hurt)
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Old 09-19-13, 04:49 PM
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

Jenchon,

I realize that this post is very old, but you are addressing exactly the issues that my son is facing. He simply did not get the right kind of help due to many misdiagnosis and other misdirections. We had so many tutors quit because of his lack of focus, so without the right support, I helped him too much and he did not develop the skills he needs. Some types of writing he can do (slowly), but at other times it takes hours to write a few sentences and sometimes, and sometimes he cannot think of a single sentence.

His stress level is so high right now as well.

I am very curious to hear if you have made any progress with your writing and can share any advice that you may have. It seems that we need a way for him to overcome a "block", because when he can write, it is not that bad. I just ordered Dragonspeak and Inspiration 9 to give those a try as well, but he still needs to be able to think of sentences.

I hope you have found some support, and look forward to your reply.
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Old 09-20-13, 04:05 AM
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

Hi taber111, welcome
Is he a visual thinker?
Are the ideas there in his head, but has difficulty getting them out?
Do the ideas slip away before he can find words to express them?
What age is he? Ie at high school or undergrad?
Has he had a WISC done? (This helps narrow down learning/expressive/receptive/perceptive preferences and needs)
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Old 09-20-13, 07:51 AM
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

He is 20 and in college. The Wisc scores are Verbal Comprehension 118, Perceptual Resoning 113. Working Memory 102. Processing Speed 86. Full scale IQ 108. They wrote that is working memory and cumulative recall deficits are profound and impact learning and when faced with an unstructured situation he becomes too anxious and "paralyzed".

The biggest issue is anxiety and working memory, processing speed and sequencing. He says that he cannot remember a sentence long enough to write it down. At this point there is so much anxiety about writing that I am not sure he can think of a sentance. He did very poorly in some sections of the Woodcock Johnson especially anything timed. His vocabulary and reading comprehension were strengths, Long term retrieval and retrieval fluency and reading fluency were low.

He needs very specific directions and does not do well with vague requests.

When he took chemistry and found he had to write a 5 page lab report every week, he thought he could not do it, but after the first couple reports, that was no problem. But taking research and organizing it and writing a report is a problem. He can do a great outline and understand his arguements and supporting ideas, but then when he has to write a sentence it is like his mind shuts down. I have often started a sentence for him, then he can finish it and add maybe a couple more, then he is stuck again.
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Old 09-20-13, 08:12 AM
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Re: "Reasonable" Accommodations for Writing

Sorry if this is a double post, my first response did not seem to post.

Wisc scorres - Verbal comprehension 118, perceptual reasoning 113, working memory 102, processing speed 86, full scale 108.

They said - Highly reactive to environmental noises and when faced with unstructures situations, he cannot "get started" or comes to a "grinding halt"

His Woodcock Johnson tests showed very low scores in anything timed. Long term retrieval and processing speed were low. Reading fluency low, but comprehension and vocabulary high.

When taking chemistry he had to write a 5 page lab report every week. He panicked at the start of the term, but after two reports he found that to be okay and got a B-.
But when writing term papers, he can come up with a nice outline and list the supporting arguements verbally, but then when faced with actually starting a sentence, his mind seems to go blank. Oddly enough he had trouble writing thank you notes for graduation.

Last week he had to do a powerpoint. He spent an hour and a half witing the first two screens with just the title as one page. Then after dinner we went back and wrote the remaining 8 in 40 minutes. He said he had a moment of clarity and he could suddenly work. The power point in not paragraphs, but the statements were very well written adult work.

That seems to be the key. It is like his mind is on or off. Had it been on enough in school, he may have made more progress, but without any output, no one really could teach him to write.
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