The Case Of Susan Essay

1304 words - 5 pages

Susan is a freshman enrolled at your small private university. She hopes to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majoring in visual arts and maybe someday attend graduate school for a master’s in fine arts. Although Susan is an art major, she is required to take two English courses that require a great deal of writing. Susan reveals to you that she has an Auditory Processing Disorder. You learned in your EDCEP 853 College Students with Special Needs course that a person with an auditory processing disorder periodically experiences an inability to process verbal information. This learning disability (LD) can make it difficult for students to understand and organize large amounts of spoken information presented in lectures or class discussions (“Learning Disabilities,” 2012). Learning disabilities are often called “hidden disabilities" because they are not self-evident. Some students would rather not reveal their learning disability. If your suspect someone may have a “hidden disability”, you should respect their privacy and refrain from questioning them about the possible existence of a disability. It is important, when working with a student that happens to have a disability, to remember to work with the “whole” student and all of the facets that go into a fulfilling academic experience rather than simply addressing the issue of the disability (Vance & Bridges, 2009).
Like many students with invisible disabilities, such as learning disabilities, Susan is worried about how she will be perceived if she reveals her disability. Susan was academically successful in high school with the help of special instruction and accommodations such as extra time and modified lecture notes provided by her teachers. She was hoping that in college, she would be able to do it all on her own. She is beginning to wonder if she is really “college material”. Susan has convinced her parents that she can handle her situation and she is very concerned about letting herself and her parents down. Susan shares that she is reluctant to ask for help, fearing that her professors and fellow students will think that she is asking for “special” treatment and she explains that she is not really sure what kind of assistance is available to her in college. When she was in high school, she had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and everything was mapped out for her.
You can hear the frustration in Susan’s voice. Because learning disabilities are not visible to the common observer, family, teachers and peers often do not understand the challenges faced by individuals with learning disabilities. The University of Wisconsin-Madison notes in College Students with Learning Disabilities (2012), those individuals with learning disabilities often have to prove their disability is "real". Susan can organize and communicate her thoughts in a one-on-one conversation but she finds it difficult to organize and articulate her ideas in writing. Susan explains that writing was her...

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