Please forgive the delay in posting this week – we have been having a few technical issues.
Today I would like to introduce my guest speaker, my mother, Fern Royce, who is writing from the perspective of a parent sending an LD child to college.
Selene was our last child to leave for college. You would think after seeing 4 other kids leave home and make their way through and out of college, we would have this “college” thing down by now. But, as parents of multiple children know, every kid is different and LD students come with an extra set of “differences.”
Often a parent of an LD student has been fighting and advocating for many years before she ever gets to college. The big difference about college is you are no longer your child’s advocate; she is her own advocate and you are her “advisor.” You have to “listen” more than “do.” The best advice another parent ever gave me was the suggestion that when my child came to me with an issue, I needed to ask her: “Listen or fix?” In college, you do even more listening and she must do the fixing.
Selene’s choice of DePaul passed our website and multiple campus visits test.
(Red flag #1- if you can’t find the SDS office online, chances are pretty high that the school will not be able or willing to support your student. Campus visits and interviews with SDS office staff is essential, including questions about services and technology. Red flag #2 – be wary if your student knows more about assistive technology than the director of Student Services. Red flag #3 – ignorant or uninformed comments from the director of SDS’s such as “I’m surprised that students with really low reading ability are able to do college work….” Three Red Flags and you’re out!)
However, DePaul failed the “real” life test. Services we were assured at visits and interviews were available and in place were nonexistent or subpar. Staff that we expected would support her, disappeared. However, Selene was determined to be independent and all we could do was support and honor that determination. It was scary, exhausting and frustrating to be so far away and unable to be that back up advocate (or Mama Bear) that I had been for her from Kindergarten through high school.
You can never know “for sure” that your child has made the correct college choice. You won’t know until she is actually there. But know that making a “wrong” choice is not a loss. Selene found her voice and determination from that experience. She left DePaul knowing that she not only could do college but she could do it even better – and be happier – in the right college environment.
As a parent, I learned that she could and would fight her own battles.
I learned that sometimes she might just need to call and cry but that she would be okay. Somewhere in my heart of hearts I knew that she could do college, just as I knew she could and would learn to read. I am no longer Mama Bear. I am her cheerleader, urging her on.
f ( formerly known as Mama Bear)