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Preparing for College with Giftedness, ADHD, and Dyslexia

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Noreen H. Joslyn, LISW, ACSW

Q: Our 16-year-old was considered ADHD and was on Ritalin until the end of sixth grade. She has some form of dyslexia or processing problem with reading and expressing herself in writing and speaking. At 12, her assessment included a Stanford-Binet, which showed an overall IQ of 122: V=104 P=139. She had a 12.9 grade-level vocabulary score on another test, but she was certified LD in 5 areas related to reading and writing and mental computation, even though her performance on some of the tests were at an "average" level. She attended a small church school through grade 8 and has homeschooled since then. She hopes to attend college to go into architecture, but I don't see how she can do that without a great deal of one-on-one help. How can I help her attain her goal?

A: I can understand why your teen wants to be an architect, with a performance score in spatial ability of Very Superior! To help her prepare for college, you need to know exactly what "form of dyslexia or processing problem" she has. A current evaluation would be helpful. A licensed psychologist will need to complete paperwork verifying the current level of disabilities, including any ADHD, so that she will qualify for special-education assistance at college.

There are directories of colleges that offer special-education programs, or your teen can peruse a regular college directory to see what schools with an architecture major also offer special-education assistance. Being "up front" about her learning problems will help her get the services she needs to succeed. Counseling in study skills and a course (online or in person) to prepare for SAT/ACT tests would also help.

More on: Expert Advice

Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.


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