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Learning Disabled and Gifted
Q: My 17-year-old son is entering his senior year in high school. He is my "alphabet kid" -- his IQ is in the above-average range, he is LD in language, and G&T (gifted and talented) in math. He processes very slowly, making reading a real effort for him, as well as frustrating. I believe he would do well in a career of engineering. He has great problem-solving skills and also communicates well with people. His GPA is 2.8 and his SAT scores were below 1,000. Our school counselor is not pushing him to go to college and he doesn't think he has what it takes. Where else can I go to get him help? Is it too late? And why don't school counselors tell students that your junior year is extremely important? I just don't think I should let my son believe that nothing he does will make a difference.
A: Many colleges work with students with learning disabilities and there are many examples of people who have excelled with learning disabilities at the college level, in their career, and their lives. You are wise to see the potential in your son beyond the labels currently being placed on him. If he is open to it, you might want to seek some life coaching for him to build his self-esteem and help him to see his gifts; you can try resources like www.lifebound.com. Whether your son goes to college or not, he needs to value himself and live up to his potential as a human being. This belief in self is the basis for every other positive step in life. Good for you for seeing his potential and refusing to let him give up on his talents.
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Carol Carter is the author of many books on college and career planning. She is the cofounder of Lifeskills, Inc., a nonprofit organization that encourages high-school students to explore their goals, career options, and the real world through part-time work and internships. She also gives workshops around the country on career exploration and other issues directly related to helping students succeed in college, career, and life.