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Q: My son is in the process of taking his GED and has scored very high on the history and science sections of the test, but is very low in language arts. He reads well and understands everything, but cannot spell or write correctly. Do you have any suggestions on what he might do to prepare for the essay section of the test? He is learning disabled and couldn't read in third grade. With the help of a wonderful teacher, he now reads at college level, but no one has been able to help him with language arts. He is very smart and I hate to see his dreams fail because of this problem.
A: Since your son has a confirmed learning disability, he is eligible to take the GED exam in a modified fashion. He'll have to fill out an "Application for Special Testing," and sign a release to have certain medical information and psychological records (recent test results) sent to GED for their review and approval. Among the modifications that are available for students with learning disabilities is the use of a scribe. This means that your son could dictate his answers to someone who would write down everything he says. This would allow him to communicate the information he knows without having to worry about his poor spelling or writing abilities. If you would like more information about this special accommodation, contact www.pueblo.gsa.gov/press/nfcbs/ged.txt. Here your son will find a brochure that gives some very helpful pointers about preparing for the GED, including the written sections. There is also a very helpful fact sheet about accommodations on the GED for students with learning disabilities at www.ldanatl.org. Best of luck to your son. Have him get back to us with a success story of his own.
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Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is the founding clinical director of the Learning Lab @ Lesley University, a program that provides assessment, tutoring, and case management services for children with learning challenges. Schultz holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.