Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > Special Education > 17-Year-Old with LD Wants to Take GED

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

17-Year-Old with LD Wants to Take GED

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D.

Q: I am 17 years old and I can't spell very well. I have been studying for my GED and I noticed that I am having other problems. I don't understand a lot of direction and it takes me a while to learn something. I also find it hard to express myself verbally. If you can, please help me.

A: Since you are studying for your GED, it is likely that you left school early for some reason. You may be one of the thousands of people who couldn't find success in school because of an undiagnosed learning disability. Your problems with comprehension (understanding the directions), the fact that it takes you longer than others to learn things, and your difficulty expressing yourself verbally all point in this direction. Of course there are other things that cause such symptoms, but you owe it to yourself to rule out learning disabilities. If you've never been tested for LD, you can refer yourself to the special education program in the neighborhood in which you live. By law, the school has to provide you with a comprehensive assessment until you turn 21. I would encourage you to take advantage of this free service. If for some reason you feel uncomfortable about this, you can seek out a private psychologist (contact the psychology association in your state (usually listed as the [name of the state] Psychological Association) and ask for the names of people who evaluate young adults with learning disabilities. You can also call the Learning Disability Association in your state and ask for a recommendation. The LDA website has a listing of some state branches. Many large hospitals also have clinics that can test you, and the service might even be covered by your health insurance policy.

If you do have a learning disability, ask the people who do the evaluation to direct you to services that can help you become a better a student (and better employee, too). If it is determined that you have a learning disability, you are eligible for services that will help put you on the path to greater success. There may be adult literacy programs in your town, or school-based services, or private clinics that can help. If it's not a learning disability, then there may be other supports available for you. Hope these ideas help. And thanks for writing. I am sure that you speak for lots of other people who may be struggling because of unrecognized learning disabilities. Get back to us with a happy ending to this story!

More on: Expert Advice

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.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks