Grades 8-12

Learning Disabilities in High School

The availability of SPED services is highly curtailed at the High School level. Those services which do exist tend to be oriented to the more severely handicapped population and not towards LD adolescents. Very often, teens with significant delays also manifest increasing behavioral problems due to their frustration, poor self-esteem, and their need to demonstrate competency in other areas. Thus, they are far more likely to be seen as “lazy”, “unmotivated”, or even “delinquent”, and their LD’s are often ignored.

Adolescents with LD’s do not do well with traditional pull-out or inclusion services. They usually prefer to receive private tutoring and they can benefit from certain accommodations to their difficulties such as untimed tasks and tests, and reduced homework loads. Things actually get better at the college level. There are many colleges across America with specialized LD programs that are quite good.

The thing to be avoided, which is all too common in the adolescent age group, has been referred to as “developmental output failure”. This is essential a vicious cycle in which a child’s LD becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The child has not been given enough help in the early years and by the time he or she reaches high school, has become convinced that success is not possible. As a result, they indeed ARE unmotivated – due to learned frustration and expectation of failure. People around them (parents & teachers) who tend to blame it on “poor character” reinforce this. In order to break this cycle not only SPED assistance but a great deal of support, encouragement, and active efforts to help the adolescent experience success & competency are necessary.