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#1 of 24 Old 07-30-2011, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a 19yo DS. He has been....::sigh::...."troubled" for most of his life. He's not a bad kid. He doesn't drink or use drugs or do terrible things....but he has been in and out of therapists offices for about half of his life. When he was little, they said he had ADD. Then they said he had ODD. Then they thought he might be bi-polar. He's never been properly diagnosed and no treatment has truly helped him. We now think we might be dealing with a personality disorder, and he has recently started with a new therapist. He is currently living at home, is jobless, and seems to be avoiding life in general.

 

ANYWAY....

 

We've been talking about trying to get him into community college or a technical school. He's extremely bright, articulate, etc. Just seems to have no motivation. Well, he kind of wants to go to school....but he has serious anxiety about writing. Writing has been a problem since he was 8-9yo. He CAN write. He's not dysgraphic or anything. He has an excellent sense of grammar and punctuation. He just gets upset and angry when made to compose something, so I never pushed it (because life seemed to make him upset and angry even without writing). So....he's 19yo and probably has the composition skills of a 7th grader.

 

He now wants to tackle this, and I have no clue where to start. He said he wants a tutor. I am pretty broke. I think if I try to teach him, it will not be pretty. Does anyone have any ideas? Is there any online resource that helps adults? Everything I find online is for kids who already have homework assignments from their school-teachers.

 

 

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#2 of 24 Old 07-30-2011, 07:50 PM
 
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Would composition go better if he dictated his thoughts rather than trying to put them directly onto paper?  He could use a tape recorder, then type.  Or there is some computer program that lets you just talk.  I don't know how much $ that is, just that it exists...

 

Maybe there is someone who would tutor him in exchange for yardwork or pet care?

 

I'm not sure 7th grade level composition is that unusual for 1st year community college or tech school students but I suspect that your ds is most likely worried about looking foolish.  Do the schools at which he is looking offer tutoring services?  Has he taken any community college classes?  Could he take one to test the waters?  I wonder if his lack of skills are a bigger deal in his head than they will be in the real situation of a class.


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#3 of 24 Old 07-30-2011, 09:09 PM
 
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Not an u'ser now, but I saw this post and wondered if your ds had ever been tested for a learning disability?  Sometimes there is a reason why kids get upset or angry about certain work, beyond just not enjoying it.  Just a thought.

 

FWIW, 7th grade composition skills are nothing to sneeze at.  I would think that he could investigate remedial language arts/writing at the community college, and perhaps take a course there.

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#4 of 24 Old 07-30-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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Where I live there are free Adult Basic Education courses (i.e. courses for adults that are at a high school level). Such programs see a very high proportion of young adults with anxiety and self-esteem issues around basic academics, and undiagnosed learning disabilities, finally hoping to start off on a new foot and get on with their educations and their lives. The teachers and academic counsellors there are often very gifted at meeting such young people right where they're at and working past whatever blocks have existed in the past. Solutions are often very individualized, much like tutoring.

 

Do US states have similar programs? If so, that would be a great place to start. 

 

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#5 of 24 Old 07-30-2011, 11:11 PM
 
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You have just exactly described my almost 19 yr old daughter.  She is a very good writer, but practically flunked all of her writing classes because it made her angry to write what other people wanted her to write.  Same with the troubled, and misdiagnosed, and I am now also thinking personality disorder ( schizoid personality disorder).  Last year was her first year of a 4 year university and she did not do well in any class with writing or even  project deadlines.  She, however, does great with history, economics and languages.  she is staying home next year and going to community college, she will be taking Chinese and a music class.

 

Can he start with something besides a writing course?  maybe if he took a class he loved  or a few, maybe he would start to be more confident or see the sense in taking a class where he might have to write papers..

 

Good luck, you're not alone, I have a harder time parenting my adult than I do my 5 yr old!

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#6 of 24 Old 07-31-2011, 01:47 AM
 
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http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Academic-Writing-Third-Longman/dp/0131933957/ref=pd_sim_b_4

How about something like this?


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#7 of 24 Old 07-31-2011, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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My son had a full, 2-day workup at Hasbro Children's Hospital when he was 7yo, which included an IQ test and screening for learning disabilities. He is not learning disabled.

 

Unruly, my son shows a lot of symptoms of schizoid and avoidant personality disorder. I have mentioned taking a couple of classes that don't involve writing, but he still has to take a writing placement test to be accepted at the local community college. That was how this whole discussion was started. He also has a phobia of making phone calls, which is another issue we're trying to tackle.

 

Zebra, thanks for the link. That particular curricula looks thorough and not too childish. I will check it out.

 

I think I will be parenting DS1 for many more years. It wouldn't surprise me if he's still living at home when he's 30.

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#8 of 24 Old 07-31-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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Yes I have to write out scripts for my DD to make phone calls.  She went out with a friend last night, it was only the second time all summer that she has been social. There are many other things happening with her, and my husband and I have begged her to go to therapy, but she refuses.  I thought about the writing placement.  Does your community offer classes outside of a college setting, more enrichment classes?

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#9 of 24 Old 07-31-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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You mentioned he has difficulty with phone calls. Does he feel more comfortable in person? If so I'm thinking his best bet would be to go to the community college and meet with someone in the advising office. I can assure you that it is not at all an uncommon situation for community college students to need remedial work in one or more subject. Depending on your area there may also be English as a Second Language learners. Nobody is going to think a thing about him needing remedial work in writing. There are some students entering community college who need remedial work in math, writing, and reading. I would reassure him that he will likely be ahead in some areas and have other areas where he needs more work, but that there is still a place for him at community college. There will be courses at his level and there will be tutoring available.

 

Best wishes and I hope the new therapist is able to provide better help than he's received up to this point.

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#10 of 24 Old 07-31-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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Your local community college should have a Disabled Student counselor. I have used their services before for other reasons, but they can be very helpful. They'll talk with your son about what his goals are, what challenges he needs to work around, and they'll suggest ways to cope and get around those challenges. For example, with me, I was dealing with severe migraines that would leave me unable to go to school or concentrate if they came on during class. I was able to get priority registration so that I got the classes I needed, I was allowed a tape recorder, I could have a designated person to share notes with, I was allowed a couple extra absences, etc. My college also has a special tutoring and homework center for students with learning challenges or ADD/ADHD. I believe those services are free. Most schools have their staff directory online, so you could contact the counselor to see what might be offered before enrolling. Most community colleges allow you to test out of English and/or math. Have him take the matriculation exam. He may not have to do a lot of writing if he tests out of required writing classes unless he wants to transfer to a four-year college.

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#11 of 24 Old 08-01-2011, 10:39 AM
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Have him go to the community college and take the placement test. If his writing skills are as low as you say, he'll be placed in a pre-college level writing class (often called something like "Developmental Writing") that will be more at his level, and will teach him the skills he needs to succeed in regular college writing classes. It's not unusual for community college students to not place at college level - that's why they give the placement tests.

The community college probably has a Writing Center, too, where he'll be able to go to get extra support for his assignments if he needs it. He may qualify for a Pell Grant, too, so it would be affordable.

 
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#12 of 24 Old 08-02-2011, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, but the issue is not that he's concerned about doing poorly on the placement test. He's concerned that he will have an anxiety attack and not be able to complete the placement test, or even really begin the writing portion of it. We need to practice and get him past the freak-out point before throwing him into a testing center.

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#13 of 24 Old 08-02-2011, 03:23 PM
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http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/accuplacer-sample-questions-for-students.pdf

There are some same questions from the accuplacer, and also some info on what the test consists of. It's adaptive, so it will get easier as he misses questions and harder as he gets them correct. There's no penalty for guessing, so he should always eliminate answers he knows are wrong and then guess.

There are also whole books you can buy to prep for the accuplacer, from Barnes and Noble or amazon or wherever (or the library). That might be overkill, ut if he's having a lot of anxiety about it then maybe not. It really is a test where it's okay to do poorly...

 
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#14 of 24 Old 08-02-2011, 03:25 PM
 
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I wonder if something distance based may be better suited?


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#15 of 24 Old 08-03-2011, 03:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Again....his anxiety is about the process of writing....not about doing poorly. He would get frustrated and panicky even if writing something that was not a test.

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#16 of 24 Old 08-03-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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How about dictation into a microphone of some sorts - followed later by writing.

 

Alternately, there is some software where you dictate and the computer writes it out for you.   Dragon speakeasy is one.  My computer is not allowing me to cut and paste eyesroll.gif but it is google-able.

 

Does he have anxiety around informal writing - like online forums/chats/games?

 

 

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#17 of 24 Old 08-03-2011, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

How about dictation into a microphone of some sorts - followed later by writing.

 

Alternately, there is some software where you dictate and the computer writes it out for you.   Dragon speakeasy is one.  My computer is not allowing me to cut and paste eyesroll.gif but it is google-able.

 

Does he have anxiety around informal writing - like online forums/chats/games?

 

 

 

No, he has no problem with that sort of writing. Thanks for the dictation info. That sort of thing had never occurred to me.
 

 

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#18 of 24 Old 08-03-2011, 05:13 PM
 
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What does he want to take at school?  Some classes are very writing light.  He can also record classes instead of making notes during class - and many professors post their notes online for those who miss them.

 

In an ideal world he is going to have to figure out if he wants to work on his writing issues or work around them.  In the beginning both may be in order so he does not become overwhelmed.

 

 Contemplating taking courses is big.  Kudos to him.

 

I took a look and there is a name for such a phobia - graphaphobia.  Maybe there will be some online resources that are helpful?

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#19 of 24 Old 08-03-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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Reading these replies it made me wonder how a blind person might take these placement tests......  I would imagine braille would be tedious, especially in this technological age.  I wonder if those services could be made available to him?

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#20 of 24 Old 08-04-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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find out what placement test they use, because usually it's a multiple choice seeing if you know grammar rules, no actual writing involved. and I would think in that case it wouldn't be a problem for him?


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#21 of 24 Old 08-06-2011, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post

find out what placement test they use, because usually it's a multiple choice seeing if you know grammar rules, no actual writing involved. and I would think in that case it wouldn't be a problem for him?



I know what placement test they use because I'm a student at the same school. It's multiple choice for math, and an essay for writing. I don't know how you can test for writing without actually having a person write....? They want to know if they can stick you in Comp 101 or if you need remedial work. Knowing grammar and punctuation is not the same thing as being able to compose.

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#22 of 24 Old 08-06-2011, 08:22 AM
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So it's not the Accuplacer? That's been used at every community college I know of, and it has both multiple choice questions and an essay for writing (as does the SAT, and most community colleges will accept that in lieu of the placement test).

Anyway, it sounds like his anxiety is the bigger problem, then? I think he could get the help he needs with his writing at a community college remedial writing class (and a class like that would probably be set up to help kids who are anxious about having to write, too), but he can't get there without taking the placement test, and his anxiety about writing prevents him from doing that. So it's a catch-22 of sorts.

Is his therapist addressing his anxieties at all? Has he ever been tried on a low-dose anti-anxiety medication like xanax? Those medications got a bad rap because of their potential for addiction, but I know a number of people who found that a low dose for a temporary time period was really useful in helping them get past stumbling blocks like this. YMMV, of course, and I'm not a doctor...

 
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#23 of 24 Old 08-06-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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Google around for SAT essay tips (even if he's not going to take it).  There are some good (free) sites that give very nuts and bolts, practical advice on how to write good essays and the steps involved.  Given that people only have about 30 minutes to write the essay, it's a nice way to have a crash course. 

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#24 of 24 Old 08-06-2011, 11:26 PM
 
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Just a thought: if he doesn't like writing under pressure or being told what to write, maybe college isn't the best fit right at the moment? If he's bright and articulate, could he consider being an apprentice at something he enjoys? Or something more focused than college general ed requirements? There is so much pressure to figure your whole life out at that age, maybe easing that and allowing some space for other options to emerge? I am in community college and love it but I can understand the anxiety surrounding it.
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