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5 years of college, no degree, uncooperative school. Advice?
mathmustdie
#1 Print Post
Posted on June 19 2011 08:02 PM
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Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 62

Joined: 2006-10-25

Hi,

I have been feeling lost for 5 years because of my math disorder. I started off just trying to get through all the classes I needed for a Fine Arts associates degree and during that time I took one math class that was worth nothing due to it not being college level. Since I was diagnosed with having the abilities of a 4th grader in math I obviously failed the placement test for college level and so I took "Fundamental of Math" which I barely survived in. My sister had to help me with all my homework (basically she had to do my homework at times) and I tried to get tutoring but that was unsuccessful for many reasons. I almost failed the class but I managed to pass by some miracle.

I wasted 4 years at the community college, taking classes to stay insured and I was also behind for failing two required science classes (Human Genetics, and Oceonography). In the end I finally made it through Biology and Earth Science and I finished everything I needed to except for the one math class.

In 2009 I was told by my community college that I needed further testing, so I went to a neuropsychologist and got tested again and got more material to work with including a recommendation that I should be waived if possible.

I sent my diagnosis to many departments at school (math, art, dean, disability) and each department didn't know what to do/didn't want to be bothered and cluelessly sent me all over the place.

In the end I had to speak to a lady from the disabilies department who had a rude demeanor and was unhelpful to me in 2006. Meeting her again, she claimed to be all for helping people with disabilities but I soon learned that she was working against LD people. She flipped through the papers I gave her barely reading anything, got weirdly upset and hostile for my use of the word dyscalculia, quick to ask where I heard the term and trying to tell me it only meant "reading floating numbers and inverting numbers" and that my problem was that I could learn how to do math if I tried/was tutored and acted like it was not serious.

I was told I could not get math waived and that the only things I could do were:

1. Fail a college math twice and get it replaced with statistics.
2. Transfer to a university and ask them to waive the math.

First off, how can I get into a college level math if I fail the placement test? And why do I have to fail it twice? And how exactly is statistics ANY better? It's math too!

I also discovered that the University I attended could not waive math because it is not a associates program, it is a bachelors program. SO my community college is the only place that can give me my associates degree.

Currently I am 3 or 4 classes away from a bachelors degree and I can't graduate from anything. I do not know what to do at all.

Does anyone know what the next step is? I was thinking of getting recommendation letters from the various departments saying it's Ok with them that I get math waived, and give the recommendation letters to the university president or someone who is in charge. If anyone knows what to do, I will appreciate the advice.
 
justfoundout
#2 Print Post
Posted on June 19 2011 09:28 PM
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Location: Texas USA
Posts: 6295

Joined: 2008-05-25

6/19/11
Dear mathmustdie,
I'm so sorry for the lack of help, especially from the disability lady. I had one just like her. I was ecstatic that she left my local college for a distant location, and was replaced by a helpful lady who does what the job titile implies she should, and does it willingly. That first one that I had to talk to, just like yours, seemed ignorant of how dyscalculia works, despite her multiple degrees, which she made sure to tell me about. I didn't argue with her, because I could see it would accomplish nothing other than a bad mark on my record. How happy I was to go back to that office and find her 'relocated'. I so wish that this could happen for you, too.

I'll try to pick through your situation, understanding it, and thinking of what might help. What you've been given as your 'choices' are the very worst case scenarios, that still stay within the limits of the law.

I'm in Texas, while you're in Illinois, so what I've done and what you might do could be two different things. So, let me ask a few questions, just trying to see where there may be a chink in their armour. How close were you to getting an AA degree at that cc? And, does that cc have an 'articulation' agreement with your current Universtiy? You might be able to send a transcript from your Uni back to that cc, asking that they evaluate those classes to see which can be accepted at the cc. Possibly, you will come out with an AA from the cc, completing everything except for the math requirement.

If you've done the minimum required number of credits at the cc for an AA degree from that college, then you might be able to address the math substitution with the cc, and arrange to 'finish' an AA degree with them. (In my case, I took Logic to replace College Algebra, and received my AA degree from my cc. This AA degree then transferred to my Uni. I still needed the support of the Head of Disability Services to get my math credits substituted at the Uni.) Is there a law in Illinois saying that any State University should accept the transfer of all AA degree classes?

At my 4-year University, they are letting me substitute Basic Computer Literacy for the 'other' three math credits,... the ones usually satisfied by a Statistics course. The State of Texas only requires 3 math credits for a Bachelor of Arts degree. However, my college requires 6 credits of math. Do you know whether or not the State of Illinois requires more than 3 credits for a BA?

Yes, I think that a letter to the University President would be a good idea. What is your Major and your Minor? Are you doing a 'general studies' (Interdisciplinary) degree? Are you doing a BFA? Or a BA in Art? Hoping to hear back from you. - jus'
 
mathmustdie
#3 Print Post
Posted on June 19 2011 10:10 PM
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Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 62

Joined: 2006-10-25

Justfoundout,

Thanks for replying :-) I went to the community college for 4.5 years and the university recently for .5 a year. At the community college I have everything completed except the math requirement. The disability lady told me to give everything to the university to deal with. I discovered that the university I attended could not waive math because it is not a associates program, it is a bachelors program.So my community college is the only place that can give me my associates degree.I eventually want to get my bachelors degree in fine arts as well but I need the assocaites first from the community college. I am not sure about the articulation agreement but it wouldnt apply in my situation I beleive. I don't know if the community college would waive math if they recieve proof of the university waiving it but I want to find out.
 
justfoundout
#4 Print Post
Posted on June 19 2011 11:43 PM
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Location: Texas USA
Posts: 6295

Joined: 2008-05-25

6/19/11
Again, I'm telling you about Texas, but I think that that's 'better than nothing'.

A dyscalculic friend of mine was already enrolled in the nearby University, but took the Logic (under Philosophy) class at the cc, then transferred those credits to the University. In this way, she 'finished' her AA degree at the cc, and transferred that degree to the University. My friend wrote several letters appealing the refusal of the Head of Disability Services to let her substitute College Algebra with Logic, and finally 'won out'.

In your case, it will probably be necesssary for you to have an official transcript sent to your previous cc, so that they have a record of you latest credits, even though all you were missing was the math credits for your AA. I think that you should request to be allowed to take Logic to substitute your math credits at the cc. Does that cc offer the Logic course under the heading of Philosophy? See if there is a well-informed Counselor, not in the disability office, who would give you support in turning in an official request to the cc district office, asking for that substitution. If necessary, or possible, you might send along to the cc's District Office a copy of your neuropsych's testing and Report, and tell them that this documentation is 'on file' at the cc disability office.

Do you know 'who', at your cc, is the ADA liaison? ADA = Americans with Disability Act. Every cc has one person responsible for 'knowing' the ADA law. DePaul's has published this online list, giving that person's name and email address for every cc! I hope that yours is on this list, and that the list is current.

http://www.depaul...nts/cc.asp
EXCERPT:
Below is a list of the community colleges in the state of Illinois. Find the admissions representative who is the liaison with the college and view special agreements made between DePaul and community colleges. Open the partnerships link to discover how students at each college can confirm completion of the IAI/General Education Core Curriculum (GECC).
END EXCERPT.

Here's a pdf with lots of names and phone numbers for you.
http://www.iccca....ectory.pdf

List of some community college administrators and their contact information.
http://www.iccca....ficers.htm

Please let me know if there's anything else I can do for you. - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on June 20 2011 12:23 PM
 
mathmustdie
#5 Print Post
Posted on June 20 2011 05:03 AM
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Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 62

Joined: 2006-10-25

Thank you so much for all the advice. It actually means a lot to me, and I feel much more calm about my situation. I hope that I can come back on this forum by the end of the summer with a success story like you had Smile
 
justfoundout
#6 Print Post
Posted on June 20 2011 12:31 PM
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Location: Texas USA
Posts: 6295

Joined: 2008-05-25

6/20/11
You're welcome, mathmustdie. BTW, I'm trying to decide this very morning whether I'll be able to complete a Minor in Spanish (with all the tricky little rules to remember) to go along with a BA in Art, or if I should just 'put all my eggs in one basket' and go for the BFA degree, which requires no Minor. I had to 'tread water', taking cc classes for two years because of that unhelpful Head of Disability at my local Uni, so I have 'beyond empathy' for you. Please send me a PM if there are other nitty-gritty issues that I might help with. I do have a Paralegal degree, and those classes have helped me do my own letter-writing and research. Also, I've lived in Illinois and know Chicago and Elgin. - jus'
 
Kestrel6
#7 Print Post
Posted on June 22 2011 03:10 PM
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Location: Houston TX
Posts: 448

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I'd take my business elsewhere. Shop for a school that WILL waive and vote with your tuition dollars.
Blessed are the PURR in heart!
 
http://twicetoldtails.googlepages.com
Fennec
#8 Print Post
Posted on June 23 2011 08:57 AM
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Location: New York.
Posts: 42

Joined: 2008-08-18

Hi there mathmustdie,

First of all, I love your username. It made me smile and I'm sure it has for other forum members, haha Smile

Anyway, everyone else has offered advice, so I'm just giving you support. I'm in a similar situation as you. At this point I have fulfilled almost all of my requirements for an AA except for math, and quite frankly I've been given the run-around as well. Also like you, I have been tested as having the math ability of a 4th grade student.

Go along with the suggestions that others have given, and also try to see if you can get the neuropsychologist to write another letter requesting that you be given a waiver. He has far more authority and knowledge on LDs than your school does, so his opinion should be regarded.
___________________________________
If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.

If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not have within you will destroy you.

—Gospel of Thomas
 
justfoundout
#9 Print Post
Posted on June 23 2011 12:22 PM
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Location: Texas USA
Posts: 6295

Joined: 2008-05-25

6/23/11
Yes, what you've said, Fennec, is such a good point. I have a dyscalculic friend who had already submitted to her college all the normal LD documentation, but they still wouldn't waive or substitute her math credits. They kept coming up with different 'math courses' for her to take, none of which would she be able to pass, according to her (and I believe her). The college finally agreed to accept 'only' a full evaluation by neuropsychologist. Apparently these are 'harder to come by' than those by other psychologist's, but they can, and often do, carry more 'weight' with the college. And yes, mathmustdie, explain to the neuropsychologist that what you need is a waiver. Very good point, Fennec. - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on June 23 2011 12:22 PM
 
mathmustdie
#10 Print Post
Posted on July 08 2011 03:46 AM
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Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 62

Joined: 2006-10-25

Thanks for the support Fennec Smile I really wish math would die lol. I feel sad that you are having a hard time with your degree too. I hope you and everyone with this problem can succeed because it's not fair to be held back from your dreams.

I wish that my neuropsychologist stressed being waived from math more. From what I could tell, the diagnosis said I should be waived if possible or be given tutoring or substitution of another class. Overall I didn't feel 100% understood exactly by the neuropsychologist. I got a vibe that she acknowledged that I had a math disorder but didn't want to believe every aspect of the disorder and how crippling it is. My "regular" psychologist however, seemed to believe in the disorder and its tortures more but I am not sure if he can write a waiver recommendation for me?

Kestrel6, I would shop around more for a school but I need to live at home and deal with colleges close to me. It is unfortunate because maybe there are better colleges that would understand but they are too out of reach. I just have to try to do whatever I can with my community college and university and see what happens I guess.

Recent stressful events have kept me from actually starting the quest for getting my degree as I planned lately, but I hope really soon and this summer or fall preferably I will be able to get something done by contacting the people that Justfoundout's links list.

Justfoundout, I wonder if the community college would accept waiving math with more testing. I am not sure what full tests your friend got (math testing specifically, or further testing for more learning related disorders). The neuropsychologist mentioned that it was possible that I had a nonverbal learning disorder but that I would need to get more/seperate testing for that. Maybe the cc needs a more "serious" diagnosis. I am going to try to see if anything can be done before getting to that point though. I may send you a PM sometime if I need help, if you wouldn't mind. Thank you. Good luck with choosing the degrees you want to get Smile
 
justfoundout
#11 Print Post
Posted on July 08 2011 04:46 AM
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Location: Texas USA
Posts: 6295

Joined: 2008-05-25

7/7/11
Hi mathmustdie,
My friend hasn't posted here in quite a while, but I'm going to ask her, as a special favor, to give me more info about why a neuropsychologist was required by her college in order to get a waiver. However, I believe that any psychologist could recommend that you be givne a waiver if that's what they really believe, in your case. My psychologist put something to the effect for me to begin any course of study, the math requirement should be carefully considered, but he didn't put that my math should be waived. I did have to take Logic.

Yes, please PM for anything. - jus'
 
mathmustdie
#12 Print Post
Posted on August 19 2011 05:14 PM
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Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 62

Joined: 2006-10-25

I am going to start the journey of getting my associates degree now that schools are starting up and everyone who works at the college is probably not on vacation anymore or whatnot.

Someone had been helping me with school related things in the past who lost my trust. Maybe there is hope that the University can help me after all?

For peace of mind I researched some more…and it while it seems unlikely still that the University can help me, I sent an email to the Admissions Department at the Uni anyway so that I know for sure if I have to deal with my CC or not.

As the day has gone by and no one has answered. Maybe I need to wait a few days? I sent the email on Wednesday night and it is now Friday. I really hope the Admissions Department pays attention to these emails because I get so nervous explaining my problem on the phone…
Edited by mathmustdie on August 22 2011 08:21 PM
 
squeakymonster
#13 Print Post
Posted on August 19 2011 06:08 PM
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Location: Munising, MI, USA
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Well, as I start dealing with my Student Disability Services department, I'll let you know how that goes. I really hope that not all schools are as bad as where you're going! :/
I'm NOT lost, I'm just taking the scenic rout!
 
justfoundout
#14 Print Post
Posted on August 20 2011 03:58 PM
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Location: Texas USA
Posts: 6295

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8/20/11
mathmustdie,
Has the Head of Disability Services at your Uni accepted your LD test documentation? Did they put that in your file? Do they give you a letter at the beginning of each semester to take to each of your teachers which lists the accommodations to which you are entitled? Disability Services should be doing this for you. - jus'
 
mathmustdie
#15 Print Post
Posted on August 20 2011 08:49 PM
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Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 62

Joined: 2006-10-25

I think I made the mistake of just going to the Uni for two classes in Spring 2011 without contacting the Disabilities services or giving them my LD tests. To be honest I was very confused and had no idea what I was doing. Since the LD woman at my CC claimed that the Uni would be able to give me the AA degree... I figured that I would have to be an actual student of theirs or else they wouldn't be able to help me at all. So that's why I just went to the Uni and took a couple of classes for one semester. Overall this whole situation is very confusing to me.

Anyway, the Admission Department at the Uni just got back to me and they said that they only offer Bachelors and Masters degrees and no Associates degrees.They also said that in order for the Associates degree to be recognized I would have to complete the AA before attending or ar given until the end of the first semester to complete for it to be recognized. If not, the Associates degree will not be recognized.

I guess I really do not have a choice other than to go to the CC in the upcoming weeks...
 
justfoundout
#16 Print Post
Posted on August 20 2011 09:36 PM
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Location: Texas USA
Posts: 6295

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8/20/11
If there's anything that we've learned, it's that no two Uni's work the same way. But this was my experience,... and please forgive me if I've already told you this story,... I'd completed a Paralegal degree at a cc. The only thing missing were those three credits in College Algebra, which, of course, I couldn't pass. After failing Elementary Algebra three times, I lost my gov funding for cc classes. However, either because of my great perseverance, or because I was too desperate to quit, I went to a neighboring county and applied there for Financial Aid at their cc,... and got it! While at that cc, I got my MLD diagnosis and submitted it, along with a request to take Logic as a substitute for College Algebra. Once this request was granted, I took Logic at that second cc. I also sent a copy of my MLD documentation to my first cc, where I had a Paralegal degree 'waiting for me', minus the math credits. After I got my A in Logic, I had my current cc send an official transcript to the first cc. When they got it, they mailed me the Paralegal degree Diploma.

One small glitch,... the first cc didn't put it on my transcript that the math credits were being substituted by Logic. They didn't write 'core complete' on my transcript. But, at the second cc, when I finished my AA degree, the official transcript does show that the math credits have been substituted, and 'core complete'. It was this AA degree that made sure that the Uni accepted my math substitution.

Now, if your first cc would do something similar for you,... if it would let you take Logic to cover those math credits,... then you'd have the completed AA degree, right? But, if you aren't taking any classes at the cc, they probably won't open a file for you in their disability office, unless they have a really nice Head of Disability Services.

I'd had an unhelpful one at one college, but when I went back the next year, she'd left for another city altogether, and a nice one had replaced her. Please keep checking back on this, as things may have changed in your favor. - jus'
 
mathmustdie
#17 Print Post
Posted on August 22 2011 08:29 PM
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Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 62

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@justfoundout...wow you had to go through a lot of complications. I am glad it worked out. I am learning more and more that each school is different. I really hope that something similar can be done for me. I am working on this process now. I would definitely accept a substitution so I can just move on.

I am going to call the Admissions office at my Uni today because their reply to me when I explained my situation in the email was kind of weird. They made it sound that if I got my AA from my cc that I couldn't go back to the Uni because I went to their school degree-less and they will only grant people a bachelors degree if they entered the school with the AA degree or received the AA degree by the end of the semester at their Uni.

It sounds very confusing...but...I really hope the Uni doesn't put it against me that I went to their school for a semester without having an AA degree. It sounds stupid that they wouldn't let someone use the credits they got at the Uni regardless of being degree'd at the time or not. I don't get why I couldn't just continue on...

If this is the case I am in BIG trouble. I will post what happens later...
 
justfoundout
#18 Print Post
Posted on August 23 2011 03:06 AM
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Location: Texas USA
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8/22/11
I think that all the Uni's are 'coming apart' due to the reduced funding from the gov. As you said, they shouldn't be making trouble over your using credits from the Uni toward a degree at the cc, or vice versa. It was all your money (or funding) and your effort to pass the classes.

Where I live, there is a cc geographically near the Uni. They have what they call an 'articulation agreement'. There is an equivalency chart online for checking to see which courses from the cc will transfer straight into the Uni. So, going in 'that direction', there's no problem.

But also, there's an understanding that, if there are classes at the 2000 level or below, a Uni student can take those classes at the cc. This would usually be done to save money, as the cc charges cheaper.

However, I'll add here 'one more complication' that perhaps only would happen to me. I'd gone to the cc for a few courses on 'extended timeframe', getting ready to transfer to the Uni. Then, I wanted to take a few more classes at the cc, before going to the Uni. But the current Director of Financial Services wouldn't let me have the gov funding, implying that once I'd gotten accepted to the Uni, "why would (I) want to again request to stay at the cc". I didn't argue. I just went on to the Uni. So, perhaps all colleges are chaffing with the new cuts in funding, or perhaps both you and I have been slighted by those who are supposed to help us. Please let me know how your case unfolds.- jus'
 
mathmustdie
#19 Print Post
Posted on August 26 2011 10:57 PM
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Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 62

Joined: 2006-10-25

A lot of people from my cc went to my uni and went to both at the same time. The two schools are kind of close together or at least not too far away too. I saw the equivalency chart...unfortunately I don't think my cc had a very good curriculum because I might need to take some extra classes. But I have to find out from someone what I need in particular...maybe an adviser at the Uni at some point.

I finally cleared things up with the Uni. The email the admissions office sent me was confusing, but when I talked to someone they said they wouldn't hold it against me that I went to the Uni for a semester without an AA degree...and that I can go back for a bachelors but that I couldn't get the AA from them of course. I guess it's good that I can go back to finish if everything goes well.

Next week some calls need to be made to the cc. Maybe the LD department has to be confronted and told that they shouldn't' shove people off to other schools to avoid helping.
 
justfoundout
#20 Print Post
Posted on August 27 2011 05:06 AM
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Location: Texas USA
Posts: 6295

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8/26/11
Dear mathmustdie,
Did the cc just shove you off to the Uni to avoid helping? I hope that the people who did that get a wake up call. Did you know that all cc's have a person who is appointed to represent the school in issues involving the Americans with Disabilities Act? You might find out who that person is and send an email. - jus'
 
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