Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dealing with How Tics Affect my School Life and Reading

Busy, Busy, Busy. Gosh this week has been crazy, and it's only Wednesday! I've been dealing with my teacher Mr. Colorado who has assigned CRAZY amounts of homework. A project, A paper, and 69 pages of Catch-22, all for one weekend and due on Monday. You have to pick one to assign. Project or paper or reading. Not all three!

He's a very new teacher so he's new to all this and still trying to figure out how much homework was reasonable. This was clearly not reasonable for any student, and especially not for me!  I finished the paper, and the project, but there was no way I could get the reading done. After the stress of dealing with the paper and the project, I was way to stressed to sit still and actually get through 69 pages of reading. I got about 20 pages done, but after that I had to stop reading because of how bad my tics had gotten.

So I knew I was going to run into trouble because I was already behind on the reading and he was planning on assigning 40 pages or more per night of this book in the future. Plus he gives these really hard reading quizzes usually every other day which I would surely do poorly on based on the fact that I had not done the reading! So I decided to go in and talk to him about this.

I e-mailed him to let him know that I wanted to come in to talk about the reading and the problems my tics were posing for me with this amount of reading and other homework. He told me we could definitively meet about it and after school when we met I was very happy with the outcome!

Mr. Colorado totally understood about my situation and told me that I should work on doing what I can do with the reading and how far I can get on it personally based on myself and not based on where the other students are with the reading. He told me I could work out a personal plan with him for the reading which we semi-worked out during the meeting and that if I ran into any more trouble, I could e-mail him and let him know. He made sure I knew everything was going to be alight with the class. Glad I worked that out and so glad that I go to a school where the teachers are so understanding.

I go to a private school that is one of the top schools in my state and they are absolutely fantastic about understanding differences, giving accommodations, and anything else in that area. I, along with a lot of other students have a personal school plan that tells my teachers about my accommodations and diagnoses. Mine tells my teachers about my anxiety, panic attacks, Tourette's, OCD, and math calculation disability. My school gives me extra time on every in class assignment, essay, or test and on out of class assignments if I need it. I have permission to leave the room when I need to due to tics or anxiety, and if I need to, I can take my tests in a separate room.

I usually don't need my own room for just regular tests but for larger exams I have chosen to take them in a separate room in the past so that I won't be so focused on my tics may be affecting the other students. For the ACT I got awesome accommodations thanks to the letter my neurologist wrote and thanks to the wonderful way the school learning specialist advocated for me.

I am allowed to make my ACT with double time, in a separate room, over multiple testing days, with a laptop to write my essay, and I could just circle the answers on the sheet and didn't have to bubble on a scan tron. I feel so lucky to go to a school where the teachers and learning specialist can advocate for me so I can have these much needed accommodations on national tests. And also I feel so lucky to have the accommodations in school and to have so much support and understanding surrounding me.

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