Unseen struggles

March 6, 2020

Students with learning disabilities face a plethora of challenges throughout their early years of education. But in high school, another stressor is added to the list of things looming over them: college. 

“In high school, it’s been a lot more difficult because you have to start balancing college preparation with the fact that these grades are going to follow you to college,” Yaccopucci said. “Your grades actually matter.” 

The medication’s adjustment period can also be a cause of discomfort for students with these conditions.“You don’t start seeing results from your meds usually for these kinds of things for like a month,” Yacopucci said. “Which also makes it difficult because you’re experiencing new symptoms or new side effects while you are experiencing your anxiety and ADHD because your [medicine] isn’t working yet.” 

According to Ewell, it can be increasingly hard to focus when off of his medication

“When I’m off my meds I get sick and really tired, or I get really energetic,” Ewell said. “But usually on my med’s I’m just… at a good place, not too tired, not too crazy.” 

Another challenge is that language is unavoidable, especially in an academic atmosphere. According to Moore, this can take an emotional toll on students.

“Kids can really just shut down because everything about school [is] learning to read when you are in first, second, third grade. That’s the biggest goal,” Moore said. “Language is everywhere…By third grade we really start to expect kids to not only be able to read but be able to read to learn.” 

Language is divided into two areas: what you can express linguistically, and what you can understand. According to Moore, the skill that is worked on the most at the high school level is reading comprehension. 

“Our ability to read and our ability to understand spoken language is so intertwined that kids in high school, if they still have a language impairment, they’re going to have a really hard time,” Moore said. “Everything is going to be a challenge if you have a language impairment.” 

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