Learning Disabled Students - page 2

I'm in nursing school and recently found out that 2 students in my class are "Learning Disabled", meaning, they are allowed extra time to complete the tests, they receive extra help from instructors,... Read More

  1. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from multicollinarity
    I'm trying to figure out why you phrase this as "learning disabled." First of all, these students have a learning disability. It sounds like because their disability isn't visible that you question its existence ("learning disabled"). As a nursing student, you should know better.

    I also wouldn't insult the many nurses with learning disabilities by saying you don't want one caring for you. They provide excellent care and you wouldn't even know that they have a learning disability.

    As Lizz said, there is a problem with a few students paying a doctor without ethics for a diagnosis in order to get extra test time or other accommodations. That said, most students really do have learning disabilities if diagnosed. Students that I've seen who have learning disabilities are actually embarrassed and loathe to get the extra help they need.

    I suggest you go learn more about learning disabilities and then be glad that by the grace of happenstance - you don't have one.
    Couldn't have said it better myself. I'd much rather be cared for by a nurse who received the support that they needed to graduate and pass the boards than to be cared for by one with attitudes like some of those expressed on this thread. This is precisely why accommodations are a matter of law rather than common sense!
  2. by   Multicollinearity
    DMarie,

    I was referring to you putting learning disability is quotation marks like people do when they don't believe something or they are belittling it.

    Sadly, so many people don't understand learning disabilities. Really, they have no reason to know alot about them unless they have one or someone they love does. I *do* wish people would trust the system - trust that those with PhDs and MDs who are diagnosing and recommending career fields know more about learning disabilities than the average college student who is disgruntled because someone gets extra test time.

    Having a learning disability does not affect critical thinking skills. It is not a 'doing disability' or a 'working disability'. It just means one has to compensate in different ways to learn. I know a neurologist MD who has a LD. He just had to compensate.

    It's a shame that these attitudes persist.
  3. by   mercyteapot
    In reality, the law isn't broad at all. It spells out qualifying conditions and criteria clearly. It also states that programs are only required to make reasonable accommodations, NOT modifications. As these other students have no access to the medical histories of students who are being granted accommodations, it is interesting that so many of them feel qualified to speak to the validity of these accommodations.

    Bottom line, the law is the law and your school has no choice but to respect it. I am reminded of one of the wisest thing Archie Bunker ever said: "If you don't like it, you can lump it, take it down the road and dump it"....
  4. by   HeartsOpenWide
    For a long time I thought I was "dumb" before I was taught otherwise.
    Having a learning disability does not affect critical thinking skills. It is not a 'doing disability' or a 'working disability'. It just means one has to compensate in different ways to learn.
    I agree. Did I mention I have a 3.5 GPA and graduated with High Honors when I got my A.A.?
    I have no problem with students with learning disabilities that need accommodations. At least in my state, very specialized testing is done to establish some one with a L.D. and there are different levels of L.D.s For me I get extra time and am allowed to take my tests in a private room. I do not always use my privileges (mostly just for math). I do not get "extra help" from the teachers or "hints".
    I do have problems with people that have prejudices against these people. Albert Einstein had a learning disability. Here are a few others with learning disabilities. Oh to think if they were not allowed to do what they did because a few felt nervous about learning disabilities.

    Louis Pasteur
    Thomas Edison
    John F. Kennedy
    Walt Disney
    Jules Verne
    Nelson Rockefeller
    Charles Schwab
    Winston Chruchill
    Henry Ford
    Robert Kennedy
    George Bernard Shaw
    Beethoven (the guy was deaf for Christ sake!)
    Hans Christian Anderson
    Woodrow Wilson
    Alexander Graham Bell
    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Werner von Braun
    Leonardo da Vinci
    Mozart
    and many more
    Although, not all these famous people have been "officially diagnosed" they have exhibited many of the signs of ADD, ADHD & LD
    Last edit by HeartsOpenWide on Dec 7, '06
  5. by   Sheri257
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    I'm sorry, maybe I'm being cruel here, but to me, Nursing is an entirely different ballgame as far as working with a disability that is learning in nature.

    If you can't think on your toes for a test, then you can't be expected to do it in a hospital and working with real patients.

    If you can't absorb quickly what happens in class or clinicals, then how are you going to survive learning the new procedures for new equipment, medicines, new courses of care from hospital training?

    I feel if you cannot perform at this level, then you would actually be endangering your patients if you were working in a medical setting.

    I would feel that same way about Doctors, etc.
    That's true and false, all at the same time ... at least in my opinion.

    I'm one of those pretty good students. I'm not at the top of my class but, I'm pretty close.

    When it comes to working in the hospital, sometimes the book knowledge really comes in handy. Other times, I do the stupidest things, you'd think I was the dumbest student in the class.

    At least for me, it also depends on the environment you're in. If I'm on a hostile floor, I tend to do poorly. If the environment is more supportive, I do pretty well although ... I am still capable of doing pretty stupid things.

    But, at this point, I can't really say a learning disabled student with a true learning disability in school would do any better that I do. We probably both have our strengths and weaknesses.

    There's so much complexity in nursing that you really can't judge. They may remember something that I don't and vice versa. They may be stronger in one area than I am and vice versa.

    When you hit the floor ... it's a whole 'nother ball game, so to speak. A lot of that stuff you learn in school tends to go out the window when you get into the real world.

    I guess what I'm saying is ... it's really not that simple.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 7, '06
  6. by   dmarie (GA)
    I apologize if I offended you with the use of quotation marks. I'm a very kind and compassionate person, sometimes to a fault , and if you knew me, you would know that I didn't mean anything malicious by my curiosity regarding this subject. I have no issues with folks that have learning disabilities. In fact, I have a half-brother who has a learning disability, so I understand what it is.

    The reason I questioned it at all is this: during clinicals, my instructor teamed me up with another student who receives special help due to a learning disability. My instructor told me ahead of time that she was placing this student with me for the day because of the learning curve that existed. According to my instructor, I might be able to help the student. (I found out later that this student has a speech issue and has also been diagnosed with ADD. She might have other issues as well that I'm not aware of....)

    I didn't have a problem with being teamed up with her at all.....at first. I'm always happy to help other students. But I quickly became frustrated with the situation because this student cannot form a complete sentence. I couldn't understand anything she was trying to say. Neither could the patient we were caring for. And believe me, I tried. I was very nice and kind and asked her to repeat what she was saying every single time she said something, but it didn't help. The patient we were caring for was clearly uncomfortable also.

    It's hard to work as a team with someone who cannot communicate. As a result, I did most of the work because it was easier than trying to understand what she was saying.

    By the end of our shift, I was beyond frustrated. I basically did the work of two students all day. My instructor noticed and pulled me to the side. I explained the situation. She smiled and kept referring to it as a learning curve.

    I'm sure this student has the best of intentions with lots of compassion for nursing. But in my mind, everyone is setting her up for failure by being nice. Communication is VITAL in nursing. You don't have to be in the ICU to need good communication skills. Even if we all rally around her and help her through the program, she will have serious problems later on.

    This particular student also has serious trouble grasping basic drug calculations. She comes to me for help all the time. I'm always very nice and help her as much as I can, but I really, really, really worry about it. I don't care what setting she ends up working in ---- drug calculations are important!

    Again, let me say, I'm a nice person and understand the different challenges that we ALL face in life. I have challenges of my own. But I know myself and understand my limitations.
  7. by   Multicollinearity
    It sounds like this student has other problems going on besides a learning disability. I also think it's inappropriate that your instructor is in some way making you responsible for this student. It sounds like there's a lot to the story of this other student, much you'll probably never know, but I wouldn't label this a LD issue.
  8. by   Jabramac
    Quote from multicollinarity
    DMarie,

    Having a learning disability does not affect critical thinking skills. It is not a 'doing disability' or a 'working disability'. It just means one has to compensate in different ways to learn. I know a neurologist MD who has a LD. He just had to compensate.

    It's a shame that these attitudes persist.
    This is why it is called a learning disability. Our traditional school systems have been around for so long, and it is not always the best way for all people to learn. Being able to fit into the college system has nothing to do with whether or not you will make a good nurse. Taking extra time to test in college does not mean a person will need extra time to think about what to do in a code situation. After the "learning process" of college many people with LD are great at finding ways to make accomadations for themselves at work, and in life. I totally agree that there needs to be some checks to make sure these LD nurses will be safe nurse, just like with all nurses. But getting extra time on a test, or having a book on tape is not a clear judgement of that.
  9. by   dmarie (GA)
    Well let me again say that I didn't label her L.D., that is the label she was given by the powers that be, and because of this label, she is allowed extra help, extra time, etc. etc. I call her L.D. because it was explained to me that she was L.D.

    As far as the broad spectrum of learning disabilities, as I mentioned, we all have our challenges, and we all learn in different ways. I can fully appreciate that. And I'm glad that students are able to get the instruction they need. But it makes me really nervous when it comes to certain situations.
  10. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from dmarie (GA)
    Well let me again say that I didn't label her L.D., that is the label she was given by the powers that be, and because of this label, she is allowed extra help, extra time, etc. etc. I call her L.D. because it was explained to me that she was L.D.

    As far as the broad spectrum of learning disabilities, as I mentioned, we all have our challenges, and we all learn in different ways. I can fully appreciate that. And I'm glad that students are able to get the instruction they need. But it makes me really nervous when it comes to certain situations.
    Learning disabilities by definition have nothing to do with behavior or intelligence. I think you need to be mindful that you don't really know this person's medical/psych status and diagnoses. It's easier for someone to label this sort of thing LD.
  11. by   dmarie (GA)
    Scary ain't it?
  12. by   Multicollinearity
    I'm not sure what's scary. I meant that it's easier for a student to say they have a learning disability and that's why they have extra test time - to nosy fellow students, etc. It's easier for an instructor to say to try to preserve privacy. In reality - nobody gets accommodations without a verified letter from an MD or psychologist the specific diagnosis and details of the condition. The college has to make sure the documentation meets certain federal guidelines.

    Do you understand that by definition learning disorders are specific problems with learning in individuals with normal or above normal intelligence? Other problems are comorbid.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Dec 7, '06
  13. by   dmarie (GA)
    OK, I feel like I've somehow offended, so let me try once again.

    I'm not a nosey student. I want my nursing degree, period. I'm 34 years old. I don't have time nor do I care about what goes on with other students. I'm working my butt off to obtain a degree. Whether a student is L.D., ADD, ADHD, or Batman in disguise is really none of my concern.

    However, it was explained to me, by my clinical instructor, without any prompting on my part, that there existed a learning curve. Upon further observation, I noticed that she received extra time and help, along with a calculator, for tests. These special accomodations are given to students who are L.D. I later learned, from the student herself, without any solicitation on my part, that she has speech issues and ADD.

    I don't have any issue with folks who learn in different ways. But this particular girl scares me. That's all. I never said she was less than intelligent, and I never said that people who are L.D. in general are less than intelligent.

    This student might have other issues that are unknown or unnamed that may contribute to her clinical performance. But she IS labeled L.D. Her personal business is none of my concern.

    Because this girl's performance scares me doesn't mean that all L.D. people, or people with any other issue, obstacle, or challenge, scare me as well. My point is simply this: Nursing is a unique profession that requires a certain degree of critical thinking, communication, and autonomy. It's not for everyone.

    If you can't perform sufficiently on the tests, labs, or clinicals, then you shouldn't be allowed to progress through the program.

    By saying that, I'm not personally attacking everyone who has an L.D., nor am I saying that people with L.D.'s aren't capable of performing sufficiently.

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