Learning Disabilities Expert Forum
Help a 22 year old
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Help a 22 year old

I am trying to homeschool my 22 yr. old nephew who has dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD, auditory processing disorder and cognitive processing disorder.  He has so much against him and he feels that he will never learn.  Book learning is not helping him.  He has gone from 2nd grade reading to fifth, but doesn't understand or comprehend all the time.  What he learns one day, he forgets that next.  It is frustrating for him more than me.  I don't know how to help him.  Please, if you have information that can help pass it on to me.  Thanks so much.  I don't want him to give up on his dreams of getting a HS diploma and going to college.
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You’ve taken upon yourself a very noble but extremely difficult task of tutoring a student with multiple disabilities.
While your dedication and patience are no doubt highly important for your nephew, specialized educational settings can offer more resources and have teachers with expertise and experience in teaching such students. First, I would recommend to see what kind of programs are offered by the schools in your district that would be appropriate for your nephew. Teaching a special student usually involves multiple modalities, among them are hands-on experience, creative activities, discussion with peers, assistive technology, and application of the learned concepts to real life situations. Many of these modalities require a social setting rather than a one-on-one tutoring. If he no longer qualifies for school education, check out adult education centers. Students like this need to see a functional application of their learning so it makes sense to them. For example, reading tasks can be applied to reading directions or recipes, while math can be applied to figure out the cost of something. Assistive software has been very successful with LD students. A special education teacher would be able to recommend the best choices for your nephew. It’s fun, interactive, and does not require writing, which is often a stumbling block. There are various strategies for maximizing memory, such as mnemonics, paired associations, etc. You can check out the following books:

- "The Memory Book and How to Be School Smart",

- "Academic Success Strategies for Adolescents With Learning Disabilities and ADHD"

by Esther Minskoff and  David Allsopp (all available through Amazon.com).
The following website also outlines some very useful memory strategies: www.ldonline.org.
Overall, the education of such students should focus on development of practical skills to prepare them for independent living.
Finally, it is important to have a fairly recent psychological assessment in order to understand their potential. Some students may progress fairly well in basic literacy and numeracy, but face significant challenges when it comes to abstract reasoning, which is required for reading comprehension and math problem solving. Also, i wonder if there is a bigger issue that encompasses all the diagnoses that you mentioned. Proper diagnosis is important for accessing services and understanding his profile.
Kind Regards,

Dr. Tali Shenfield
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