The Benefits of Decreasing Accommodations and Support In High School, by Eileen

By March 1, 2023 Eileen, NVLD Bloggers

In my experience overcoming an NVLD, students with the disability or other Learning Disabilities can be given too many accommodations and support through high school. While this may seem helpful in the long run this can do more harm than good as it limits the opportunities to learn how to self-advocate and overcome challenges on your own.

For example I noticed how difficult it was for students in our Arch Only (The LD Program) Psychology Class to give presentations my 1st first semester at Dean. This was because in high school many students had their co-teacher do it for them due to their communication or reading difficulties. As a result, they struggled a great deal with being able to present effectively on their own.  This truly made me realize that my parents made the right decision to always have me present my own projects while I was in high school as this was a needed skill in college.

Another example of giving too much help is having a teacher aide take notes for you. However this has a downside as in college this is not available and you are required to ask your professors directly for the notes. My freshman year at Dean I noticed that many needed their Arch instructor to help them get the notes during the 1st semester as they had never done it before. Fortunately for me in 12th grade my parents had me attend all classes on my own and without support so I knew how to ask for the notes. This was truly helpful for college.

The next example is having tests and quizzes read to you as it seems this is a rare accommodation given at college since I was one of the many who didn’t get it at Dean and Curry. For many of us who no longer had this accommodation it took awhile to get test grades that were a reflection of our true academic ability. This hurt emotionally but gradually with time we got there. Therefore I believe for college-bound students it would be so helpful to try to just to have extended time and see how it goes your senior year. If this is successful then have this accommodation removed. This way your resource room teacher will be able to help you learn strategies to be able to read tests on your own more effectively which will only help you at college.

In addition, consider reducing resource room time in your senior year if you know you’re going to college  as even at colleges with comprehensive support programs you’re most likely only going to see your Learning Disabilities Specialist 3x times a week. This may seem worrisome however one solution would be to talk to your counselor about having a study hall when your resource room teacher has a class. This way you can go see them if needed, such as having to finish a test. Another solution is have your resource room teacher check the work you finished in study hall after school during the transition period. This is hard at first though with a strong work ethic and resource room support you will learn how to successfully work independently which prepares you very well for college.

Keep in mind though in order to have examples like this later in your high school years work you need to be able to take on more responsibilities and understand it takes time to be successful. Therefore some students are ready for less support and accommodations earlier while others won’t be ready until their senior year. For example I wasn’t ready until my second semester of my senior year to have just one period of resource room as I took a full academic program so having a resource room for a time and a half was very beneficial for me given my slow processing speed. However once I knew I was going to college we knew the switch was needed and with my resource room teachers support and my own work ethic I was successful.

Yes, while this all seems challenging I can say with great confidence it will work out. As the truth is, it is easier to overcome the difficulties in high school as you know the environment well and there is an education team to help you overcome them. In college you’re more on your own, even at a college with comprehensive support programs where your learning disabilities specialist acts like a resource room teacher. Here they expect you to do it on your own  first before giving you the needed assistance. So if college is your goal please consider giving this a try as this will only help you be more prepared.


Eileen is a Project Social Ambassador and blogger for The NVLD Project. She loves helping others understand they can achieve their goals and dreams through hard work and dedication.

Share your own story