One of things I learned during my high school years as a student with NVLD is that having the same resource room teacher all four years was so helpful. My resource room teacher had such a clear understanding of my NVLD and it made it easier to truly reach my goals. Another thing I learned was that by speaking to your school counselor ahead of time to request teachers is so helpful too as regrettably not all teachers are so accepting of students with disabilities. Some districts do this automatically and others don’t so it is important to speak up especially if you are a hard working student.
One of the biggest reasons why having the same resource room teacher is especially helpful for the NVLD student is because of the social and emotional challenges that can take place in addition to academic deficits. Having the same teacher is especially helpful as they develop a real understanding of what triggers your frustrations and personal outbursts. For example, my resource room teacher from 10th grade on would always talk to me starting on the first day of school about personal goals and how to cope with change and how to communicate with my support team when problems arise. So already knew how challenging this was for me as my 9th grade year was so difficult so it was so helpful to not have to change teachers as she knew how to support me emotionally and how far I had come.
In addition studies show that students who have the same resource room teacher all four years achieve higher academically. This likely happens because the teacher can develop a greater understanding of your overall ability and how far you can be pushed to reach it. As I think back to my experience of having Beth Bresett for all four years of high school she knew when I was just trying to avoid work such as a difficult Geometry problem. She also knew how incredibly driven I was to succeed and knew how to really push me in a healthy way so I could be successful. If I had to switch teachers each year it would have been easier to give up as they wouldn’t have been as aware of my goals and could have missed my hidden strengths too.
In terms of speaking to the school counselor ahead of time it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get all the teachers you want but it helps you get the most accommodating teachers for the courses that are most connected to your disability. For example Math was really challenging for me so I always received teachers who could support me the best not just academically but also emotionally as in Math my emotional difficulties showed up the most. Whereas in a class like English which generally was a strong class for me I didn’t always get my first choice of teacher as students with reading disabilities needed to be accommodated first .
One of the reasons this is helpful is because the students feel so much more comfortable in the learning environment with teachers who they feel are more supportive. Another reason is resource room teachers appear to experience less stress when they know their students are being cared for and highly supported. As a student with an NVLD who also experienced social-emotional challenges I believe this is true as so many of my teachers communicated with my family and resource room teacher regularly and as a result I overcame many challenges and was able to achieve my goals and dreams.
Understand though for this to happen you will likely need to be a hard working and a respectful student. As I can tell you through experience, Special Education Directors and School Counselors support these students first. This is because if you aren’t going to work hard in your academic courses and listen to your resource room teacher there isn’t a great need to grant your request. Again through my experience I can say this is very true. Since I was a very dedicated and focused student I was able to receive most of the teachers my parents requested and always knew I would be able to have Beth Bresett.
So if you believe your a hard working student please have your parents get in touch with your school counselor and special education Coordinator in the beginning of August or middle July depending on when your school year starts. Doing these things leads to very successful outcomes especially for the student with an NVLD. Keeping the same resource room teacher helps with the transitions of school and having the most accepting and supportive teachers helps you increase your self-esteem which in turn allows you to always do your best.
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.