beyond expectations

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Last year, my university changed their graduation requirements for the kinesiology program. This means, since I started the program in 2010 [or something of that nature, I’ve been there too long], I can choose between the new option or the old one. [Main point: the new one requires only anatomy. The old one requires both anatomy AND physiology].  I met with the department chair last year to discuss swapping some previous credits in teaching/psychology related courses for other related ones, and seeing if I could switch anatomy for physiology–just to see if I maybe could handle that better.

Since May, the whole department has kind of switched things up turning into a faculty, however, so I e-mailed the new associate dean on Thursday last week to follow up–turns out that the department chair was taking my request to the curriculum review committee the next day, but we scheduled a meeting anyways. Within 24 hours of his response, I had received an e-mail from the chair as well as a follow-up from the associate dean […got that?].  Approved: Switching coaching/teaching requirement and swapping the psychology class. Not approved: Anatomy exemption/swap. So, I was rather surprised when the associate dean responded with my question of whether we still needed to meet with “I think we should still meet to discuss how you are going to handle the Human Anatomy requirement.”

So what’s changed between last round and this round? Another F, being assessed for learning problems, and becoming registered with Accessibility Services.  I got his reply and my jaw just about dropped.  I walked into his office this morning, and the first thing he said to me was: “Kerri my dear–let’s talk. The department is willing to work with you to get you through anatomy and out of here.”

I was choked up the whole appointment.  The results of that meeting? I couldn’t believe it. At all.

The kinesiology department is not just willing to work with me, they are going beyond what I had ever imagined–much like the accessibility department did. I am floored.

The department is going to pay for a mentor/tutor to work with me. I was prepared to pay for a tutor [and I probably still will for some extra hours]. The number of hours they will cover has yet to be determined, but this is huge. On that note, their hope is that this person is able to work with me in lab . . . in a separate lab section to minimize distraction and ensure I am actually understanding things. This will also allow me to work a bit slower at quizzes in lab and give me a bit more time for the model to sink into my brain.

Second, we discussed testing, specifically in the lab. My accommodations through Accessibility Services already allow me lengthened time for tests [thanks second percentile processing speed!]. We have yet to figure out how we are going to make this work, but it is just awesome knowing that they will make it work. [He offered, also, to exempt me from quizzes and weight my final exams higher, but I decided that it is good to get that kind of progress report on a weekly basis.]

Third–yes, third, and definitely the most interesting–is that the associate dean himself is all over this. He wants me to meet him every few weeks for an hour or two so we can go over what we’ve been working on class–through this, he can figure out the best ways to help me retain what I’m doing in the course, and figure out what I need to work on and help me actually understand it–not just memorize it–and check in regularly about how things are going.

Seriously? Speechless. Honestly, I was told awesome things about this guy. And he not only met my expectations of his awesomeness–he went so far beyond them.

I hope that, with all of the above, I can go far beyond my own expectations, too.

5 thoughts on “beyond expectations

  1. Kerri — This is absolutely amazing news! I’m so happy for you! How big/small is the Kin department that they are able to do this? Also, yay! Also yay you’re going to graduate! Also, yay for them adapting to you and taking your needs into consideration, cuz, uh, isn’t that part of what they’re trying to teach in the degree?

    1. It’s a “smaller” department, but I also go to a fairly small university [10,000 students, I think?]. I’m not sure how many students are in the department, however, but it’s usually enough that the faculty knows the students pretty well on the whole (for instance, small enough that when I dropped a class, the instructor saw me in the quad one day and asked me where I went :)).

      I think this is beyond what they typically do for students who are struggling, but definitely–it’s really good for future educators/teachers/coaches to see adaptation in PRACTICE, and what is possible beyond the typical accommodations :].

  2. YAY for accessibilty! Awesome!

    I don’t know if your uni does this, but my sister’s did: Would it be possible for you to talk with the student advocate and get some of your failed courses voided from your transcript, if you failed courses? My sister’s did for her when she got diagnosed, since it fell under “special circumstances” since she was dealing with learning disabilities without accommodation (she has ADHD and dyscalculia).

    I’m getting mine evaluated – I suspect motor dysgraphia (I show all of the symptoms. All of them.), and possibly mild autism or some related disorder involving social skills, sensory dysfunction and executive function. I’ve been able to compensate mainly through self-accommodation, but it’d be a lot easier on me if I can get excused from group projects or if I can get structured group projects or group projects with smaller groups/in quiet work areas. I can’t follow conversations in groups of more than 4.

    1. I know a student in the past did appeal for retroactive withdrawals post dx, and they were not granted–so, I doubt it is an option to get them off my transcript. However, not that I’m sure I’m considering it at this point, one of the Masters programs I’d contacted did say that they would be willing to accept explanations for failed courses and lower GPAs than they typically require.

      Assessment, for me, was one of the best things I’ve done. Just because I COULD cope… doesn’t mean I should have to go it alone and without support. :]

      1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure formal evaluation will shed a lot of much-needed light on why stuff that shouldn’t be hard is for me. Like small talk (I literally spent an entire summer drawing up small talk flow charts when I was sixteen and then memorizing them because I was sick of getting punished for being rude when my parents had guests, for example)

        If I do have learning disabilities, I’m twice exceptional, which was always the excuse for not getting me LD/DD evaluated – she’s so smart she can’t have learning disabilities. She’s just lazy. Or defiant. Or willful. Or careless. Or, or, or, etc. My IQ was tested when I was a kid because I was having hella problems in school behaviorally, and when it came back really, really, really, really high, they just pinned everything on that without investigating further and assumed everything was behavioral. Of course she’s misbehaving – she’s bored. Of course she has trouble with other kids – they don’t understand her. Etc.

        I was 23 before I was able to convince my parents that writing actually does cause me physical pain. Before that, it was always you could write if you wanted to and you’re so smart so why aren’t you doing this and for a smart kid you sure act dumb and etc.

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