Focus on the Students Gifts

Hi, I am responding to your Haro request. I was a child who grew up under
the IEP process. I thought you might be interested in my perspective now
that I am in my last year of college (Beacon College, only 4 year
accredited Learning Disability college in America).

In public elementary school I was in a contained class room for three years
and then went onto private LD schools for the remainder of my schooling.
My parents used the IEP as a tool to work with me. It was almost my
roadmap to help me understand what I needed to do and also helped me feel
that I was moving forward in my academics.

The IEP process was painful in that sometimes my Mom would cry (in
elementary school), but as we moved into middle and high school we really
used it to our advantage. My Mom helps other parents with their concerns
and also speaks to parents who are looking at sending students from my high
school onto Beacon College.

In college I use a mentor and we kind of use the same IEP process in
working through my classes and what I need to do for each class, but on a
weekly basis.

On a personal note, I started my own clothing company when I was seventeen
and am now one of the online money advisors for Seventeen magazine and have
just been featured in "Chicken Soup for the Soul for Extra-Ordianary
Teens". In this book I talk about how difficult it was to have LD, but
everyone has gifts and that is what parents should focus on. We in America
always try and fix what is broken so parents get tutors for what their LD
kids are doing poorly at. Maybe a different approach (my parents did this)
is to focus on the students gifts because an investment of 150% towards the
gift will produce a 1000% result and the student will be successful and
happy with the end result.

I now go to public schools and speak to students about my success, but also
help them understand that I have a significant learning disability.

Chelsea Eubank