Who Failed? Rutgers? The Student? - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Who Failed? Rutgers? The Student?


I applied for accommodations when I returned to school at age 48, after being diagnosed the prior year. I was also diagnosed with Depression. The school never did anything with my application although I did everything necessary. They had everything they needed. The result is, yes, I graduated, but barely, with a GPA that precludes teacher certification, my aim from the beginning, or otherwise being employed as a teacher. I am now qualifying for a CDL license to be a limousine and bus driver.

I also have $150K bill of which none can be waived, because I am not employed as a teacher. Clearly I have been injured by the school's malfeasance.

I have been rebuffed at every point where I have sought assistance. Are "non-traditional" age adult students not entitled to the same protections as children? It seems like we are not. I guess by my age I should have been over it. I was under the impression that I was entitled to accommodation, but clearly I was wrong. What is the age where accommodation is no longer appropriate? Had I known this, I may not have wasted my time and incurred the massive debt that I have, much of which is because I had to repeat many of my classes.

Oh well, one lives and one learns, no pun intended, and then one suffers the economic consequences of a bad decision.

17 Replies

It's not about your age, it's about the stigma. You look normal so you must be lying about your "disability." What about going to an attorney who specializes in advocating for people with disabilities ? Or even the free legal services for those of us with disabilities? They aren't going to give any money back but they could certainly accommodate you by allowing you to audit classes, retake the test, etc until you pass. I'm learning how important it is not to just lay down and take it. Don't settle and get support figuring out the steps you need to take and support for following through consistently.

cjnolet in reply to lkrportland

Ugh. I just emailed my advisor in my grad program about taking steps towards getting help so that I can possibly get more time to take tests. Here's a quote from his reply:

"It is not unusual for a student to have some medical issue, and I confess

that I often wonder if those issues are real given the way they are

presented. So you could offer to supply documentation from your doctor if

that would help him make a decision. "

The frustrating thing is that people watch documentaries on ADHD and think they know all about it. They have no effing clue the shit that goes through my head in the course of a single day.

lkrportland in reply to cjnolet

OMG - that is AWFUL - I'm sorry I didn't see your reply until now -- NO THEY DON'T KNOW!! "Some medical issue" is not the same thing as a DISABILITY. Your reply: Your comments imply that you think I am making up excuses rather than reporting a legitimate disability. I don't appreciate being accused of lying. AND it sounds like your advisor is warning you how hard it will be - so get your ducks lined up and get what you need to graduate.

LdeVose in reply to lkrportland

You did not mention in your proposed reply that Federal and State (?) law expressly protect the right of otherwise capable, qualified students to reasonable accommodation, the advisor's unqualified opinion notwithstanding.

Further, @cjnolet must seek legal counsel, report this to the school's anti-discrimination office or even better, BOTH. It is like domestic abuse. It starts with misinformed prejudices, followed by unqualified assessment of your actions, leading to inappropriate character judgment, defamatory words (where cjnolet is), vindictive harassment and academic assassination.

LdeVose in reply to cjnolet

This infuriates me. What is worse is that while our condition(s) are expressly included under the Federal as well as State antidiscrimination laws, the all-so-tolerant Academic Industry are the worst offenders, and the only one that csn get away with it.

I went to the Federal and State authorities. They declined to pursue the matter. I wrote to Senators Corey Booker and Robert Menendez. I guess they are too busy fighting against President Trump to fight for a constituent whose life has been destroyed by "The State University of New Jersey" - probably a major contributor.

Here is what bothers me the most. None of our private "advocates" have offered any assistance. I will not believe that NO officials at CHADD (yes, I am a member) and other such organizations do not at least lurk here, occasionally pitching in with authoritative responses. What about the lawyers here?

No one cares. We are on our own - unless someone can foresee a big payday. Otherwise, we do not matter.

LdeVose in reply to cjnolet


cjnolet in reply to LdeVose

Well. I was granted accommodations by the school. Namely the accommodation consists of time and a half on exams.

The problem I have is that I’m in a PhD program and I’m not going to make it through the program without the help of a mentor- an advisor. The most frustrating part to me, in my situation, is not that the school isn’t granting accommodations, it’s that the stigma and prejudice about ADHD causes me to want to keep it silent and not tell anyone.

The unfortunate side effect of doing that is that I’m 34, I consider myself brilliant in many ways, but I do have focus issues and I miss things people say and I do tend to need more time on exams. The other thing that makes it hard is that you always have that one guy in the office who’s wife is an elementary school teacher or they know someone that has a kid with ADHD so suddenly they are the expert and they project their (lack of) experience on others.

The stigma is the hardest. I went to the accommodations office for my intake meeting and I expressed my concerns over the stigma to the lady in my meeting and the response I received from her was “honey, 90% of people have ADHD. You don’t have anything to worry about”

I felt like saying “First off, bitch, you belong in a remedial 5th grade math class and need to revisit your fractions.” It was pretty insulting to say the least. But it’s taught me to continue doing what I’ve been doing since I was a child, which is to keep working harder than everyone else around me and let the positive side of the differences between myself and the neurotypical speak themself.

The following isn’t to boast either. I got myself pretty down and depressed upon first being diagnosed as an adult. But then I took a look at my LinkedIn profile and remembered who the fuck I am. Seriously, if u get a moment, check out the recommendations toward the bottom. Holy fuck, that’s what ADHD has done for me. God’s given us a fucking gift.


(I didn’t mean to hijack your replies. I’ve been i a really good place lately keeping my positivity up and I felt i owed it to you guys to give an update seeing as how replies are still being made on my comment).

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford

cjnolet in reply to cjnolet

I mean. Holy shit. I’ve spent too much of my life sulking because I’m different but then people say this about me?

“Corey can learn anything you put in front of him, period. He outputs code like a man possessed and generates excellence around him. TexelTek is a company composed of rockstars, and Corey stands out even among us.”

Disorder? Nah. We are different. I can’t expect Everyone to understand, but I CAN keep pushing on. And push on I will.

lkrportland in reply to cjnolet

YES - you are so right! that's fantastic

lkrportland in reply to cjnolet

I like what you're saying Corey. I felt stupid until I was almost 40 yrs old. Congratulations on turning it around.

LdeVose - I am not in your shoes but I don't think you made a bad decision to try and better yourself. I think they failed you. You have accomplished SO MUCH. I couldn't finish college at my local state university!

You are too young to give up on having the life you wanted. Don't settle. I did and I regret it now in my 60s. I have under-earned my entire life. I also didn't know what I was dealing with but that's another story. I settled because I was scared, I felt defeated, and all I did was focus on getting a "job." Maybe you're starting your own business and that's a great way to go.

If you have a BA from a college like Rutgers, you are qualified to find all kinds of employment that pays well and can help get you out of debt and take care of your family.

Here is an answer I found online when I googled how do I raise my gpa after I graduated:

You can get a second BA, which if earned from your home university may take as little as one year -- if from another university, probably two years. You will have to enroll specifically for a second BA. I have known two people who did this, successfully, to raise their GPA and get into grad school. They also took the opportunity to do a major closely related to their chosen field for their second BA.

If you want to fight this, it will be hard to turn this around and you are likely facing more challenges but that doesn't mean there is no way out. Pull out the big guns - find someone high profile to advocate for you. Even a civil rights organization is a legitimate option. The college has a reputation and a self-interest in protecting it. Make them want to shut you up by giving you what you should have had to begin with - the opportunity to take definitive tests that prove your knowledge WITH ACCOMMODATIONS and raise your GPA just enough to qualify to become an educator.

What do you have to lose? It will be stressful but your entire future is at stake here. It's not a lost cause until you say it is. Reach out to Dr. Ed/Ned Hallowell, Dr. Russell Barkley and other high profile ADHD thought leaders and ask them to advocate for you. Why not you? Start a YouTube campaign. Yes, you will accused of lying, being a poor loser -- whatever. Maybe this has happened to ALOT of other people and you can all work together?

I know - who wants to incur more debt, right? But this is YOUR LIFE we're talking about. You have time to turn it around. Don't give up on yourself. You deserve better. I hope I don't sound condescending - please forgive me if there are things I don't understand. I just think you deserve better and I'd hate to see you give up.

LdeVose in reply to lkrportland

Wow!!! Condescending?!? Far from condescending, your response is affirmative and inspiring!

I will get on it NOW!!!

Stay tuned for the links.

lkrportland in reply to LdeVose

Oh I am SO GLAD!!!

LdeVose in reply to lkrportland


Great on you for taking action so quickly!! Some pointers:

Write yourself an outline of the points you want to say

You're rambling and telling way too many stories - Video shouldn't be more than 4 min long, 2 or 3 is better

BULLET POINT what you need people to know

Get to the point right away -- I was diagnosed at 48, finally understood what was going on with me, went back to college to better myself and give back to society via teaching. Because I have ADHD, I qualify to receive certain accommodations like more time to take tests, etc. (list a few so people understand you're not asking for a major hassle.) When I followed college proceedure this is waht happened:

they sat on my application,

they refused to help me

I couldnt' get the state or federal to respond - etc.

Don't talk about your depression - that's not what this is about - get legal advice about naming names in a public forum like this - you can be sued for libel and you can't prove anything. Doesn't work in your favor to do that.

Your ending was great - do you know anybody else this has happened to? nobody will care if we don't -- but you need to say it alot sooner so the video isn't just about you - it's about the principle of the situation. The way it comes across right now is one long series of complaints. N

Write it out first and practice a bit - you can still be natural but your ADHD is making you ramble and quite honestly blink alot, etc. Not your fault but you want to be as focused as possible on the video.

You could type up your outline, print it out in huge font and tape to tripod holding your phone. Also, be sure you phone is in the landscape position when you are filming, not vertical. That's why it has such a narrow visual field. Good thinking to wear a suit - brilliant!

Also. Read the book “the Icarus deception” by Seth Godin. He’s a fellow ADHDer that I’d say hit the nail on the head. Not sure if you know about Icarus but he was told not to fly too high. The untold part of the story is that he was also told not to fly too low.... he was being forced into bullshit societal norms based on the “typical” rather than the extraordinary.

Seth himself is an extraordinary author and his book is packed with inspiration, about being an artist- being ourselves. The mind of an overactive ADHDer, I have no doubt, is the mind that dreams up things like Star Wars, the mind that creates Disney worlds, paints the last supper, and invents the theory of relativity.

Celebrate that shit!!!!! It’s reality.

Hey - I haven't heard back from you -- did I deflate your enthusiasm with unwanted feedback? I should have mentioned that I was a marketing writer and have been surrounded by coaches of all types for the past 4 years, so I just slipped into that mode. I hope you keep going.

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