1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

having a learning disability

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by AnnaB, May 11, 2002.

  1. AnnaB

    AnnaB Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2001
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Everyone,
    I know this was a topic not so long ago, but I can't quite remember the general concensus. Recently I was tested for a learning disability based on a professor's recommendation. I took a battery of tests---results: I have a learning disability. I wanted to know if this is not such a great thing to have on my academic record...and if it will affect me at all when it comes time to apply to medical school. The recommendations for me were that I ought to have 50% more time on exams. My tester also told me that when it comes time to sit for the MCAT it will again be an issue. Does anyone know the best way to handle all of this? Will some med schools look upon this as unfavorable? Any input would be greatly appreciated??? Does anyone else have a learning disability and can share thoughts/experiences??? Thanks. Anna
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. ckent

    ckent Membership Revoked
    Removed

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    2,138
    Likes Received:
    1
    If your undergrad is a "good" school, they shouldn't indicate anywhere that you needed extra time to take all of your exams so the only places that it will come up is with the MCAT. If you need to take the extra time with the MCAT, you should take it because the MCAT is an extremely time oriented test and if you really do have a problem with these types of test, your score will not be reflective of what you actually know. Unfortunately, some med schools will look upon your having extended time on the MCAT unfavorably. Legally, they are not allowed to ask you why you needed to have extra time on the MCAT and they will have accomadate you when you are taking tests at their school, but some med schools have tricky ways of asking (like "is there anything you want to tell us about your MCAT score?") I had a friend in college with a LD, he got a 39-45 (range score, perfect score for that MCAT) but got rejected from his state schools, all of the U of Illinois'. He did get into Wash U Med, so it's not like every school will be discriminatory, but there are definitely some out there.
     
  4. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2000
    Messages:
    1,740
    Likes Received:
    17
    Anna, I replied to your question in the OPM forum. PM me if you have any questions!
     
  5. Ai

    Ai Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2001
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi there,

    I spent the past year working at a clinic for people with learning disabilities. Depending on what the area of challenge is, getting treatment may help you. I can't imagine you will be discriminated against when applying to schools, but cognitive therapy might help make it easier for you when you are in med school. What type of difficulties do you have? Where did you get tested?
     
  6. AnnaB

    AnnaB Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2001
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi All,
    thanks for the replies...and Nanon I did get your post...thank you. I went to my school's student support services/academic counseling center. I told them that I was interested in being tested for a learning disability at a prof's suggestion. I was administered the WAIS-III and the Bender-Gestalt. The examiner was a man who is a licensed clinical professional counselor who specializes in psych testing. My results (according to him) were that I have a high IQ but have a learning disability related to "working memory" and "processing speed." The Bender revealed an "indication of potential problem with memory." The examiner attached a sheet at the end of his report stating that "special test accomodations need to be made" and that he recommends 50% additional time on all exams. It has been suggested that I also take the Nelson/Denny reading test and weschler memory scale. I don't know guys....this all seems so foreign to me...and the last thing I want to do is hurt my chances of getting into medical school. At the same time though, I can never understand how I do poorly on certain exams after studying forever and putting forth so much effort. This is why my prof suggested this. Now I'm not sure what to do about the MCAT. Thanks for listening. Anna
     
  7. AnnaB

    AnnaB Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2001
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    By the way, I was also told that there isn't anything I can do for my disability really. I was told that it's just a function that my brain does not have...and it's not something I can learn or obtain. I asked, believe me. Anna
     
  8. DrMom

    DrMom Official Mom of SDN
    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2002
    Messages:
    43,317
    Likes Received:
    20
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by AnnaB:
    <strong>My results (according to him) were that I have a high IQ but have a learning disability related to "working memory" and "processing speed." The Bender revealed an "indication of potential problem with memory</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Please don't take this personally, but since you have problems with memory and speed how do you plan to compensate for this during medical school (with the large amounts of information to memorize at a rapid rate and the need to answer questions on the spot)?

    Just an honest question.
     
  9. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2000
    Messages:
    1,740
    Likes Received:
    17
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by AnnaB:
    <strong>By the way, I was also told that there isn't anything I can do for my disability really. I was told that it's just a function that my brain does not have...and it's not something I can learn or obtain. I asked, believe me. Anna</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">In my experience, in some ways, this is true. I will always have difficulty with math, I will always have to work a little harder than my classmates. But, on the other hand, there ARE ways to study more effectively in areas you have LD's, using skills you do have.

    I also have some short-term memory problems. Instead of just relying on flash cards, I use other strategies to increase the speed between short-term and long-term memory. For instance, I make songs out of lists. In o'chem, every reaction and synthesis had a complex love story behind it. In math, I just threw the numbers out and manipulated letters to stand in for numbers. I also color-coded my equations in physics. Red was for momentum, blue for torque equations, and so on. Lastly, I did a LOT of tutoring for my classmates. They would come over to my house on weekends, and with my chalkboard, I would take turns with them teaching the material we learned that week. Nothing reinforces memory like trying to explain it to someone else. If I can't get a study group together now, I try to write down the information like I'm trying to get someone else to understand it.

    Hope this helps, too! There are ways to deal with this... it isn't hopeless.

    Nanon
     
  10. Ai

    Ai Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2001
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    0
    Anna, I just PM'ed you.

    That's really interesting what Nanon said about color coding. That is one of the things that is focused on in the programs at our clinic. It is thought that people with poor memory and difficulty with comprehension don't make pictures in their head the way other people do. For example, if I hear the sentence "the cat pounced on the mouse" it automatically creates an image in my mind that is representative of what I just heard or read. I can tell you what color the cat and mouse are in my picture, what the setting is, etc. For people with certain types of learning disabilities this does not happen automatically. It is therefore much more difficult to get the gestalt of a story or remember something because there is nothing to hold onto. Treatment focuses on teaching people's brains to do this automatically. Picturing in color helps reinforce this.

    Do have hope. As Nanon says, there are ways to help yourself. :)
     
  11. BrianU

    BrianU Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2001
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    0
    I suggest you try the book titled, "The Memory Book" by Harry Lorayne & Jerry Lucas. Not only will your memory improve, but you'll be able to perform feats that are impressive to say the least.
     
  12. starplayer

    starplayer Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2001
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,
    I just thought I'd put in my 2 cents...
    I don't believe in learning disabilities...well, they exist, but not for individuals who bust their butts and make it this far. I call it a mental block..that is what keeps you from thinking fast enough or remembering things, you need to clear your mind from everything, try yoga. To say you have a learning disability is extreme. If you've made it this far, YOU DON'T HAVE A LEARNING DISABILITY. I was asked many times to get tested for a LD because my MCAT scores were really low, I just learned to focus more and I was able to improve my scores. Disregard what this "professional" has told you since that will create an even bigger mental block for you while testing. Again, my opinion..take it as you will.
    Good luck!
    -star
     
  13. AnnaB

    AnnaB Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2001
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd like to thank everyone for their opinions. The beautiful thing about the SDN is being able to get different perspectives on a variety of topics...which is great.
    Let me say however, that while I wonder abut the true nature of what might be wrong with me academically, I do believe that learning disabilites exist. There are many many people out there who have deficits...and the majority of people will simply not accept this idea and consider those deficits something to blame on the part of the individual who has them. There is more to what is going on for me than "mental block." But I like to hear others' perspectives nonetheless.
    For those of you who may wonder about my ability to be successful in medical school..let me remind you that a learning disbility will not limit me if I have anything to do with it. Medical schools WILL accept those with disbilities and it is ignorant to believe that although there will be struggles, success cannot be achieved. George Washington could barely read or write, Woodrow Wilson was dyslexic, Thomas Edison didn't read until 12 years old, Einstein was 3 before he could read, and Steven Hawking....well, everyone knows about him. All had learning disabilites (minus Steven Hawking who had Lou Gehrigs)...and all achieved greatness. I'm writing this because it's important for those of you who seem to have negative ideas about learning disabilites to better understand what's going on. I've experienced a lot of prejudice..and I'm only hoping to get others to understand more. thanks for all the input everyone!! best of Luck, Anna
     
  14. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2000
    Messages:
    1,740
    Likes Received:
    17
    Anna, well said. I'd add that I personally know many VERY successful dyslexics in medical school. The key to their success is compensation. One woman I know (who's freakin scary brilliant), relies mostly on auditory memory, and abreviates almost everything she writes. She relies heavily on group study, like I do, to get through her classes. Other med students also rely on color coding and other ways to group together information to get it into long term memory faster. These techniques aren't JUST used by people with LD's, but they really help out if you do have a deficit.

    Starplayer - Having a LD doesn't mean that you aren't bright. And smart people who are diagnosed with a LD aren't always just lazy, or suffering from some over-all mental block. I have a deficit in one area, and only one - math. And not just any old math, because word problems present absolutely no problem to me. My math GPA, even after countless (and I do mean countless) hours of studying, is about 2.7. My GPA in the sciences in general (bio, chem, ochem and physics)? About 3.5. All other? 3.8. Because I've had to take more math than any other subject, just to catch up, I've got an overall gpa of about 3.2 right now, which doesn't at all reflect my intelligence, or the amount of work I've put into my education. And by the way, I've been doing yoga for years... <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    Just my .02,

    Nanon
     
  15. Ai

    Ai Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2001
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Anna,

    I sent you a private message a few days ago. :)
     

Share This Page