I am seeking the collective wisdom of LRNASST to find a solution for a
thorny dilema:

We have a full-time day student whom I will call Joe; he is around 30
years old. He started about 6 years ago in our Associate's program in
Hotel & Restaruant Mgt. and then continued on for his Bachelor's in
Business Management. He is scheduled to graduate this May, if he passes
his currrent courses. Joe has epilepsy and other seizure disorders and
has been on and off various medications for years. His illness often
impacts his academic performance (in terms of attendance, meeting
deadlines, understanding criteria for assignments) but many of our
faculty know him quite well and tend to accommodate his situation. His
overall GPA is a 2.3 with grades ranging from D's to A's and B's. The
current problem relates to what seems to be a deterioration in his
overall cognitive functioning which is most evident in his performance in

Math has always been a problem for Joe, although ed plans from his high
school years merely indicate minor problems with arithmetic and do not
mention any type of learning disability. Although he is under a neurologist
's care, he has not had any recent psychoeducational evaluations. For the
Associate's degree, Business Math was the only math requirement, and he
passed that on the first try. The Bachelor degree requires algebra which
has become the bane of Joe's existence. He finally passed Algebra I with
a C- several semesters ago after having withdrawn during previous
semesters. (We suspect that the instructor took pity on him.) He has
failed Algebra II once and is now about to fail again. I must add that
Joe is resistant to any type of suggestions that could possibly help him
with math - he did not take Algebra II directly following Algebra I,
comes sporadically for tutoring, does not do homework on his own, does
not follow up on study skills suggestions, etc.

I have been tutoring him for the last few weeks (I've known him for his
entire time here) and he has not been making progress. There are problems
with short and long term memory, visual perception, motor skills,
linguistic processing, lack of Algebra I background information, you name
it! I don't see any way that he can pass the course, even in an
individual format, now or at a future time. Last year, Joe had an
experimental procedure (some type of electrode and drug delivery implant)
that according to him "removed part of his brain."

I definitely feel that his level of functioning (which was never that
strong) has seriously deteriorated even compared to last year, and that
the algebra is pure torture for him. We do have a waiver/substitution
policy but that comes into play only after Albegra II. (Algebra II is not
a difficult course; many students have covered this material in high
school.) A former VP of Academic Affairs (who has since left the college)
had already waived the next course, College Algebra, for Joe (bypassing a
number of procedures and policies in the process.)

Joe desperately wants to graduate and get on with his life, and we would
like to see him walk across that stage as well. Do any of you have any
suggestions? Sorry for the long post but I had to provide the background.


Sara d'Anjou
Director of Academic Support Services
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