To my wonderful Readers,
It’s a great joy to start writing again. I didn’t disappear. I was busily attempting a grad program, but have now realized that it isn’t the right one for me.
I’m not comfortable in a social work setting, unless the whole program can be research or policy. Could someone with NLD have a social work career? Absolutely. I have no doubts, but I’d say the program must be NLD-adaptable.
Sad to report that mine was not. I remain enrolled in a statistics course at my local community college, and am pleased that it’s going pretty well. This course is based on inferential stats rather than heavy calculations; excel is saving my life.
I did the right things in communicating with my grad program. I heavily documented NLD and its effects on the number of classes I could take, and on internship work, but the department’s initial “we’ll work with you” song and dance was just that. When I needed help, it was not provided. I tried out a social work internship where it was my job to help clients find social support, kind of like being a case manager. This meant doing interviews by myself, and while I could, it definitely capitalized on my shortcomings. People say “Are you OK” to me all the time. On an individual level, I can take these comments, albeit with some annoyance. Yet social workers are expected to be relationship-builders, and I just wasn’t feeling it.
My public university department would not allow me to cut back my schedule sufficiently and gave no option except to withdraw. They also didn’t show empathy as to my inability to drive.
I’m glad to be planning new career directions now, and hope to finish some of my projects, but it’s never fun to try something and have it not work out. I’m planning to apply to some library science programs instead, and to add on a second degree or certificate to enhance my employability. I also plan to finish a certificate I started awhile ago, in paralegal studies. All are better fits than social work for me. However, if the department had supported my learning needs, I may have reached a different conclusion. Some ways a program can help a student with NLD:
-Allowing a student to take 2 courses only if the student is taking a math course (and include the math course as one of the two)
-Modifying client service internship expectations so that student has team rather than solo client contact
-Having internship director or professor in close contact with office supervisor from the get-go
-Allowing student to make up internship and/or course hours in the summers as a routine practice
My program offers many of its courses just once a year. If I could do it again, I would’ve picked a different one!