Aug 12, 2013 0 Share

Driven to Distraction


Distracted male student in classroom.
iStockphoto

Last week, I wrote of my unusually optimistic nature when it comes to Cameron. This optimism was slightly foiled by a less than glowing review of his recent summer employment. Unfortunately, my declining optimism has spilled over to Cameron’s academic future.

Cameron has just completed a driver’s training course at a local community college. This course is unique in that it’s a course specifically for students with disabilities, and it’s taught by a special educator. As required in the course description, I attended the first day of class with Cameron, so that I could learn more about the requirements of being a mentor driver. This was the first time I had attended a full class with Cameron since he was in primary school. My experience that day in the classroom with Cameron altered my expectations for his postsecondary education.

I sat directly behind Cameron, whom I positioned right in front of the instructor, in the first row. I found myself tapping Cameron on the shoulder each time the instructor directed the students to retrieve a certain form from the provided folder. I found myself being one of “those parents” by filling out one of Cameron’s forms for him. (I cringed when the instructor caught me in the act of completing that form.) Even with just a view of the back of Cameron’s head, I witnessed his focus, which was meager at best, deteriorating to the epitome of distraction. And there, before my eyes, flashed the images Cameron auditing credit courses in community college, and gaining some insight from the course material without the pressure of receiving course credit. Yeah … that’s not likely to happen.

To add insult to the injury of my realization, I received a text from Cameron shortly after he had left for class one day last week. He had forgotten his course material, and asked me to bring it him on campus. And, while I was at it, could I also bring him something to write with? Really? I sighed, and contemplated the courier fee I would charge him for making the journey to campus for him ... Except, I was unable to locate the missing folder. Cameron found it in his desk when he arrived in the classroom. Organization and being prepared for class have never been areas of concern in Cameron’s academic history. Now that he’s a year away from postsecondary education, he’s all of a sudden struggling with the basics.

I really had not considered how difficult the transition from high school to postsecondary might be for Cameron. And I’m not sure what I can do to better prepare him for that transition. If he were to take courses at a community college, he’s going to be required to sit in a classroom for more than the 50 minutes of his high school courses. Most classes won’t meet every day, so there will be a different schedule depending on the day of the week. Not that I already had Cameron’s postsecondary situation nailed down, but now, after this driver’s training experience, I suddenly feel at a loss as to where to even begin. Apparently, I’m not the only one feeling the pressure. Cameron’s hyperactivity level reached new  heights these past few weeks. When I asked him about it, he said it was because of the commute on public transportation and the three hours in class. Good for him for being able to identify the stressors. But … if one class is stressing him out, what does the future hold for him?