Deerfield educators help students with learning disabilities find the right college
Imy Wax (left) and Marybeth Kravets are the authors of K & W Guide To College Programs and Services for Students with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD, which last fall was published in its 11th edition by The Princeton Review and Random House. | Jackie Pil
Updated: February 28, 2013 2:18PM
DEERFIELD — Marybeth Kravets and Imy Wax have always shared a passion: helping students with learning disabilities find the right match when it comes to college.
Kravets and Wax are co-authors of the book, K & W Guide To College Programs and Services for Students with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD, which last fall was published in its 11th edition by The Princeton Review and Random House.
“At least 10 percent of college-bound students have identified disabilities,” said Kravets, who holds a masters degree in guidance and counseling, and who spent 31 years as the college counselor at Deerfield High School until she retired in 2010, “More students have been diagnosed over the years because we’ve gotten better at identifying issues and providing services and accommodations to help students develop compensatory skills and deal with those challenges to be successful in life.”
It all started in 1989. Wax was a therapist who specialized in working with children with learning disabilities. She was also a parent volunteer at Deerfield High School, and her daughter, Debrah, had learning disabilities.
In working together at the high school, Kravets and Wax decided that when it came to choosing a college, there wasn’t enough information for families who had children with learning disabilities. So, they spent the next two years contacting hundreds of schools, gathering information, and writing a sourcebook, which they ended up self-publishing.
“I went around to different publishing houses and I was told there was no market for this kind of book,” said Wax, an LCPC who holds an MS from Hunter College. “We felt strongly that there was, so we self-published.”
Ten editions later, K & W Guide To College Programs and Services is a highly-acclaimed resource by professionals in the field all over the world.
K & W Guide To College Programs and Services is a resource book comprised of detailed information about 350 schools that either have structured programs, comprehensive services or federally-mandated services. It also provides contact information for 1,000 other colleges for students with learning disabilities.
“So much of it is how to search for the right match,” said Kravets, who is currently the chief education officer for Chicago Scholars, an organization that provides college preparation support programs for Chicago students. “It also includes what questions you should ask, and how to come up with a list of priorities, as well as lots of advice from parents, students and specialists who have experience in the field.”
“A learning disability is the way you interpret the world,” said Wax, who with her husband, Howard, moved to Deerfield 30 years ago and raised their family here. “It does not mean you cannot be successful. If you understand the learning disability, you can use this book to make a better match with a college program because you will understand what the programs are offering.”
Kravets, who has lived in Deerfield since 1971, and who with her husband, Alan, raised their children here, said the reason for so many new additions of the book is because they have to stay current and provide the latest information as college programs, laws and society changes.
Kravets recently accepted a position as a college counselor with Wolcott School in Chicago, a new high school for students with learning disabilities.
As for Wax, she continues her private and consulting practices, and travels around the country visiting colleges to learn about learning disability programs.
Wax’s daughter, Debrah is now 37 years old, and is a successful business owner and a graduate of New England College in New Hampshire.
“Every parent who has a child with a learning disability needs to know there is a future,” said Wax, “If you believe, your child will believe, too.”