Learning Disabilities and Colleges

October 27, 2015

College is such an exciting time.  Adjusting to a roommate, a new social life, independence, and of course, the ever popular dining hall food are just a few of the types of transitions late teens are expected to deal with upon entering college.  All of these social changes are done all while balancing a full college schedule.  Whew!

For many students these changes and transitions are completely doable and happen with ease.  However, students who have a disability- whether it is attention, reading or otherwise are grappling with a whole other set of issues.  Academic rigor, organization and focus are issues that were once the responsibility of the child’s guidance counselor, special education teacher or even mom and dad.  What then are the options  on busy and sometimes crowded campuses for learning disabled students?  Let’s look at the statistics facing learning disabled students and some tips on how to beat those odds.

Unfortunately, the statistics are a bit overwhelming when it comes to learning disabled students and higher education.   According to the National Center for Special Education Research just 34 percent of learning disabled students complete a four-year degree within eight years of finishing high school, compared to 56 percent of all students nationally. What are some suggestions from the special education experts on how to beat these odds?

  1. Learn to Advocate for Oneself– One of the hardest and best skills a student can learn in high school is how to advocate for their own education.  Teach and practice with your child how to ask for help and understand the needs that he/she will have in the classroom and at home studying.   Being able to tell a professor what the problem is will go a long way in getting the right help whether it s preferred seating or audio versions of the text books.
  2. Invest in Software and Tools – It is amazing the specialized tools available today from font type for dyslexia to time management apps.  Find out what needs you may have and research the type of tools that can help you attain your goals.
  3. Develop Workarounds – Find ways to adapt to the increased course load and style of learning.  For example go to two sections of the same class in order to give two opportunities to hear the same material. Or schedule classes so there is an hour after each class — while information is fresh — to go over notes.
  4. Find the Services at Your College – Make sure to know where the disability service office is at your school.  Don’t wait until you are behind to seek the help of the special education team at your school.  Bring in the correct documentation that can be passed along to the professors on what your disability is and how they can better help you succeed.
  5. Do Your Homework!  – Before deciding on a college or university find out which ones are best at handling special needs students.  Two resources that may help include: Understood ( A website for students with learning and attention issues.) Almost all colleges and universities provide some level of services and/or accommodations for learning disabled students, as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The colleges and universities listed below go a step further…they offer programs, some quite comprehensive, designed to support students with learning disabilities.(Source- http://www.college-scholarships.com/schools/colleges-with-programs-for-students-with-learning-disabilities/)

Abilene Christian University
Adelphi University
Albion College
Alfred University
American International College
American University
Anderson University
Andrew College
Augsburg College
Baylor University
Barry University
Beacon College
Boston University
California State University Fullerton
Centenary College
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Community College of Allegheny County
College of Charleston
College of Mount St. Joseph
College of St. Catherine
Columbia College – Chicago
Creighton University
Curry College
Dean College
De Paul University
Diablo Valley College
Dowling College
East Carolina University
Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Finlandia University
Gannon University
Hofstra University
Iona College
Iowa State University
Johnson State College
Kent State University
Landmark College
La Roche College
Lee University
Limestone College
Lincoln College
Long Island University/C.W. Post Campus
Loras College
Louisburg College
Lynn University
Manhattanville College
Marist College
Marshall University
Marymount Manhattan College
Menlo College
Mercyhurst College
Meredith College
Messiah College
Missouri State University
Mitchell College
Morningside College
Muskingum College
New York Institute of Technology
Nicholls State University
Northeastern University
Notre Dame College
Pacific University
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rocky Mountain College
Roosevelt University
St. Ambrose University
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
St. Michael’s College
Santa Monica College
Schreiner University
Southeast Missouri State University
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Southern Oregon University
Southern Vermont College
State University of New York College at Oneonta
Texas State University-San Marcos
Texas Tech University
University of Akron
University of Arizona
University of Connecticut
University of Denver
University of Indianapolis
University of Iowa
University of Memphis
University of Minnesota at Duluth
University of the Ozarks
University of Southern California
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Ursuline College
Waldorf College
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Westminster College
Xavier University