College Learning Disabilities

Before even reading this article it is important to note that no matter the severity of a student’s learning disability they will run into obstacles in college. Even students who breezed through high school and rarely thought about their disability will find it an obstacle in college. Therefore, no matter how easy a student thinks college will be for them, they should follow the suggestions bellow.

Before even applying to college a student should keep their disability in mind. They should check the quality of the disability office of all schools they are considering. Often this can be done by simply looking at the office of disabilities website on the school’s website. As soon as a student gets decides on the college they are going to attend, the student and their parents should contact the disabilities office and find out what documentation of their disability is required. Often tests need to be updated (generally they can not be older than three years) and new evaluations made. Schools do not do this to make the process cumbersome, but rather because students tend to change over time and a diagnosis older than three years may no longer be correct.

At some point early in the school year (or before it if the school’s office of disabilities allows) the student should meet with the office of disabilities to discuss their accommodations. The student should come to the meeting with a list of accommodations they think will be necessary to a successful college career. When making this list the student should keep in mind that they made need different accommodations then they did in high school. For example a student with ADHD may not have needed to take tests in a separate, quieter area, but since college classes are larger, and therefore louder, a student may find this accommodation a necessity. The student should continually ask for the assistance of the office of disabilities. If at any point during their college career they feel that they need different accommodations or that a professor is being unfair in giving accommodations the student should contact the office of disabilities right away.

While these are the steps that should be followed if a student has a learning disability, many students wait until the first week of college to address the situation. If you happen to be one of these students talk to your disabilities office right away. Often they can offer interim accommodations with little evaluation. These accommodations will suffice until you can get the necessary tests and evaluations done.