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Learning Disabilities in College - Successful Strategies for LDs in College

Strategies and Success in College with LDs, Practical Tips for LDs in College


Updated June 27, 2014

Beautiful woman studying in university lobby
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Congratulations! You and your child have met the challenge of navigating the school system with a learning disability and have made it to college!

College is an exciting time in your young adult's life. With it comes excitement and concern. After all, you no longer have the support system of IEP teams, evaluation professionals, or an Individual Education Program for the learning disability. Be assured, however, there are things you and your child can do that will help her be successful in college with a learning disability. These tips will help you learn about your child's rights in college, develop powerful study strategies, write better essays, and plan A+ presentations.

Learn your Rights under Section 504 - Helping your child understand his rights and how to advocate for himself is critical for his success in college despite having a learning disability. Learn about the specific federal laws that apply to public colleges and universities receiving federal funds, services of the Office for Civil Rights, and disability benefits from the Social Security Administration that may apply to students with severe learning and/or sensory disabilities such as deafness or visual impairments.

Academic Strategies - College can be intimidating for someone with a learning disability. With the mountains of books a student must digest to the professors with personality issues (which are thankfully few), most students become frustrated with college at one time or another. These strategies can help you tackle the toughest challenges of academia.

Learn about Campus Resources -

  • Meet with your academic adviser to learn about study resources on your college campus. Ask specifically about tutoring services and writing supports available through the college or from private providers in the area. Ask if assistance is available to students with a learning disability.
  • Get to know the campus disability coordinator. In most cases, your academic adviser or Dean of Students Office can provide you with contact information for the disability coordinator. The disability coordinator may be able to provide you with resources to help you with academics and advocacy.
  • Learn about the academic ombudsman. The ombudsman may help you negotiate with professors on disability issues in the event a professor discriminates or you are placed in an unfair situation.
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