Although learning disabled students may encounter many challenges as they begin college, it is very possible for the determined ones to achieve their academic goals. When you join college as a freshman, you set foot in a completely different environment than the one you were used to in high school. You are expected to take on more personal responsibilities and depend less on other people especially on matters that directly affect you. Listed below are a number of things to do to succeed in college for students with a learning disability.
1. Identify and understand your disability
You need to find out everything you can about your disability. This will help you know more about your condition and understand it better. With the right type of information, it becomes easier to explain yourself to the school’s office of disability services and your instructors. You will be able to answer all questions to the satisfaction of those you are seeking services from.
2. Have the proper documentation for your disability
Having proof of learning disabilities makes it easier for you to seek services from the relevant offices. Upon joining college, you may or may not disclose your condition to the disabled student’s office, your peers or your lecturers. However, if you choose to, you may be required to show documents that support your claim. In this case, you will need to produce proper documentation filed by the professional who diagnosed you.
3. Enquire about the services provided at the college
When looking through a list of schools, it is important to find out about the services available to students with learning disabilities. Postsecondary institutions are required by law- more specifically- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAC), to provide reasonable accommodations to learning disabled students. Some of these accommodations include extended time for taking tests and technology aids.
4. When choosing classes, consider your learning needs
This means that you have got to take into consideration aspects such as size of the class and the time of day that the class is scheduled for. Depending on your needs, you may need a free hour before your next class to take in what you have covered in the just concluded class.
5. Balance your courses well
Seek the help of an academic advisor when choosing courses. This way, you can easily blend more demanding classes with less demanding courses to avoid being overwhelmed. For example, if you have reading and / or writing difficulty, you can opt for few courses that require wide reading and pick several others that require less reading or writing.
6. If you are seeking accommodations, do so as early as possible
As a student with learning disability, you may at one point need special attention from your instructors or the school’s office for disabled students. In order to avoid inconveniences weeks or months down the line, it is better to disclose your disability to the relevant persons immediately after joining college. This will enable them make provisions in time so that you don’t get left far behind by your peers.
7. Interact constantly with your professors and other college staff
As a learning disabled student, you need to have access to your instructors and other staff such as librarians for the best student support. If you have assignments that you don’t really know how to go about, you could seek clarification and guidance from the instructors early enough so that you don’t get stuck in one place when others are moving forward.
8. Understand your role and that of your professors
As a student, you are required to meet the standards of the various courses you are taking. For this reason, you are expected to put in extra work if you want good grades. You are also required to carry out assignments within the specified duration. It is therefore your duty to beat deadlines. Professors on the other hand can only make accommodations to some extent.
9. Focus on your strengths, then work with them
What are your strengths? Knowing areas that you do well in can help you succeed in college. For instance, if you always find it difficult to read on your own but can concentrate well in class, then listen keenly during lectures. This way, you get to understand better what is being taught and it becomes hard to forget whatever you learn.
10. Resolve to improve your organizational and time management skills
When in college, you begin to become independent and this includes managing time on your own. This is when the use of calendars, to-do lists and schedules becomes a big part of your daily life. To avoid forgetting details of school events or due dates for assignments, create a list of things to do and mark your calendar for when to submit the assignment, or when a particular event is scheduled for.
11. Come up with ways to accommodate yourself
As a student with learning disability, you may be required to work extra hard compared to your peers. For this reason, you can make use of all available resources that work to your advantage. This includes use of note takers, tutors and audio course books and also creating extra study time to go over your notes.
12. Don’t limit yourself
Acknowledging that you have a disability and taking charge of it shows that you have great potential to succeed just as everybody else. By choosing to be independent and not getting deterred by the condition, it shows that there’s no limit to what you can do and achieve as a student.
13. Strive to attend all classes
By attending classes on time and without fail, you get the opportunity to listen to lectures, take notes and complete all classes with the rest of your classmates. This way, you don’t fall behind in the curriculum and you get to finish college on time.
14. Join a learning disabled students’ group
If there’s a group for students with learning disabilities in your college, join. If there isn’t, start one. This group provides the perfect forum to meet fellow students who are also going through similar challenges as you. You acquire relevant information such as available technology, learning techniques and struggles that each member has to deal with and how they overcome their challenges.