Learning Disabilities

Overcoming obstacles and exceeding expectations

Students with learning disabilities have a different college experience from their classmates. They often must work much harder to achieve the same level of success. Luckily, every year more and more colleges are beginning to offer support programs for students with learning disabilities. This has led to an unprecedented number of LD students enrolled in post-secondary education.

Overcoming Your Disability

If you’re a student with a learning disability, the best advice anyone can give you is to stay positive, never doubt yourself and be flexible. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t understand the way your professor teaches. Instead, try to find a way to learn that fits how you think. It won’t be easy, but students with learning disabilities can excel in college.

The following strategies can help propel you toward success:

  • Structure your life. Try to get as organized as you can. Plan out your days and weeks. Set goals. Make sure that you go to every lecture so that you don’t get behind.
  • Know your abilities and limits. You may have to approach your courses in a different way than other students. If you need more time to read an article or study for an exam, make sure you get a head start on your classmates. Don’t fill your schedule with courses that give you the most trouble. Make sure to mix in some classes that you’re strong in to balance the ones that you’re weak in. Consider taking less than a full-time course load.
  • Talk to your professors. At the beginning of every semester, introduce yourself to your instructors. Make sure they know about your unique situation. Ask them if they’re able to offer any advice or special course materials that can help you.
  • Make full use of the services available. Most colleges offer special accommodations to students with a learning disability, such as note sharing, tape recorder loans, more time to write tests and even tutoring. Go to your college’s student services office and let them know about your situation. Make sure that you can provide your school with the documentation necessary to prove your eligibility for such services (you’ll probably need a note from a licensed professional).
  • Find others like you. Your campus may have a support group where students with learning disabilities can talk about their experiences and help each other. If no such group exists, consider starting one.
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