Written by: Chrissy Perone-Sunberg, M.Ed., AAC
Not all colleges are created equal when it comes to accommodations for students that have learning disabilities. When your student is in high school, they are protected by their IEP Plan. When they make the transition from high school to college, there are a few things you should know. While the protection of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is no longer available for college students, they are still able to receive appropriate academic accommodations via Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Before your student decides on the right University for him it’s important to do research and find out if the school has a solid program to provide necessary service and accommodations in academics, the residential experience, and campus access.
Every postsecondary institution by law should have a program on campus, but some are more established than others. Some offer a continuum of comprehensive services while others barely offer extended time on tests. Some schools may offer workshops to help students develop study and time management skills. They may have learning specialists with whom students can meet once a week in a one-on-one setting. They may provide more targeted academic advising than students’ regular academic advisor can offer. These services are above what the law requires, so while some schools provide these for free, others incorporate them under a well worth it special fee-for-service program.
There is no federal regulation indicating what type of documentation the college has to accept to prove that your student has a diagnosed learning disability. Some colleges, may require a diagnosis described in a detailed letter from a pediatrician or psychologist or an IEP or 504 plan. Some schools might ask that the student's treating professional complete a form.
Do your research.
Before you set up your tour, I recommend going on the University’s website to find out what type of accommodations are offered. If you are not able to locate the accommodations on-line you can call the department directly. The name may not be obvious. Below are some of the names schools’ call the office that administers accommodations:
Equity Learning Center
Access Academic Center
Access & Equity Learning Support
Diversity Academic Support
Learning Disabilities Special Programs
Learning Resource Center Academic Success Center
Click on the link below and check out some colleges that have well established programs for students with learning disabilities.
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