- What services levels are available at the college level?
- What testing do I need for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity documentation?
- What testing do I need for learning disability documentation?
- What is a learning disability?
- What is a processing problem?
- What does it mean when someone tells me my child learns better through auditory or visual channels?
- Does my child need to be a strong reader to attend college?
- How does Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder impact my student’s ability to be successful in college?
- What is Section 504?
- What is an Individualized Educational Program (IEP)?
- Does my student need an IEP for college?
- What is the Americans with Disabilities Act and how will it impact my student?
- What should I do to make sure my student is ready for college?
What services levels are available at the college level?Top ↑
Comprehensive programs are well defined, fee-based programs staffed by specially trained personnel. Students meet a minimum of once a week throughout the semester/school year to receive help with executive functioning, writing, and content area skills in addition to getting help setting up accommodations and technology supports. Program services vary widely in terms of the number of times a student is seen from daily to weekly, but students are assigned specific appointment times and attend just as they would any other class.
Specific services programs for students with learning disabilities also involve regular, but less frequent meetings, with a variety of personnel who may or may not have special training in working with students with learning disabilities. Students must be good advocates and be pro-active when they need assistance. Students must make their own appointments to meet with appropriate personnel, and must self advocate with their professors to receive accommodations.
Every student’s accommodations are determined on an individual basis by the recommendations that accompany their documentation, and are based upon the findings their testing substantiates. Some of the most frequently used are: extended time on tests (anywhere from 1.5 to unlimited time), notetaker in class, a reader for tests, larger print, tape recorder in class, a computer for writing, frequent breaks while test taking, and a quiet place to take exams.
What testing do I need for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity documentation?Top ↑
To document an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a student must submit a current report (no more than three years old) based on the results of a comprehensive evaluation by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist experienced in the area of ADHD. The report must include the following information:
•A clear statement of a diagnosis of ADHD and the level of severity.
•Identification of procedures and measures used to make the diagnosis.
•Summary of a thorough diagnostic interview with relevant information about the individual’s history, including evidence of early onset, and symptoms across multiple settings.
•Description of current symptoms that meet diagnostic criteria.
•Ruling out of alternative diagnoses or explanations for the symptoms.
•Analysis of evaluation results, including relevant test data, to substantiate the diagnosis.
•Explanation of how current symptoms cause significant functional limitations in a college environment.
•Recommendations for appropriate accommodations to help compensate for the ADHD, with a rationale for each one.
What testing do I need for learning disability documentation?Top ↑
Documentation must support the need for requested accommodation(s), and must
•state the diagnosed disability.
•be current, within the last 3 years, be a complete IQ test, and utilize the most recently normed testing instrument.
•include complete educational, developmental, and medical history relevant to the disability for which accommodations are being requested.
•describe the functional limitations resulting from the disability and list the tests or techniques used to arrive at the diagnosis of the disability (include evaluation date[s] and test results with relevant subtest scores).
•describe the specific accommodations requested.
•state why the disability qualifies the applicant for such accommodation(s) in a college environment.
•be typed or printed on official letterhead and signed by an official evaluator qualified to make the diagnosis (include information about license or certification and area of specialization). (Ahead.org)
What is a learning disability?Top ↑
The symptoms of learning disabilities are a diverse set of characteristics which affect development and achievement. Some of these symptoms can be found in all children at some time during their development. However, a person with learning disabilities has a cluster of these symptoms which do not disappear as she/he grows older. (LDA.org.)
What is a processing problem?Top ↑
The types of LD are identified by the specific processing problem they address. They might relate to input or getting information into the brain, organization or making sense of this information, memory or storing and later retrieving this information, or output or getting this information back out for utilization. The specific types of processing problems that result in an LD diagnosis might be in one or more of these four areas. (LDA.org)
What does it mean when someone tells me my child learns better through auditory or visual channels?Top ↑
Auditory Perceptional Difficulties
An individual might have difficulty distinguishing subtle differences in sound (called phonemes) or might have difficulty distinguishing individual phonemes as rapidly as the normal population. Either problem can result in difficulty processing and understanding what is said. The person may have difficulty identifying what sound(s) to listen to when there is more than one sound present.
Visual Perceptional Difficulties
An individual might have difficulty distinguishing subtle differences in shapes (called graphemes). They might rotate or reverse letters or numbers (d, b, p, q, 6, 9); thus misreading the symbol. Some might have a figure-ground problem, confusing what figure(s) to focus on from the page covered with many words and lines. They might skip words, skip lines, or read the same line twice. Others might have difficulty blending information from both eyes to have depth perception. They might misjudge depth or distance, bumping into things or having difficulty with tasks where this information is needed to tell the hands or body what to do. Students with visual perception problems often are poor readers. (LDA.org)
Does my child need to be a strong reader to attend college?Top ↑
Colleges have many types of accommodations to help students more easily obtain information presented in the written word. Students can use various forms of adaptive technology such the Kurzweil Educational System (you scan in the material and the computer reads it to the student) to help them more easily obtain the information they need to participate in their classes. Many students who do not read well are obtaining four year and professional degrees.
How does Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder impact my student’s ability to be successful in college?Top ↑
Many students in high school with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder have developed systems that have helped them stay organized. Because their support systems will be changing, college will put new pressures on these skills and present new challenges. We have found the most efficient way for students to adapt and develop the systems they need for successful college learning is to meet with a disability specialist until they have their adapted systems firmly in place. It often takes a very short time before the students to adapt, but they can utilize these services, if offered, for all four years.
What is Section 504?Top ↑
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides academic accommodations for students who do not qualify for full services under the Individuals Disabilities Education Act. Students often do not see a learning specialist, but receive accommodations such as extended time on tests, the use of a computer for test taking, or a note-taker, depending on what their documentation recommends.
What is an Individualized Educational Program (IEP)?Top ↑
An IEP is a legal document that states what academic, physical and social issues the school will address with a student in the current calendar year, who will provide the instruction, and what amount of instruction time will be provided by each provider. Goals must be set and measured and the student, by law, must make measured progress. A new IEP is written for each academic year K-12. IEP’s are not utilized in college.
Does my student need an IEP for college?Top ↑
No. The IEP is a tool of the Individual Disability Education Act and becomes obsolete as soon as the student graduates from high school. Colleges rarely if ever, want to see this document.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act and how will it impact my student?Top ↑
The Americans with Disabilities Act is the law which insures that no person is discriminated against because of their disability. It provides for standard accommodations that will level the “playing field” for a student to be successful in college and beyond. This law provides for accommodations that range from ramp accessibility into buildings to alternative format for written material, and must be substantiated with documentation.
What should I do to make sure my student is ready for college?Top ↑
The most important tools that a student can be provided with is a clear understanding of his/her learning strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to advocate for themselves. He/She must know in which areas they will need help and where to access help at college. Working on simple life skills such as getting up in the morning by themselves, taking medication on their own, doing their laundry and managing their checking account can be key to student success at college.