Last week, Ms. Wandro and I attended a great Parents Education Network (PEN) event: it was a panel discussion featuring college students with learning and attention difficulties. Discussion topics included whether and how to disclose a learning disability; how the panelists determined the best fit and scope of support for their college choices; what they as student with learning and attention difficulties found when they arrived at college; and how to navigate and manage college life – both academically and socially. It was great to hear that their greatest piece of advice was simply self-advocacy: each student reported that his and her college professors were extremely receptive to their requests for accommodations in class and on tests. This is an increasing trend on college campuses–more and more schools have learning resource centers available for students with students with diagnosed learning differences, and these resources are there to support their learning throughout the college years and in many dimensions of college life. College professors are increasingly welcoming to the multimedia approaches necessary for the success of students with learning differences. It’s important to ask about the resources in place on college campuses as you visit colleges and start your college search; keep in mind that there are great things out there and you can–and should–expect to find support on a college campus.
All students on the panel are members of SAFE (Student Advisors for Education), which is a student community that strives to educate, mentor, and support students, parents and teachers regarding the challenges and strengths of LD and ADHD students. SAFE is a great organization and I highly recommend joining if you’re a student with learning differences who is looking for another community to belong to and another place where you can thrive.