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Learning disabilities/ ADHD and College

Almost every college and university in the country has a Center for Students with Learning Disabilities with a mandate to help students with LD/ ADHD succeed in a college setting.  

If you (or your child) have been diagnosed with a learning disability or attention deficit disorder, you may be very familiar with (and exhausted by) the IEP and 504 process of securing services through the public school system.  The good news is that at most colleges, accessing accommodations is much easier and more straight forward.

How to access accommodations at college:

The first step is to contact the academic dean’s office and let them know you need accommodations.  They will typically refer you to the university’s Center for Students with Learning Disabilities.  

Each center has its own set of requirements for accepting students into their program.  Typically, universities will require a recent educational or neuropsychological assessment to document the presence of a disability.  If you (or your child) have not had an evaluation recently, typically you will need to have an updated one completed.  To avoid a gap in services, this should be done prior to beginning the freshman semester. Some colleges will allow provisional accommodations while students are undergoing an evaluation.

What are typical college level accommodations?

  1. A note taker, or access to professors’ notes to follow along with during lecture time.
  2. Books on iPod. (All textbooks and assigned literature are available as downloads on iPods.  For students with reading disabilities this is invaluable).
  3. Extended time for tests.
  4. Alternative format tests (for example, fill in the blank rather than multiple choice).
  5. Access to writing tutoring or drop in writing labs.
  6. Waiver of mathematics or foreign language requirements.

Some colleges also have specific programs to assist students with organization and time management.