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If your college freshman who is eligible for support refuses to contact the Office of Disability Services, know that you are not alone. Many students feel confident after their acceptance to college and graduation from high school. They may want to employ a “wait and see” approach as they enter a new system of education. There is so much that is new - adjusting to a new living situation, navigating locations of classes and even figuring out where to eat and how to operate a washing machine. Getting in touch with Disability Services may seem like a concern that is farther down the list. You cannot make an appointment for them. You can, however, make sure that their most recent evaluation is mailed to the Office of Disability Services.

Before you go off the deep end worrying that flunking out is inevitable, consider how the post-secondary experience is different from the K through 12 years. First of all, colleges and universities want the students who come to campus to graduate in a reasonable amount of time. Administrators also recognize that students come from high schools that vary in emphasis, so not everyone has the same skill set when they arrive on campus. There is assistance available to all students. Any student can meet with their professor, and they are encouraged by their instructors to do so. Instructors post office hours so students can come in and discuss class material or challenges. Lectures and PowerPoint presentations for classes are frequently posted on the professor’s website.

Tutoring is available to any student, and it is usually free! Sometimes tutoring is arranged through individual department, such as Chemistry, English or Math. On some campuses, there is a “Writing Center,” for example, that will tutor students who have challenges in organizing and editing research papers and essays. Counseling is available through the college Counseling Center, if a student is struggling with anxiety or depression.

Successful students with LD and or ADHD already know how to advocate for themselves and work hard; that won’t change in college.   

Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Mulcahey at mmulcahey@springer-ld.org.

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