Plenty of high school students with dyslexia go on to attend college and build successful careers. So, while the learning disability may make some aspects of college life a bit more challenging, it has nothing to do with intelligence or the overall ability to learn in a lecture or lab setting. Sure, reading, notetaking, and taking written exams might prove a bit tricky, but overall, with the right support, dyslexic students can be very successful on a college campus. The trick lies in finding the best colleges for students with dyslexia. A combination of available tutoring or coaching, as well as student support services, are required in order for everything to work cohesively.
Here are some helpful steps to selecting a college where your dyslexic child can thrive.
1) Check with Their High School Guidance Counselor
In order to find the best college for a student with dyslexia, start by asking your child’s guidance counselor. Part of the job of a high school guidance counselor is to keep track of the different college options for students who have special needs, especially if they have an IEP in place. These counselors know plenty of information about local colleges and the support they offer students with dyslexia, and they can provide you with a list to get you started.
2) Come Prepared with an IEP and Additional Documentation
Students with dyslexia often have an IEP that will follow them to college. Many colleges will accept IEPs but require additional documentation. This individualized education program will outline the supports they needed in high school, as well as the ones that they’ll need throughout their college career. While touring different schools, make sure to visit their accessibility programs to speak to someone there. If you have your student’s IEP with you, ask an employee to review it with you, so they can give you a clear answer as to whether they can fully support your child’s specific needs. Even with an IEP from their high school career, universities go through an interactive process to develop a new accessibility plan for the collegiate level.
3) Know Your Child’s Strengths and Struggles
Every individual with dyslexia is different. No two students have the exact same strengths and struggles. Some might have very nice handwriting, but struggle with reading issues, while others can read just fine – and quickly, at that – but have problems expressing their thoughts clearly in writing. It all boils down the individual student and what they need help with. By knowing where they’ll be able to succeed and what parts of college life they’ll need assistance with, you can ask all the right questions while determining the best college for them to attend. You may find that out of a list of ten different schools, only four will fulfill your child’s needs. And that’s completely okay, because then, you know the ones to focus on.
4) Make Sure the School Has the Right Supports in Place
Thanks to ADA/ADAAA requirements, colleges must have a functioning learning support team. At Dean College, the Morton Family Learning Center is fully equipped with everything from tutoring services to additional programs that will help college students with dyslexia do the very best they can on a college campus. For example, if the school allows it, course lectures can be recorded and listened to again later, so students can get a second chance to absorb the information or reference it later when studying for a test. In other cases, designated student note-takers can copy their course notes and send them to students who may have issues taking notes in class while simultaneously trying to absorb the content. It all depends on the specific needs of each student, and schools make these decisions on a case by case basis. These accessibility services are designed for those who need extra help, and here at Dean College, we’re ready to help your student thrive!
Learn more about Dean College Morton Family Learning Center.