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College students with learning disabilities need extra support at college

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 6th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Students with learning disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD face special challenges when they go off to college. Many students will be moving out of their parents' home and onto a busy college campus with new academic workloads and a multitude of social and extracurricular events. Staying organized and focused can be extra challenging.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Clinical psychologist Kathleen G. Nadeau, the author of "Survival Guide for College Students with ADHD or LD," says that support from others is the key to success. She says these students will special needs shouldn't get discouraged. Find a learning coach or a tutor to help you with picking classes, creating a study schedule and planning.

These students should also schedule their time wisely. With more unscheduled time and lots of extracurricular activities in college, it can be easy to fall behind in coursework. Set aside 15 minutes daily to map out the day. Be realistic about the time your tasks will take, and remember to schedule in breaks and adequate sleep.

Those with learning disabilities should also plan ahead, especially for final projects and tests that are a big part of your grade.

In order to absorb coursework, learn how you learn. By figuring out how you learn you can better understand, absorb and retain material much more effectively. Figure out if you are a visual, auditory or hands-on learner,

Also, be an active learner. When reading for class, the student should stop themselves and ask: "What does this remind me of? What is the main point?" By associating new facts with things you already know, you improve your memory and understanding.

It's also important to find a study place that is distraction-free, such as the library stacks or alone in your dorm room. Your study area should be clutter free, and make a task list of the things you need to get done and keep it in your work space.

Above all, dig in and get tasks done when they occur. Fear of failure or feeling overwhelmed are some of the main reasons that students procrastinate. If you have difficulty getting started, don't be afraid to talk to the professor or a tutor.

More importantly, if the student has clear cut obstacles in the way, ask if your professor can help accommodate your needs. "If you ask in advance, often you can get text and assignments recorded. And it's always a good idea to talk to your professor about your specific challenges. For example, if multiple-choice questions are difficult for you to understand, you could ask to complete short-answer questions instead," Nadeau writes.

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