Learning Disabilities: Tips For Success
All students entering college for the first time face new challenges. However, for a student with a learning disability, making these adjustments successfully can have a much greater impact on his or her academic success and quality of life. The following are suggested strategies for coping with common problems that are often faced by students with learning differences.
- Plan Ahead
Think about your strengths and weaknesses when choosing your courses. If you are a slow reader, make sure not to take too many heavy reading classes at once. During the year, if you have a number of large projects, create a time line and set dates for when each segment of a given project will be completed. Doing work at the last minute can be especially difficult for LD students. Calendars and day-planners can be very helpful when used this way. Some students even start reading before the start of the school year if they know it's going to be an especially rough semester. Click here to access online course information for Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore.
- Be Aware of Limits
There is only so much that anyone can do in a day. This is especially true for students with learning disabilities. Keep this in mind when signing up for student clubs and other activities. Also remember that it may take you longer to finish an assignment than some of your peers and you may have to start working on assignments before they do. This can be especially hard when friends want to hang out and don't understand why you need to start working early.
- Stay Organized
Being organized can make a huge difference in anyone's academic life. Make sure to keep files in which to put important papers, both personal and academic. Create a system for keeping track of assignments and meetings. (Day-planners work great for this!) Also make sure that your workspace is clean and free from anything that might be distracting.
- Know Your Own Learning/Studying Style
Experiment with working in different environments (various noise types/levels, with/without other people, different times/places, etc.) to find out how you study best. Ultimately only you can know this. It often takes some time to figure it out, but keep working at it; it can make a big difference!
- Understand Your Learning Differences
Join/start a LD support group and do research on your own to find out more about your disability. Many LD students find hearing the similarities in other people's struggles, successes, and experiences to be very helpful. It can't be stressed enough how important this can be.
- Keep in Dialog with Your Professors and ODS
If things start to get out of hand, don't wait until it is too late to do anything about it. Talk to your professors and to the Coordinator of Disabilities Services. They may be able to help you brainstorm some solutions to your problem.
- Take Advantage of Campus Resources
Don't forget that you are surrounded by helping hands. There are always free tutors in any subject, great proofreaders at the writing center, and many other resources as well. For more information on these programs, see the section entitled Assistive Technology.