University Business - May 2012 - (Page 36)

By Ron Schachter StudentS Welcome Special centers at colleges and universities are making a positive difference for a growing student population. “More of these students believe they can succeed, so more have applied,” he notes. And colleges are more aware that these students can do quite well, with the right help. The learning problems for these undergrads range from ADHD and dyslexia to dyscalculia (the dyslexic equivalent of dealing with mathematics). Students receive ongoing, often daily support to navigate the regular college curriculum, with an emphasis on individualized learning techniques. For generations, untold numbers of people with these very disabilities, many without knowing they had them, have attended and graduated college and pursued successful careers. But, experts in the field say, even greater numbers may not have made it to— or through—an undergraduate career. Academic resource centers, study skills help, and accommodations such as untimed tests are commonly offered but don’t go far enough for students with LD, Strichart says. “Those resource centers are set up for the general college population and usually have no personnel to work with a special needs population,” he points out. “You’re not getting specialized tutors or people certified in learning disabilities.” t first glance, the sprawling University of Arizona and University of Connecticut campuses might not have much in common with Adelphi University and Curry College, smaller private institutions in the suburbs of New York City and Boston, respectively. But all of these schools have built robust programs for undergraduates with learning disabilities (LD), distinguishing themselves in the process. They’re among an expanding number of institutions working closely with students who decades ago might have struggled to graduate—or not made it to college at all. Along the way, these schools, with counterparts such as The University of Iowa, Augsburg College (Minn.), and Northeastern University (Mass.), are attracting a once-untapped cohort of students who can succeed—and pay tuition. It’s a cohort likely to expand in coming years. LD experts estimate that dyslexia and ADHD each now affect more than 10 percent of the population. Stephen Strichart, who co-edited Peterson’s Colleges With Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorders (1997), says the numbers of schools providing such help have increased steadily. Learning DisabLeD A A Better Understanding of LD Most of today’s campus-based centers for LD students charge annual fees separate from tuition. Some programs are even selfsustaining financially. The growth of feebased programs in the past few years does not surprise Joseph Cullen, who directs the Program for the Advancement of Learning (PAL) at Curry. In a recent survey, Cullen, who is also a professor in the school’s education department, found 43 such programs nationwide. “Ten years go, there were a dozen or so colleges that had fee-based, structured centers [for LD students],” he observes. “As enrollments have been dropping, these colleges needed to reach for higher hanging fruit to fill classes.” At the same time, Cullen adds, LD students have been making unprecedented progress in K-12. There have been quantum leaps over the past two decades in understanding how dyslexics process information, which has led to improved techniques in teaching reading skills early on. Likewise, there’s been increased attention to the conditions under which students with ADHD learn best. As a result, the individualized education plans (IEPs) required in public schools for 36 | May 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - May 2012

University Business - May 2012
Editor's Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Human Resources
Education Gateways
Big Ideas
Reaching Higher
Admissions Goes Social
Learning Disabled Students Welcome
Who Goes There?
Computing Trends, Today and Tomorrow
Money Matters
End Note

University Business - May 2012