Being your own advocate means understanding your strengths and challenges, and believing in yourself as a capable and effective individual.

Challenges of College and University
Post-secondary learning environments pose a number of unique challenges:
  • Lengthy reading lists.
  • Long lectures.
  • Extensive written assignments.
  • Exams to study for and write.
  • Staying organized and on top of the work.
Challenges at College and University when you have a Learning Disability
Learning disabilities present unique challenges to information processing. When information is received by the senses, the brain must process it. This involves sorting it, putting it in order, and storing it so that it can be recalled when needed, and expressed through writing, speech or action.

When learning disabilities are present, the information is received by the senses, but the processing does not work quite the way it should. Bits of information may get lost, or may be stored so it cannot be found easily.

People with learning disabilities have average or above average intelligence, but typically perform well below their ability level in one or more of:
  • Reading.
  • Listening.
  • Speaking.
  • Writing.
  • Performing mathematical calculations.
  • Working with spatial relationships.
  • Social skills.
Understanding your Learning Disability Means Knowing What to Ask For
Your psychological assessment can help you meet the challenges of college or university by helping you understand the best ways for you to learn, and how your LD impacts your ability to learn.

Assessment findings will help to:
  • Explain why some areas are a challenge for you.
  • The processing factors underlying your difficulties.
  • Identify your learning strengths that have helped you achieve your successes to date.
Building on these strengths is important for charting your way to further academic accomplishments. As part of your assessment, recommendations will be provided on approaches to learning that have proven effective at the post-secondary level.

Access to Services
  • If your assessment diagnoses a learning disability, you will be eligible for academic accommodations throughout your post-secondary education.
  • In order to access the services required, you need to learn to comfortably and clearly explain your LD to others, particularly your college or university disability services office and your professors.
Accommodations that Might Work for You
Identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help you to obtain strategies and academic accommodations that are best suited to your learning style. Your assessment will identify what works best for you, whether it is:
  • Extra time to write tests.
  • Scan and read software to hear text.
  • Visual supports.
Your Disability Office will Help You
Sharing your report with the staff at the disability services office will enable you to access academic accommodations and supports that work best for you. Your disability service office will help you make these arrangements, such as:
  • Testing accommodations.
  • Assistive technology.
  • Learning strategy instruction.
It is these services and academic accommodations that will help you cope more effectively with your learning challenges.

Adapted from: A Family Affair: Preparing Parents and Students with LDs for Postsecondary Education, The Meighen Centre, Mount Allison University published by Learning Disabilities Association of Canada and from the Northern Ontario Assessment and Resource Centre, Cambrian College, Sudbury, Ontario:
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