Special Needs Students: Five of the Best Colleges
Guest Post by: Linda Forshaw
The prospect of leaving home and going to college is daunting at the best of times. Add special needs into the mix and the thought may just become overwhelming for many students and their parents. But should that really be the case? While having special needs can undoubtedly make the college process more challenging, it most certainly does not rule it out. Increasingly colleges and universities are reaching out with tailored support packages to assist those students with disabilities ranging from hearing impairment to autism spectrum conditions. Let’s take a look at five of the best colleges for special needs students.
1. West Virginia Wesleyan College
The West Virginia Wesleyan College delivers an outstanding centralized support program for students with attention disorders, learning disabilities, and other needs. Services are delivered from the Learning Center and include one-on-one academic strategy guidance from professional staff, and an Assistive Technology Lab. Additional fee based services include individual professional tutoring, a Mentor Advantage Program, and Lindamood-Bell structured learning.
2. Gallaudet University
Based in Washington, D.C., Gallaudet is a liberal arts academy that is the only university in the world to cater largely to hearing impaired and deaf students. A typical university in many ways, a traditional syllabus is offered including a Greek system and comprehensive Athletics program. Courses are taught in the spoken word and are also signed in English. Students can expect additional support from the community and a learning environment that is entirely sympathetic to their specific needs.
3. Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University offers a full range of disability support services for students with special needs in the areas of hearing, visual, and mobility impairment, as well as learning disabilities, cognitive, and psychological disorders. Services include taped lectures, assistive technology, note takers, and supplemental materials. The university also offers support through its Achieve Program. This free-to-access and unlimited service brings together the expertise of specialists, volunteers, and grad students to offer assistance with everything from accommodation to counseling.
4. University of Denver
The University of Denver boasts two different programs that offer help and support to special needs students, both of which are delivered via the disability services office. Free support includes the provision of interpreters, note takers, text and materials in alternative formats, and test accommodations. Those requiring additional support may choose to take advantage of the fee-based Learning Effectiveness Program, where the extensive choice of academic services includes tutoring, leadership projects, and one-on-one support.
5. University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut delivers its program of special needs support through its Center for Students with Disabilities. Accommodations are best suited to those with autism, ADHD, and other learning disabilities. Available programs include Building Opportunities for students with Learning Disabilities and/or ADHD (BOLD), Focused Academic Skills Training (FAST), and the fee-based Beyond Access. Most programs include focused workshops and additional tutoring. A summer program (Husky GPS) is offered to incoming and transfer students to help students be better prepared for the demands of college life.
Students and parents may also wish to find out more about College Living Experience (CLE). This external program aims to help young adults with learning difficulties attend college and experience independence. The program is currently available in Florida, Texas, Washington, D.C., California, and Colorado. Many of the students that successfully achieve a college education with the help of CLE support have attempted to attend college previously, and have found their support to be invaluable.
Linda Forshaw is a graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A contributor to Degree Jungle, she is a full time mommy and writer (in that order). Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay