Good questions to start the conversation:
- “Is there is anything I need to know about your learning style to help you be more successful in college?”
- “What are your areas of strength and weakness?”
Take care to be mindful that information students share may be sensitive and it may not be appropriate for the content of the conversation to be shared.
Students with disabilities are not obligated to disclose their particular disability to their advisor or professors, unless they are seeking academic accommodations, which should be encouraged since they can be extremely helpful.
- Encourage your advisee to disclose information about their disability with their professors. Acknowledge that it not only takes courage to share this information, but is necessary to acquire academic accommodations.
- Encourage students to take advantage of office hours, SI leaders, mentors, TA’s, and other campus resources.
- Remind students to present their accommodations letter within the first two weeks of the semester to allow for the most effective use of their accommodations. Trinity’s policy is to present the letter prior to ten days of their first exam.
Students with Dyslexia and Reading Disorders
Students with these particular disabilities often struggle with active reading skills, and note-taking, so simply sharing the way you approach a text or task may give them some great insights.
- Recommend a proactive approach to reviewing the course syllabus to avoid getting behind.
- Consider providing power point slides in advance of class
- Discuss ways to break down assignments to manageable size chunks, as well as effective note-taking strategies (which many students falsely consider to be unimportant)
- Discuss time management strategies especially for those courses that are reading intensive.
- Remind students how many hours of study outside of the classroom are necessary for success, and point out that students with disabilities may need to increase their hours of study beyond the usual recommendation.
- For future semesters, recommend obtaining the syllabus and reading list in advance to start reading early.
Students with ADHD or ADD
Some students who take medication for their attentional disorders may experience difficulty staying focused during night classes, while students experiencing clinical depression often have more difficulty in the morning. This could have important implications when developing a class schedule.
- Accomplishing five credits in a semester can be especially challenging for a student with a learning disability, and first-year students may be unaware how their learning disability will affect their ability to manage five classes.
- In this case, suggest taking a J-term or summer class to reduce the course load over the year. Discuss the academic calendar, in particular the last day to withdraw from a course if the student is taking five courses in their second semester.
Students with an approved Foreign Language Substitution
- Two LACS courses within the same culture will fulfill the language requirement.
What is involved in applying for academic accommodations at Trinity?
- Students must submit an application to the Disability Coordinator, Lori Clapis, along with a copy of the complete report of psycho-educational or neuropsychological testing.
- The testing required in order to receive academic accommodations usually involves fairly exhaustive testing over the course of 1-2 days, and typically includes parent interviews. The most common of which – the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – assesses IQ, verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed.
- One of Trinity’s psychologists will carefully review testing and if appropriate, approve the requested accommodations.
- For those students who have never explored applying for academic accommodations in college, refer them to the Disability Coordinator, Lori Clapis.