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Accommodations for Students with Learning Differences

By July 11, 2022July 19th, 2022Achieve Program

Academic institutions like Villa Maria College are mandated by law to offer academic accommodations by the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. But simply going by the letter of the law isn’t enough for some students to succeed and can leave some students out completely. Accommodations in education can help students adapt to the college learning environment. Villa Maria goes beyond the minimum to ensure students have access to the resources and individual support they need. Our unique Achieve Program is available to students in any major or academic program living with a documented learning difference, learning disability, or disorder of executive functioning.

Support through Achieve is in addition to the support services available to all students on campus through our Office of Accessibility Services. These programs are designed to ensure a quality college education is accessible to all, including those with learning differences or learning disabilities.

If you are interested in attending Villa but feel that a learning difference might prevent you from achieving your goals, use this overview of common academic accommodations and speak to a qualified professional about how you could benefit. For questions or additional information about the Achieve Program, contact us!

Time managment

The college environment can test a student’s time management skills like never before. In college, there’s usually more to do socially and academically, in addition to jobs and internships. That’s a good thing! But heavier workloads and distractions, both good and bad, can negatively affect students with learning differences.

Time management assistance often involves helping students manage one or more of the following areas: procrastination, organization, and time management. We devise and implement strategies to meet your individual needs to help you to manage your time better. These include setting goals, creating to-do lists, and taking productive breaks.

Having awareness of time management, as well as being proactive about time management issues, is important. That’s why staff meet with Achieve students at frequent intervals to make any necessary adjustments and receive feedback on how to improve. We can also provide support like testing accommodations that allow students alternate testing formats involving individualized time requirements and testing locations.

Career readiness

Most students attend college to prepare for a career. Services to help students identify and develop their career goals are an important part of the college experience. A student may have an idea of what they want to do when they arrive to campus but as they learns and grows, these goals can change. Students with learning differences are no different. Quality career readiness is therefore designed to help students align their personal and academic goals to their career aspirations.

The staff at Villa work to provide you with tools and support through Career Services. Our staff will get to know you and your goals for the future, evaluate your skills, and discuss how you want to grow.

Options for career preparation include those available to all Villa students like career readiness workshops and on-campus experiential opportunities. Achieve also provides individual support for its students via the Career Readiness Program. And as you near graduation, we can help you write a great resume and cover letter and deliver a great in-person interview.

Specalized tutoring

Achieve students have access to tutoring services with flexible hours that fit their busy schedules. Tutors can help with core skills, like writing and math, necessary to continue in a chosen major. As students progress, our professional tutors can assist them with more specialized subjects. Tutoring is available in individual and group formats and is offered in environments designed for Achieve students.

Learning plans

In addition to tutoring, Achieve students work with staff to create a learning plan that addresses their specific academic needs and career goals. These are generated in conjunction with a learning specialist as a way of verbalizing a plan for a student to approach academics. Generally, they list a student’s needs and objectives with a set of tangible steps to meet those goals. They may also identify what specific challenges a student with learning differences is facing and how that relates to prescribed solutions.

Learning plan development can take place as soon as a student is admitted into the Achieve Program, where they will set long-term goals as well as goals specific to the courses they are taking and where they are in their chosen program. Regular meetings are held throughout the semester to determine progress and whether additional or targeted resources are needed.

Assitive technology

Assistive technologies are digital devices or software used to help students with learning differences adapt to—and thrive in—a range of environments, be it the classroom or a workplace. They are designed to alleviate mental stress, helping students with learning differences think and engage productively.

Villa has invested in comprehensive assistive technology programs that help students in a variety of environments with a variety of needs. These include Livescribe pens for better note-taking and Dragon Naturally Speaking Speech Recognition Software to help students read, process, and relay information more easily.