When it comes to disabilities, whether the condition is learning, developmental, intellectual or physical, people with these diagnoses will need extra support in life. On top of that, these communities may encounter a degree of prejudice due to others not understanding the conditions. Fortunately, there are many people in this world who support people with special needs, as well as colleges and universities who are aware of the compounded challenges that students with disabilities must overcome to earn their degrees. A plethora of collegiate institutions offer programs for students who will benefit from those services.
Note: This list of colleges and universities was compiled by Matthew Lynch representing theedadvocate.org and will list fewer items than the website displays to be consistent with the word count for this article.
Adelphi University - Adelphi University is a private university based in New York and offers services for a variety of conditions, such as a Learning Resource program for students diagnosed with ADHD and a Social Training Center for students diagnosed with high-functioning autism, formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Adelphi also offers resident accommodations and Assistive Technology devices, as well as the Bridges to Adelphi program, which works with students on developing their executive functioning and problem-solving skills.
Landmark College - Landmark College is based in Vermont and specializes specifically on students with disabilities. The classes are offered in a style where students receive individualized instruction from professors, with the ratio of students to professors being 6:1. The students are visited by staff advisors to discuss their progress, trained in executive functioning and are offered Learning Technology as well. The publication “U.S. News" named Landmark College amongst the top four of the “Best Undergraduate Teaching Colleges" in 2019.
Manhattanville College - Manhattanville College is based just outside of New York City and offers programs such as the Higher Education Learning Program, which pairs students with learning diagnoses with a tutor. For students on the autism spectrum, Manhattanville offers the Pathways and Connections (PAC) program, which entails meetings with a program staff member to improve executive functioning skills and social events to help the students on the spectrum transition into the wider school community.
University of Connecticut - The University of Connecticut offers a program for students on the autism spectrum and related conditions that was once called Strategic Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (S.E.A.D), now known as Beyond Access (BA). BA entails helping students transition into the workforce through assisting with skill development that would be useful in a job.
Mercyhurst University - Mercyhurst University is based in Pennsylvania and offers a program for students on the autism spectrum called the Autism Initiative (AI). AI supports students with special housing options, earlier class registration, social events to help students learn social skills and independent living skills as well.
As is evidenced in this list, several colleges and universities are stepping up to help students who struggle with these disabilities make the most of their predicaments. These programs and support services are very beneficial and conducive to the college success of these students, as well as life in general. It is very heartwarming to see the effort that is put into these programs, and to see the students feeling empowered to learn and persevere. Hopefully, as these conditions become more common and prevalent, more colleges will follow by example and help students than ever before.
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