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By Loring Brinckerhoff, Ph.D.
Comprehensive college LD programs that go beyond the legally mandated services are characterized by having more than one person who directs the support services. Typically the director or coordinator has expertise in learning disabilities, and oversees a staff of several full-time professionals and part-time tutors. In addition to the basic accommodations noted above, these campus offices typically have:
In some instances, because of the specialized nature of the services provided, these comprehensive programs offer a limited number of "slots" for students with learning disabilities and require a special application and an additional fee. Some of newest innovations in these settings include AD/HD peer coaching, technology prep tutorials, and technology lending libraries for students. Sometimes this model includes in-house diagnostic testing as part of the program. Subject matter tutoring may also be available in addition to learning strategy instruction.
An example of a comprehensive LD support program is the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center at The University of Arizona, in Tucson. The University of Arizona has over 28,000 undergraduate students, and approximately 500 registered undergraduates were served by SALT staff during 2002-2003. The SALT Center is located in a beautiful new building on campus and houses a full-time staff of 22 professionals, who serve as AD/HD coaches, counselors, graduate assistants, peer mentors, LD specialists, technology specialists, and peer tutors. The SALT program offers a one-day mandatory orientation program for new students before registration. Subject area tutoring is provided from graduate assistants, professional tutors, and trained peer tutors. Additional support in the areas of career planning, learning strategies, self-advocacy, stress management, practical computer skills, test taking, time management, and writing skills are provided collaboratively with on-campus and off-campus services. An extensive website includes written policies and procedures regarding course substitutions, LD accommodations, and documentation requirements. For students seeking support beyond the mandated services, an additional fee of $1,600 to $3,900 applies, depending on the level of service desired.
Other colleges that offer similar comprehensive LD support services: Curry College; Stanford University; University of Connecticut; University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; University of Georgia.
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