Post-Secondary Success with Dyslexia

Life Success for Children with Learning Disabilities

Over twenty years of research has identified factors that predict successful outcomes for children with disabilities. This research identified these individual characteristics and life experiences that lead to successful life outcomes:
  • goal setting
  • self-awareness 
  • perseverance
  • emotional coping strategies
  • support systems
  • proactivity

Life Success for Children with Learning Disabilities: A Parent Guide highlights the findings of this research in an easy to read booklet. We strongly encourage you to read this information and share it with your child.

After High School: Different Paths to Success provides information on the many paths students may take post-secondary.

College Entrance Exams

College Board Exams include the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and AP Exams. Accommodations are available for students with disabilities that meet eligibility requirements. However, it is important to remember that receiving school accommodations does not guarantee College Board approval of a request. Detailed information can be found at the College Board SSD website.

Typical Accommodations include:

Other accommodations are also available. 

The accommodation request process can take up to seven weeks, so we recommend applying early in your child’s ninth grade year. 

Accommodation approval requires extensive documentation, and unfortunately our dyslexia assessment likely will not meet guidelines. Learning disability documentation guidelines require:

  • Diagnosis clearly stated;
  • Current information (less than 5 years);
  • History presented;
  • Diagnosis supported with:
    • summary of testing procedures
    • narrative summary
    • test scores
    • comprehensive cognitive and achievement battery

The general education dyslexia assessment does not include a comprehensive cognitive battery. If your child is eligible for special education or you have obtained additional assessment outside of the school district, your testing may contain the required information. 

There are two processes to request accommodations, (1) School Verification and (2) Parent Paper Verification. Regardless of which process you choose, contact your high school counselor to initiate the process.

School verification process:

  1. Student/parent approaches campus counselor who will notify the campus Services for Students with Disabilities Coordinator (SSD).
  2. Student and parent sign consent forms.
  3. SSD coordinator completes an on-line form documenting the student meets eligibility for the accommodation, the accommodation has been in place for more than four months  and the student currently uses the accommodation at school.
  4. If the answer to any of the statements in “3” is no, the school will submit the available documentation for review by the College Board.
  5. If approved, student will receive an SSD number to use when registering for a test.
  6. Accommodations remain in effect through one year after graduation from high school. 

Parent Paper Verification:

This process again begins by contact the SSD coordinator at your child high school. The SSD coordinator will provide a form for the parent and student to complete and submit.

If your request was denied, you can find information on how to proceed here.  

If you are interested in SAT preparation, Khan Academy offers free online preparation: SAT prep from Khan Academy 

ACT tests are another type of college entrance exams. Like the SATs, certain accommodations are available for students who meet eligibility criteria. Detailed information can be obtained at ACT's Services for Students with Disabilities page. Unlike the SAT process, students must register for ACT prior to requesting accommodations. The student will then be able to print an application for accommodations. 

There are three types of ACT accommodations available:

  1. National Standard Time with Accommodations
  2. National Extended Time (50% additional time)
  3. Special testing At School (more than time and a half or special test presentation such as oral administration)

ACT Policy for Documentation is similar to SAT requirements, and unfortunately it is likely our testing will not meet guidelines.

College Services for Students with Dyslexia

There is no reason a student with dyslexia shouldn't pursue college if he or she chooses to do so. Before deciding which school is best for him or her, students should investigate the services that are available at perspective colleges. While all colleges must provide some level of services to students with disabilities, the level of services vary greatly.

Most colleges provide one of three levels of services:

  • Basic accommodations such as note-taking assistance and extra time on tests;
  • Specialized services which include staff who work with students and professors;
  • Specialized colleges that have comprehensive programs for students with disabilities (often for a fee).

The K&W Guide to College Programs and Services for Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD (Princeton Review) is a thorough listing of colleges and the supports available to students. It is available through Amazon, or possibly your school or local library.

Information on applying for and selecting a college for your child with a disability can be found at these sites:
Selecting a College for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Hard Decision for Learning Disabled

Examples of disability services at Texas universities and colleges can be found below:
Texas A&M Disability Services
University of Texas's Services for Students with Disabilities
San Jacinto College
Schreiner College

Section 504 and College

In the preK through 12 grades school setting, Subpart D of Section 504 Regulations apply. However, once a student graduates and enrolls in college, Subpart E applies. Modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirements, substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted.

In most cases, the screening instruments often used for developing a “504” plan are insufficient as documentation for college accommodations. Additional testing is likely to be required. In addition, the student goes from an environment that is structured to “ensure student success” to one that is designed to “allow equal access.” The success of the student is up to the student in the college setting. The college must ensure access, NOT success.

Differences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities
ADA Q & A: Section 504 and Post-Secondary Education 
Student with Disabilities Preparing for Post-Secondary Education (OCR) 

Dyslexia and the Military

Some students may be more interested in joining the military rather than going to college. Here is information that may be helpful. READ
Can I Join the Military if I Have Dyslexia? (Dyslexic Advantage)
Exploring Military Options for Students with Disabilities  
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Will Dyslexia Exclude Someone from Joining the Military?  
ADHD and the Military

Dyslexia and the Workforce

For students who choose to go straight into the workforce from school, they may be eligible for reasonable accommodations in some situations.

Transition: School to Work 
Job Accommodations for People with Learning Disabilities
15 CEOs with Learning Disabilities

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