Having a disability can certainly make things more challenging, but it doesn’t need to prevent anyone from attending college and obtaining their degree of choice. In fact, more and more colleges are implementing programs that help students with special needs transition into college life and navigate the demands of coursework, making it easier than ever for students with disabilities to attend college. Students with a wide range of special needs can find colleges and universities with amazing programs that offer support, tutoring, and special courses designed to support students as well as their parents and make the transition easier for everyone.
The colleges listed below are some that currently offer specialized programs for students with disabilities and special needs. They range from schools focusing solely on special needs students to those incorporating specific classes and support programs into regular courses.
- University of Iowa – The University of Iowa REACH Program is a transition certificate program for college students with disabilities, such as autism, intellectual disabilities, and learning disabilities. UI REACH provides a Big Ten college experience and empowers young adults to become independent members of the community and reach their full potential through coursework, campus life, and career experiences.
- Augsburg University – Augsburg University’s Center for Learning and Accessible Student Services (CLASS) program provides academic services necessary to accommodate students with learning, attention, psychiatric, or other cognitive-based disabilities. CLASS promotes access and inclusion for students with disabilities by partnering with the campus community to provide accommodations, resources, and education.
- West Virginia Wesleyan College – West Virginia Wesleyan College provides excellent support programs to students with diagnosed learning disabilities, attention disorders, and other special needs. The Learning Center promotes the academic success of students who are at risk due to diagnosed disabilities.
- Curry College – The Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) at Curry College is the country’s first program of its kind. Celebrating a longstanding tradition of success, PAL provides academically focused assistance to bright, college-able students with specific language-based learning disabilities, executive function disorders, and/or AD/HD. PAL students are fully mainstreamed in their classes and receive additional support on a proactive basis. Students work in individual and/or small classes with a PAL faculty member developing strategies in areas such as reading comprehension, written language, speaking, listening, organization, and time management.
- Bellevue Community College – Occupational & Life Skills (OLS) Bellevue College is an accredited associate degree program for adults with learning disabilities. In this uniquely supportive program, students learn to identify and develop a career pathway, grow interpersonal skills, build life-long friendships, and gain marketable, workplace-ready skills.
- Beacon College – Beacon is the first accredited college offering four year degrees designed around the needs of students with diagnosed learning disabilities. They offer both bachelor and associate degrees in an environment specifically created to help students thrive and engineer amazing, abundant lives for themselves.
- Gallaudet University – This liberal arts academy is the only university in the world to specifically target and serve the needs of the deaf, and all courses are taught in both spoken and signed English. The school offers all the benefits of a traditional university, including athletics and a Greek system, while providing students with a supportive community and learning environment sensitive to their needs.
- Landmark College – Landmark College is exclusively for students who learn differently, including students with a learning disability (such as dyslexia), ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Landmark uses a strengths-based learning model and gives students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals. A fully accredited, not-for-profit institution, Landmark College offers bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as a Bridge Experience, online dual enrollment courses for high school students, and summer programs to assist a wide range of high school and new or transferring college students with learning differences.
- University of Arizona, Tuscon – Special needs students at the University of Arizona, Tucson are served by the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center. A wonderfully inventive program, the SALT Center provides students with disabilities with individualized educational planning and monitoring, certified tutors to assist them with coursework, and workshops geared toward the student’s individual academic needs.
- Drexel University – The Office of Equality and Diversity’s Disability Resources team at Drexel Univeristy serves to provide equal opportunity and equal access to education, employment, programs and activities for students. Disability Resources empowers individuals who have documented disabilities by working together proactively to provide reasonable accommodations.
- Mercyhurst University – The mission of the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) is to facilitate and support the successful adjustment and progression of college students on the autism spectrum in all domains of college life, thereby broadening their vocational opportunities and enhancing social and community engagement. The AIM program strives to accentuate each student’s abilities within the academic, social, emotional, and independent-living domains, while building new skills within the domains where the student may be deficient.
- Marshall University – The mission of the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University is to provide support to individuals with autism spectrum disorders as they pursue a life of quality. Services are available to families of West Virginians with autism spectrum disorders as well as their educators and others significant in their lives.
- Southern Illinois University, Carbondale – Southern Illinois’ Disability Support Services provides the required academic and programmatic support services to students with permanent and temporary disabilities. Disability services are located throughout the University in integrated settings.
- Depaul University – DePaul University is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to DePaul’s educational and co-curricular opportunities so that students may fully participate in the life of the university. The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) services are available to students with diverse physical, learning, medical, mental health, and sensory disabilities. The Center offers supports to students to achieve their academic goals while promoting their independence.
- Hofstra University – Hofstra’s program for special needs students is called PALS, or Program for Academic Learning Skills. During the past thirty yeras PALS has been serving students with specific learning disabilities and ADD or ADHD at Hofstra University. Each student is paired up to meet individually with an experienced learning specialist.
- Rochester Institute of Technology – The RIT Disability Services Office is committed to providing equal access to programs, services and physical facilities to students with disabilities. RIT strives to foster an environment where all students are welcomed, valued, and respected.
- University of Denver – The Disability Services Office at U of Denver offers special needs students with two different programs for help and support. The Disability Services Program (DSP) is dedicated to giving students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in the University’s programs, courses and activities. The Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) is a nationally recognized program that provides individualized academic support for University of Denver students with learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or a history of learning differences.
- American University – The Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) supports the academic development and educational goals of all American University students and is committed to promoting access for individuals with disabilities within the university’s diverse community. The ASAC is dedicated to educating the university community on increasing accessibility, and to working individually with students arranging for accommodations, encouraging self-advocacy, and building academic and assistive technology skills.
- University of Connecticut – The Center for Students with Disabilities at the U of Connecticut collaborates with students, faculty, family members, and the greater UConn community to ensure a comprehensively accessible environment.
- Misercordia University – Misericordia University is committed to creating an environment where all are welcome and does not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, educational process, or treatment of students.
- Lynn University – The Institute for Achievement and Learning offers students with learning differences an extraordinary opportunity to succeed at the college level at Lynn University. The menu of academic support services provides motivated students with learning differences additional academic support while promoting independent learning and academic achievement as students work toward completing a university degree.
Do you know of a college that offers programs for students with disabilities and special needs? Reach out to us on Facebook and let us know! We would love to add to this list!