by Karen Diana Peters, MSOT OTR
The purpose of this study was to determine how college students with documented learning disabilities cope with college academics, what academic accommodations the students used most, how effective these accommodations were, and whether the services received in the areas of course selection, self-advocacy, assistance with writing papers, and testing accommodations were considered to foster dependence or independence in the student. A survey was composed and distributed to 43 students with all types of learning disabilities from a college in the Pacific Northwest and a response rate of 48.8% was obtained. The findings of this study indicated that students who had a high school to college transition plan felt better prepared for college than those who did not have one. Extra test time was reported as the most used accommodation, and alternate forms of tests, use of word processors with spell checkers, extra test time, note taking assistance, writing techniques, and taped lectures were rated as most effective by these students. Students from professional schools (n = 5) rated study strategies as statistically significantly more effective when compared to social science majors (n = 11). According to the model of Shaw, Bieber and Byron (1990), service providers’ behaviors were independence-promoting in the areas of course selection, self-advocacy, and testing accommodations, although dependence-promoting in the areas of assistance with writing papers. Occupational therapists could have an important role in training students at the high school and postsecondary level in the skills needed to cope with college life.