Although recent news coverage focuses on students and families allegedly faking disabilities in order to cheat on college admissions tests, there is a more important issue that needs our attention: students with real disabilities need support once they get to college and often struggle to get it.  At the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), we recognize that students with disabilities, their peers, their universities, and their fields of study are enriched when students develop self-advocacy skills and make proactive, self-determined choices about their learning and lives. So NCLD, the American Council on Education (ACE) and the American Association of University Administrators came together to offer solutions. Our organizations worked together to develop two primers to support university faculty and university administrators as they create environments where students with disabilities are more empowered to exercise self-advocacy and self-determination.

Students with disabilities face significant shifts in learning expectations and independence when they begin higher education. Their new learning environment is no longer grounded by the protections of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They have to ask for accommodations and supports. They have to navigate new challenges without the same kind of help they had in the past, making many independent decisions about budgeting, time, schoolwork, and other areas of life. While these students can succeed — indeed thrive — in higher education with the right opportunities, they need specific supports as they exercise the new level of agency and independence presented to them.  

We believe the future of education is one where all young adults play an active role in their own education, whether they have a disability or not. We look forward to continuing this important work and strengthening partnerships with organizations and stakeholders across the field to ensure that innovative approaches to learning fully include individuals with disabilities.

Meet the NCLD Team

Carrying out the NCLD mission to improve outcomes for the 1 in 5 individuals with learning and attention issues.


Young Adult Initiatives

Help empower and advocate for young adults ages 18–26 with learning disabilities and attention issues.

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