Families & Students

Advice on Important College Topics for Students With Learning Disabilities or ADHD and Their Families

Elizabeth’s published and posted advice on how best to prepare students with disabilities for success at college

Read some of Elizabeth Hamblet’s college transition and other advice from various media outlets:



Topics Elizabeth has covered for Understood:

See Elizabeth’s Understood.org video chats on college topics.  

Even though you may have heard different, IEPs and 504 plans are not valid at college.  Learn more here.

Recent announcements about documentation by the Department of Justice, Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), and The College Board (regarding the S.A.T.) have caused confusion about what documentation students may need at college.  Learn more about these developments.

Read Elizabeth’s answers to some frequently asked questions about college transition

Applying for accommodations for a learning disability, ADHD, or other disability on high stakes testing or at college

When students apply for accommodations on the SAT, ACT, or at their college, the testing agency (ex. The College Board) or university will typically have a list of requirements for what their paperwork – called “documentation” – should contain. Elizabeth offers information on a variety of topics related to documentation:

  • Finding documentation requirements – each testing agency or college will have its own requirements. Student should check these before sending their paperwork in.
  • Items to read for carefully – some documentation requirements may ask for items families have not considered. See what kinds of special requirements may be included.
  • Different ADHD documentation – students with ADHD may find that the paperwork that has sufficed for documentation in high school may not meet their college’s or testing board’s requirements. They should check Item #5 on the page concerning finding documentation requirements.
  • Finding a qualified evaluator – find a professional who offers a report worthy of the expense
  • Get high-quality private testing – how to get a good report when you pay for a private evaluation

For more on documentation and accommodations at college, read Elizabeth’s book, 7 Steps to Success: High School to College Transition Strategies for Students with Disabilities.

College’s foreign language and math requirements – what high school students with disabilities need to know

Students with disabilities who are planning to go to college or who are already enrolled need to know that math and foreign language requirements may not be waived, and substitutions may not be available. But there are ways to be strategic about approaching these requirements. See what Elizabeth thinks students should know about these courses.

Are you looking at a treatment program or special intervention to help with your student’s LD or ADHD?

Many programs on the market promise to “fix” or “cure” students’ LD and ADHD. While these conditions are life-long, some kinds of treatments may help students to find ways around their disability or to improve some of their weaker skills, but you should do some careful analysis of these programs’ claims before you spend any money. Read Elizabeth’s advice for how to research a program or treatment before you sign your student up.

The New York Times provides a good overview of the current research on cognitive training programs (such as Cogmed) to help readers understand how to critically assess their claims. As with any kind of intervention, it is important to understand what skills these programs actually improve, whether this means carry-over to other skills and day-to-day functioning, and whether the gains remain even after training stops.

Are you considering sending your student with a disability to a private school?

Frustrated by the services offered to their student in the public system or concerned about their student’s social needs, families may considering sending their student to one of the schools that specialize in serving students with disabilities. As with all things in life, attending such a school can offer great benefits for students, but there may also be some sacrifices involved in addition to the tuition. For parents considering these schools for their student, Elizabeth offers some advice for evaluating their services and finding a good match.

Extended time for tests

Nicole Ofiesh, a researcher who conducted studies on extended time, summarizes her important findings and offers advice for students with disabilities. You can read her piece on her site.

Tools and advice for college students with disabilities

Students who are getting ready to enroll or are already enrolled at college should see Elizabeth’s section of resources and advice just for them.

Books by other authors recommended by Elizabeth

See the list of books by other authors.