I am looking for an opportunity for our son who is now 22 years old. He struggled through grade school and high school (graduated with over a 3.0 GPA), went to college on a soccer and small academic scholarship, and has floundered. The college we chose even had a department for special services that he struggled to use. Is there a school (even boarding) that could help him recover and get back on track? He is diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. He has a 501 legal plan. If you can offer help in any way it would be greatly appreciated.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 
Not all departments that support these students in college are created equal, that's for sure. And, it's more than just those departments -- professors and instructors need to understand LD, particularly where modifications, accommodations, and adjusting teaching styles are concerned. I am not intimately familiar with all the colleges for students with LD. A couple include Landmark College and Beacon College. The University of Arizona SALT program also has a good reputation for helping students, but UA is a big school, which may not be a match for him. Here is another link that might be helpful.

College is such a different ballgame than high school. Your son also needs to have a good clear understanding of his strengths and weaknesses relative to learning, know what he needs to succeed, and be able to advocate for his needs with professors and instructors. He may benefit from some work over the summer with a clinician who can help him 'know how to learn' and study. There's so much material that students have to read and learn in college, it might be helpful if someone works with him on such areas as how to organize his time, how to prioritize his study time, how to read with a purpose in mind, or perhaps use speech-to-text software to get his thoughts down. Plus, he may need his self confidence built up again after having had that challenging and struggling experience this past year. You'll want to be sure the professional knows how to work with college students as not everyone does!

Here is a particularly candid and insightful story about a young man's educational quest. It might be helpful if your son reads this and some of the other Success Stories on DyslexiaHelp to know that it can be done! I'd also recommend that he read Dr. Michael Ryan's Letters to a Young Dyslexic. Michael is a successful dyslexic and tells it like it is. Here'd be a good one to start with. And note, if reading is hard, he can hit the text-to-speech button on the website and have it read aloud.

I hope this points you in the right direction.