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February 18, 2014 11:46 AM Colleges Respond to Growing Ranks of Learning Disabled

By Michael Krupnick

“I think we have to always remember that while professors are amazing experts in content areas, many of them have had no training in pedagogy,” said Williams, who is introducing UDL to three North Carolina campuses. “We have to find practical ways to help them know how to do that.”

“A student understands this is just about leveling the playing field,” said Eve Woodman, Princeton University’s director of disability services. About 2 percent of Princeton students admit to either a learning disability or ADHD, she said. “If you’re diabetic and you need insulin, that’s just the way it is.”

Then there are the handful of schools that accept only learning-disabled students, including Beacon College in Florida and Landmark College in Vermont.

Too few conventional colleges are devoting the necessary resources to help students with disabilities, said Beacon President George Hagerty.

“It’s both unfair and unethical to bring students to an institution that is not well-equipped to support those students,” said Hagerty, whose campus serves about 200 students.

Schools also are being challenged to prepare learning-disabled students for life after college.

Paul Jarvis, an 18-year-old freshman who came to Ozarks from Milton, Ga., is counting on that.

After college, Jarvis said, “I’m going to have to do stuff without the support. But these schools have prepared me.”

Michael Krupnick is a New York Times contributor and freelance journalist.

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