College Students with Disabilities

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College Students with Disabilities

As societal pressures for higher education increase, more emphasis has been placed on the importance of a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. This has led to the increased enrollment of students with learning disabilities over the past decade. According to a recent survey from the National Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities, one in eleven full-time first-year students entering college in 1998 self-reported a disability. This translates to approximately 154,520 college students, or about 9% of the total number of first-year freshmen, who reported a wide range of disabilities, ranging from attention deficit disorder to writing disabilities (Horn).

Attention deficit disorder, with or without hyperactivity, is frequently misunderstood, but it affects college students' academic and social success, as well as their emotional development. Attention deficit disorders are the second most common disability among college students, and it is classified as a psychiatric disorder, rather than a learning disability, in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV. Characterized by attention difficulties, specifically short attention spans, as well as impulsivity, distractibility, and restlessness, attention deficit disorders can adversely affect the performance capabilities of college students. Individuals report "drifting" during classroom lectures or social conversations, as well as difficulties focusing in noisy environments.

The Connection Between Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorders

The onset of attention deficit disorder usually occur b...

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