Learning Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities
Mary VanBussel is the Learning Strategist at the Student Development Centre's Services for Students with Disabilties. She works collaboratively with students who have learning disabilities, assisting them to identify and prioritize their academic goals.
Students learn to use their psychoeducational assessment reports to develop better strategies for reading, studying, note-taking, improving memory, writing exams, and other skills that they want to improve in order to meet their academic goals.
Emphasis is placed on connecting the strategies to students' personal pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses, so that they have a solid basis for self-advocacy in the university setting and eventually in the workplace.
Students make appointments to meet with Mary through the SSD receptionist. At that time they fill out an intake questionnaire. The questionnaire asks them to describe their current strategies for learning and to identify up to three academic skills that they would like to work on in their meetings with Mary. The first meeting is devoted to assessing whether a student would benefit from the Learning Strategies process, and that a decision about the number of further sessions will be made in collaboration with Mary during the first meeting.
Sometimes only one or two additional meetings are necessary; other students meet with Mary for approximately six sessions. A few students may benefit from meeting weekly or every other week over a term or academic year.
The Steps for Accessing Learning Strategies
1. Talk to your SSD counsellor about whether Learning Strategies might be helpful for you.
2. Make an appointment through the receptionist, as you normally do to see your counsellor.
3. Fill out a questionnaire.
4. Meet with Mary to review your psychoeducational assessment report and to prioritize your goals.
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All information disclosed by students to SDC will be kept confidential. It will not be shared with family, university staff, course instructors, or others without written permission and will not become part of academic records.
Student Development Centre is experienced in working with diverse populations.