College Success for Students with Learning Disabilities
Simpson, C. & Spencer, V.
ISBN: 978-1-59363-359-2
Prufrock Press Inc.

BOOK REVIEW (Davidson Institute) – Written by Cynthia G. Simpson, Ph.D. and Vicky G. Spencer, Ph.D., this book offers teens the confidence, strategies, and guidance they need to effectively choose a college, get prepared for university life, and make the most of their collegiate experience. Special sections also discuss ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome.

Reviewed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

The sheer number of college planning resources available for students and parents who wish to gain admission to the college of their (or their child’s) dreams can be overwhelming. One needs to look no further than the closest bookstore, which likely has an entire section devoted to the college admissions industry. However, in the area of practical guides designed to help students with learning and developmental disabilities achieve their higher education goals there is a void in the literature. College Success for Students with Learning Disabilities, written by Cynthia G. Simpson, Ph.D. and Vicky G. Spencer, Ph.D., begins to fill this void by providing insightful, practical advice for students with learning, developmental and other challenges.

The main themes of this easy-to-read guidebook are empowering students with the knowledge of what to expect throughout the college search, preparation and admission process, along with the skills and tools to take control of their educational and professional futures. Beginning in high school with taking ownership of IEP meetings, transition planning, self-advocacy, the college selection process, and moving through the adjustment to college academics and university life, the authors provide ample food for thought for both students and parents.

Chapters include timelines, checklists, sample forms, worksheets, questionnaires and excepts from student interviews which provide precious words of wisdom from the personal experiences of students who have successfully navigated the college process. This “been there, done that” advice serves to demystify what can appear from the outside to be a vague and confusing process. Each chapter concludes with a list of carefully selected and valuable web resources for further exploration.

At 144 pages (not including the glossary and additional resources section) which are broken down into six short chapters, the book is a quick read and easy to understand. The authors sift through very complex issues to identify and provide only the most valuable and useful bits of information. By using simple and efficient terminology, Simpson and Spencer logically partition a complicated process to its component parts making it seem much more manageable. The reader does not end up feeling overwhelmed by the path laid out before them.

If you are a student with dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger’s and/or other learning difficulties or you are the parent of a child with such diagnoses, this book should be on your shelf. The earlier you start to prepare, and the more familiar you are with the rights and responsibilities associated with the transition to independence and young adulthood, the more likely you are to experience success in post-secondary education.

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