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Notre Dame College Launches Support Center for Learning Differences
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Notre Dame College Launches Support Center for Learning Differences

According to Postsecondary Education for Students With Learning Disabilities, “the number of college freshmen with learning disabilities has increased tenfold since 1976. Only 13 percent of students with learning disabilities (compared to 53 percent in the general population) have attended a four-year postsecondary school program within two years after leaving high school.” Now Notre Dame College is equipped to give these students a head start.

Notre Dame College’s Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences (ASC) is now in service, assisting the segment of the student population that is the most underserved at the college level. It is designed to help students with documented learning disabilities such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, and others. Services are voluntary and comprehensive, aimed at developing self-advocacy skills.

The Learning Disability Association of America (LDA) says that students with learning disabilities require a comprehensive, well-conceptualized array of services that are focused on developing independent learners and performers capable of meeting high expectations both in the general education curriculum and life.

Individual tutoring, geared to the subject matter, will help students with organizational skills, learning techniques, note-taking, test-taking, reading comprehension and other areas of need. Students will have the benefit of working with professional tutors. Support group activities, workshops on study skills and organizational skills, training on the use of adaptive equipment, and books on tape are at the students’ fingertips.

The ASC received a grant of $4800 from the Legacy Village Lyndhurst Community Fund of the Cleveland Foundation to be used for the purchase of learning tools such as Kurzweil reading aids, Naturally Speaking voice-activated software systems, and Zoom Text software that helps visually impaired as well as ADD/ADHD students and auditory learners.

Gretchen Noetzel Walsh, director of the center, and niece of Frances Burger Noetzel ’41, and Margaret Noetzel ’48 expressed her appreciation for wide-spread community support of the College’s efforts to establish the ASC. “We are grateful to the Legacy Village Lyndhurst Community Fund for their important donation to the Center. Our goal is to help students achieve a successful college experience, and this contribution will give the students the advantage of the latest technology.” According to Walsh, “The Center can accommodate up to ten students with dyslexia and/or ADD/ADHD this semester and 15-20 students for 2006-2007. Eventually we expect 65-75 students annually, with a summer orientation program for all learning disabled students added in 2006-07.” The long-range plan calls for the ASC to enter into a consortium with other regional colleges and universities to develop similar support systems for students with learning differences.

If you know a student who would benefit from the Academic Support Center at Notre Dame College, contact Gretchen Walsh at 216.373.5185 or gwalsh@ndc.edu.

To lend philanthropic support to the Academic Support Center and discuss naming opportunities, please contact Carol L. Carbary, CFRE, Vice President of College Advancement, at 216.373.5234.

Mary Ann Kovach is Director of Public Relations at Notre Dame College.