Learning Differences Accommodations

Centre College is committed to providing equal access to learning for all students.

Accommodations are adjustments to classroom environments and testing conditions that provide equal access so that students may fully engage in the college learning experience. Examples of academic and classroom accommodations include, but are not limited to, extended time on in-class exams and quizzes, testing in a low distraction environment, note-taking assistance, preferential classroom seating, tables for wheelchair accessibility, and accessible parking.

Learning Differences Accommodations Procedures

Arrangements for services, equipment, modification of course material, classroom, and other reasonable accommodations may require several weeks advance notice, so students requesting accommodations are encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean and Director of the Centre Learning Commons immediately upon acceptance to make timely provision of needed services possible.

Students requesting reasonable accommodations should connect with Centre’s Accessibility Services, provide supporting documentation, meet with the Assistant Dean and Director of the Centre Learning Commons to discuss their needs, and share their approved accommodation plans with their instructors each semester. All accommodations are assessed on an individual basis and based on the diagnostic reports and educational recommendations of a certified professional in the field of learning disabilities. We emphasize student responsibility when using accommodations in accordance with our procedures which are designed to promote student self-advocacy and independence. The Assistant Dean and Director of the Centre Learning Commons is available for assistance, consultation, and support whenever needed.

To be eligible for approved accommodations at Centre, students must refer themselves to Accessibility Services and submit documentation to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Protection under these civil rights statutes is determined on a case-by-case basis and is based upon documentation of a disability that currently substantially limits one or more major life activity, as defined under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. 

To request accommodations, contact the Assistant Dean and Director of the Centre Learning Commons
e-mail: access@centre.edu
phone: 859-238-6552

Arrangements for services, equipment, modification of course material, classroom, and other reasonable accommodations may require several weeks’ advance notice, so students requesting accommodations are encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean and Director of the CLC immediately upon acceptance to make timely provision of needed services possible.

Once accommodations are approved by Centre’s Accessibility Services, an Accommodation Notification Form (PDF document) is provided to the student that lists the approved accommodations. The accommodations remain in place until the student graduates, or until any modifications are necessitated by a change or update in diagnoses. If no changes are required or requested, the approved accommodations are automatically renewed at the beginning of each new school year. Students will receive an updated form in late August so that they may share it with their fall term instructors during the first week of the semester. The same form should be shared with the student’s Centre and Spring Term instructors. 

It is the student’s responsibility to communicate their approved accommodations to their instructors at the beginning of each semester. The student does this by emailing the current Accommodation Notification Form to each instructor before the end of the first week of classes each term. Accessibility Services recommends that students request from each instructor an email confirmation upon receipt of their Accommodation Notification Form. Students should also discuss with instructors how best to enact and implement reasonable and appropriate classroom arrangements.

This form is provided to the student as a PDF document after they provide supporting documentation of a learning difference diagnosis, and after they discuss their needs with the Assistant Dean and Director of the Centre Learning Commons. The form is a written record of the student’s approved accommodations. The Accommodation Notification Form serves a number of important functions: 

  1. It lists all of the student’s approved academic and classroom accommodations.
  2. Once shared, it notifies instructors that the student is eligible for accommodations, and that the accommodations have been reviewed and recommended by the Assistant Dean and Director of the Centre Learning Commons.
  3. It communicates to instructors the full list of recommended accommodations. 
  4. It enhances the student’s self-advocacy skills and helps them communicate the best means by which their learning differences may be supported.
  5. It provides instructors advanced notice of accommodations so that arrangements can be made in a timely manner.

Documentation Guidelines

Students do not need documentation to meet with Accessibility Services or start the accommodations process. However, documentation of a learning difference is required for accommodations to be finalized, so presenting supporting documentation early on in the process is beneficial for the student and for our office in order to determine appropriate accommodations. The type and amount of documentation required depends on the individual situation and the specific request that is being made. If a student does not have documentation, we will work with the student to determine what documentation is needed. 

The student is ultimately the best source of information about the effects of their disability. We recognize the value of the student's experience and perspective and therefore work collaboratively to review the student’s supporting documentation and develop an accommodation plan together.

Written documentation prepared by a qualified, licensed or certified professional is required for academic and/or classroom accommodations to be finalized. Diagnostic reports and other supporting documents should be printed on official letterhead and include the following information:

  • The diagnosis.

  • The educational, developmental, and medical history relevant to the learning difference for which accommodations are being requested.

  • A list of test instruments used in the evaluation report and relevant subtest scores used to document the learning difference. 

  • The length of time treated and/or how long the condition is expected to last.

  • Impact of the diagnosis on the student in an academic and/or classroom environment.

  • Suggestions for reasonable accommodations (reasonable accommodations are ultimately determined by Accessibility Services).

  • The signature of licensed, treating physician, therapist, counselor, or other health providers qualified to provide the diagnosis.

Assistive Technologies

Centre College is committed to providing equal access to all students. Please review the assistive technology tools and resources listed below. The staff in the Office of Accessibility Services are here to help. Contact us at access@centre.edu.

  • Online OCR Converter – This Online OCR Converter is a web-based site that allows you to convert scanned pdf files or images to an editable text document such as Word, Excel or RTF.  
  • Microsoft’s Learning Tools – Microsoft has a host of free learning tools such as Immersive Reader, Writing, Math and Communication.  Immersive Reader is part of Centre’s Office 365 license, so it’s free to use and is already available in the Office (Word, PPT, Excel) Online.  Immersive Reader has features that include: reading line by line, highlighting text, translation, identifying words in a document being used as a noun, adjective, verb, and annotation.  Immersive reader is available in other programs such as OneNote, Flipgrid, Teams, Outlook and Microsoft Edge, which is the PC web-browser. To access Immersive Reader through Office 365 at Centre, click here to go to the CentreNet Launchpad and click the Office 365/OneDrive button.
  • Snap and Read Universal – Snap & Read is a text reader that helps simplifies vocabulary, translates text, read inaccessible text (ex: OCR), and captures and cite sources. Some of the features include: reading aloud, dynamic text leveling, translation, study tools, color overlay/reading line guides, and a screenshot reader.
  • Read & Write for Google Chrome (free for 30 days) –  Read & Write provides options such as text-to-speech in which it will read aloud documents with an easy to follow dual color highlighting option; dictionaries for text and picture to help explain the meaning of words; speech-to-text that dictate words to assist with writing; proofreading and studying; Word prediction that offer suggestions of new words; collects highlights from previous documents or the web and can help summarize your research; and the option to create and listen to notes directly inside of Google docs. Click here for pricing information.
  • Mercury Reader – Mercury Reader removes ads and distractions from website you visit, providing you with only text and images for a clean reading view on every website.  Other features include: sending sites to your kindle; adjusting the typeface and text size; toggling between light and dark themes; and quick keyboard shortcuts.
  • Open-Dyslexic – Open-Dyslexic is an open source font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia making the format of webpages more easily readable.  
  • Colorblind – The Colorblind extension is free and allows people with different kinds of color blindness (colour vision deficiency) to see more colors.
  • Scrible Toolbar – Scrible Toolbar allows a user to annotate, tag, and share online articles and webpages and save them to your free scrible account. These features include: highlighting, bolding, underlining, and coloring to flag specific text; adding sticky notes on parts of an article; categorizing your annotations by type and color; sharing your articles; and saving articles to your personal library.
  • Beeline Reader – Beeline Reader makes reading easier and faster.  It uses a color gradient to guide your eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next, allowing a quicker transition between the lines of text.
  • Speech Recognition Anywhere – Speech Recognition Anywhere is a speech to text program that uses voice recognition to complete tasks.  When you talk, the text is automatically typed, leaving your hands free. You can also browse the web and control website with voice commands. Limited free features are available and if you want the full features, you will need to pay the $39.99 price. Click here for more information.

Educational Testing

Centre’s Accessibility Services Office does not conduct psycho-educational testing, but the information here may be useful for students who are trying to determine if educational testing is something they should pursue. In the K-12 education system, schools are responsible for identifying students with disabilities and ensuring they receive evaluations for learning differences. In college it is the student’s responsibility to provide documentation of a disability or learning difference, and these conditions may only be diagnosed by a qualified, licensed professional or health care provider. The most reliable testing option is through a private psychologist that is qualified to complete educational evaluations. Although this testing is not done on campus, Accessibility Services can provide a list of local providers who are experienced with testing college-aged students, if needed.
Are you interested in being tested? Contact the Office of Accessibility Services at access@centre.edu so that we may share a list of local providers available for students seeking educational testing services.

Educational Testing Questions

If you feel you have a particular difficulty with learning which may be the result of a diagnosable learning difference (e.g. attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, etc.) or psychiatric disability, there are a few questions you should consider:

Are you experiencing learning difficulties or academic performance struggles? Do you have difficulty paying attention or staying “on task,” getting or staying organized, or arriving on time for appointments? When did your difficulties start? Did someone refer you to Accessibility Services for testing? You should reflect on and be able to articulate what barriers you are experiencing academically and be able to explain them to the person who evaluates you.

If you received accommodations for a learning difference in high school, it is likely that you have already been evaluated or diagnosed. It is wise to discuss this with your family and check with your high school to see if there is an evaluation report of a disability on file for you somewhere. This can save you time and money. 

This type of testing is covered under some, but not all, insurance policies, so be sure to examine your specific policies or contact your insurance agent and/or your medical doctor for a referral. If you do not have insurance or are concerned about cost, please contact us to set up a meeting with an Accessibility Services staff member.

Are you interested in being tested? Contact the Office of Accessibility Services access@centre.edu so that we may share a list of local providers available for students seeking educational testing services.

Center Learning Commons group photo in library

Know the Differences

Transitioning to College

College students are expected to rely more on their own self-advocacy skills than they did in high school. Here are some specific differences in expectations between high school and college to help you prepare for a smooth transition.

Learning Differences Resources

Use these resources for helpful information on managing diagnosable learning differences in college.

Resource Guide for Students with Learning Disabilities
Students with learning disabilities sometimes find college overwhelming. Use this site to find resources and learn about different types of learning disabilities.

Tips for College Students with Disabilities
This resource provides 10 helpful tips related to navigating the challenges of time management, developing effective study habits, accessing campus resources, and determining your individual learning style. 

Anxiety and Depression in College Students

This website from ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) is an excellent resource for information specific to anxiety and depression in college students. Links to helpful resources, blogs, webinars, newsletters, and personal stories are included.

Learning to Thrive with Attention Deficit Disorder
Read this case history of Emily, a first-year college student with ADD who successfully navigates the transition from high school to college level academic and social expectations.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
This website from the National Institute of Mental Health provides a thorough overview of ADHD, it’s signs and symptoms, risk factors, and effective treatments and therapies. It also includes an extensive collection of up-to-date brochures and shareable resources.

ADHD in Children and Teens
This resource from the National Institute of Mental Health provides an overview of ADHD and how it is diagnosed in children and teens. It also provides helpful advice for parents and family members about how best to support ADHD students at home.

College and Autism
This webpage from EDUMED provides a broad overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the challenges ASD individuals face while attending college. It also includes helpful advice on transitioning to college academic expectations, an expert Q and A section, and ASD-specific resources.

Resource Center for Autism
This helpful resource from the University of Indiana Bloomington provides an overview of academic support for college students with ASD, including information on communication, motor, and social skills; sensory differences; learning styles; and effective strategies for coping with stress and anxiety.

Dyslexia Resources
Created by the North Bridge Academy, this website maintains an excellent collection of resources and support materials related to dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia.

For More Information

Man with dark hair and gotee wearing glasses, dark suit, light blue dress shirt, and plaid tie in front of grey background

Brian Cusato

  • Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Director of Centre Learning Commons
  • Classroom Accommodations Coordinator
  • Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience