College students who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia do not make sufficient use of information and communications technologies (ICT) for school work. They do not know as much about them and do not use them as much as other students.
This is one of the conclusions of an Adaptech Research Network study on ICTs that could improve the college success of students with learning disabilities. What percentage of college students report having a learning disability? How many of these students register to receive disability related services on campus? What ICTs do experts recommend for students with learning disabilities? Do these suggestions correspond to the ICTs that the students actually use, and how do these compare with ICTs used by students without learning disabilities?
Students should be taught to use ICTs before entering college.
More than 4% of students from two French Cégeps and one English Cégep reported having a learning disability and of these, only 59% were registered to receive disability related services. Furthermore, the findings showed a significant gap between the views of experts and those of students with learning disabilities when it comes to potentially useful ICTs.
Students with learning disabilities and Cégep staff need to be better informed about the different ICTs available and how to use them. Students should be taught to use ICTs before entering college. There needs to be adequate funding to improve the availability of ICTs in Cégeps. Having access to the ICTs they need could help students to develop the necessary skills to succeed in academic, professional and community settings where ICTs are ever present.
Catherine Fichten, Dawson College
Deposit of the research report: July 2012