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Qualification for Disability Related Services at UW-La Crosse:

Accommodations:

Academic:

Physical Access:

Grievance/Appeal Procedures:

Access to the University:

Resources:

Federal Laws and Legal Precedents Pertinent to Disability Services:

State of Wisconsin: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provides services to people with disabilities to assist them to reach independent living or employment goals. There are many services and programs for persons with disabilities. Some programs require specialized examinations to show that you have a disability that creates problems for you. All programs require prior DVR approval before goods or services can be provided. Below is a partial list of services that are available. Services may include any or all of these examples:

  • Counseling to cope with disability related problems.

  • Evaluations to determine what disability is present and what problems exist.

  • Informational and referral services for other programs.

  • Vocational training or retraining to allow you to work.

  • Telecommunications and other adaptive devices for personal communication needs.

  • In-home assessments to identify ways to increase your personal independence.

  • Evaluations to determine the potential for job-site modifications.

  • Support services during your rehabilitation.

  • Interpreter services for persons with sensory disabilities.

If you are eligible for any DVR services, DVR staff will work with you to develop a written service plan.
If you use note taking, test-taking, tutoring or taping or services, you must notify your DVR counselor in advance of receiving that service in our office.

Vocational Rehabilitation

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Successful Study Strategies:

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ORGANIZATION

Organizing time and things can be a major task for students. They often lose papers, misplace assignments, and forget appointments. Disorganization can add a tremendous amount of frustration and headaches to a student's life.

Here are some organizational tips:

  • Keep a daily, weekly, and monthly calendar for appointments, test dates, paper due dates, etc.

  • Assign priorities to things to get done during the day.

  • Have a separate notebook for each subject.

  • Organize papers and handouts. Every time you get one, put it in the appropriate section of your notebook.

  • Have a place for everything.

  • Make a list of everything you need for class.

  • Plan ahead. Start papers early. Give yourself plenty of time to study for tests.

In the first few weeks of classes:

  • Find out about your instructor.

  • Read ahead. Read background material.

  • Look at notes before class and immediately or as soon as possible after class.

  • Find out the instructor's policy regarding test make-ups if you are sick the day of the test.

  • Study every day.

  • Ask questions.

  • See your teacher for extra help early in the semester, not the day before the test.

  • Make sure the instructor knows your name. Make a favorable impression.

  • Start to develop memory strategies to remember material. (See section on memory tips.)
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HOW TO PLAN YOUR TIME

  1. Schedule fixed blocks of time first. Start with class time, work time and any extra-curricular meetings (sports or organizations).

  2. Include time for errands. Allow flexibility in your schedule.

  3. Schedule time for fun.

  4. Set realistic goals for yourself.

  5. Study two hours for every hour in class. (quality time)

  6. Avoid scheduling marathon study sessions

  7. Set clear starting and stopping times

  8. Plan for the unplanned. Have back-up plans.

  9. Be aware of your best time of the day.

  10. Study difficult (or "boring") subjects first.

  11. Get ready the night before.

  12. Avoid distractions: phone, TV, hang up a "Do Not Disturb" sign.

  13. Learn to say no.

  14. Choose a career according to your interests and strengths.

  15. Don't overload classes. If you are weak in math, take only one math course at a time.

  16. Talk to professors ahead of time if using accommodations. Take documentation.

  17. Meet with your Learning Disability advisor regularly

  18. Keep a balance in your life--exercise, rest, eat healthy meals, socialize, pursue other interests, reduce emotional stress by talking to a friend or counselor.

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LEARNING WITH YOUR MUSCLES (RELAXATION STRATEGY)

Developed by: Jeffery Barsch, Learning Disability Clinic, 4667 Telegraph Rd., Ventura College, Ventura, CA 93003

Here are some alternative learning systems worth exploring when you are having trouble mastering college subjects.

  1. Changing body postures when studying

    • Laying on your stomach

    • Laying on your back

    • Sitting Indian style

    • Leaning against a wall

    • Walking around the room

      Change position every 15 minutes. This system will keep you alert and help you stay awake.


  2. Taking a long walk

    When you have material to memorize it is very helpful to walk and memorize at the same time. Take your book or study material with you when you walk. As you walk, try to think about the terms and concepts you need to remember. If you cannot remember, stop for a moment, review your book and then start walking again. It is very hard to walk and think at the same time; however, once you master this system you will not forget your material.

  3. The Squeeze

    Get a small rubber ball. As you study or read, squeeze the ball in your left hand and then your right hand. Squeeze as hard as you can four times during a two minute period. Continue on a regular basis.
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READING

  • Taped textbooks. Many students find listening and reading along in the book to improve comprehension significantly.

  • Read aloud or have a friend read to you.

  • SQ4R
    • Survey- glance over the headings to see the few main points that will be developed.

    • Question- read questions at the end of the chapter or turn headings into questions

    • Read- read to answer each question

    • Recite- after each section, look away from the book and try to recite the answers to your questions. If you cannot do this, look over the section again.

    • "Rite"- write down key points

    • Review- when you've read the entire lesson this way, look over the material and make sure you understand what's under each heading. Try the questions at the end of the chapter and see if you know the answers.

  • Take notes while you read.

  • Underline key phrases in your textbook.

  • Visualize. Try to picture in your mind the ideas the author is describing. This will help you remember longer.

  • If you have trouble understanding test questions, have someone read them to you.

  • Seek out the reading lab or study skills center to improve reading speed and comprehension.

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MEMORY

Memory problems affect many students with a learning disability. Short-term memory problems may affect a student's ability to follow directions, especially if there are several steps, because by the time he gets to the last step he forgets what was said at the beginning. Some students have trouble with long-term memory. They can remember information for a test, but a week later the information is gone. Such a student can get an "A" on a spelling test, but be unable to recall those words a few days later.

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

  • When learning new information, review it several times to help transfer it from short-term memory to long-term memory. Recite and repeat.

  • Learn from the general to the specific.

  • Don't cram. We tend to remember information longer if it is learned in three 2-hour sessions instead of one 6-hour session.

  • Take a break about every 50 minutes. Relax.

  • Review material periodically throughout the quarter.

  • Create associations. Fit new material in with what you already know.

  • Learn actively. Get all your senses involved--gesture, draw pictures, talk out loud, write it down. Using two or more senses at a time helps anchor information in your memory.

  • Reduce interference. Find a quiet place free from distractions.

  • Put information into your own words. Don't just memorize--make sure you understand. Make it meaningful.

  • Use mnemonics. Try memory "tricks" such as HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior) to remember the Great Lakes. Make up your own.

  • When you are stuck and can't remember something, think of something related. If you have a memory block during an exam, recall facts that are related. This should jog your memory because similar information is stored in the same area of the brain.

  • Decide to remember. Memory experts say if we don't remember something, it's probably because we didn't try to remember it in the first place.

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AUDITORY PERCEPTION AND NOTE TAKING

Difficulty in auditory perception may cause a student to misinterpret information in lectures and conversations. They often can't hear the difference between similar words like "lunch" and "bunch." Or perhaps word endings are left off -- hearing "sand" instead of "sandwich." This is not because they have trouble with their hearing. This is a "perception" problem -- meaning the brain is not accurately processing what they hear. They may listen to a lecture and understand every word, but not be able to piece it together to make sense. They may be easily distracted by noise while trying to read, taking a test, or listening to a conversation.

Here are suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Sit near the front of the classroom. Tape record lectures and listen to them again.

  • Pay special attention to lecture notes written on the board or overhead.

  • Read material in your textbook related to the lecture and review notes before class.

  • Have a note taker. Have another student in the class use carbon paper, so you can have a copy of his notes to fill in whatever you missed (see accommodations manager in DRS office for carbon paper).

  • Listen for main points. Most professors repeat the main point.

  • Listen for organizational cues such as "the point is," "the 3 steps are," "to summarize".

  • When writing notes, divide your paper into 2 columns--the rights side larger--and use it for the bulk of information. Use the left side to highlight main ideas and recall information after class.

  • Use short phrases and key words, don't try to write everything the professor says.

  • After class, fill in any information you missed with another student or the instructor.

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MATH

A student with a learning disability in the area of math may have difficulty understanding math concepts. Math just doesn't make sense even after going over and over it. Others understand math concepts, but are unable to remember multiplication facts, or the steps in completing a division problem. Some do well until they get to algebra and geometry. Many students feel they understand the material in class, but later can't recall how to do the problems. Word problems seem to be especially troublesome. Some students find they lose points on tests by making "stupid" mistakes--adding instead of subtracting, confusing a "+" for a "x", or copying the problems incorrectly from the book or board. A large number of students suffer from "math anxiety" as a result of repeated failure with mathematics.

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Study and ask questions to understand math concepts. Don't just memorize facts and formulas. Try to learn why.

  • Try verbalizing math problems. Put into words what you are doing, rather than just dealing with numbers.

  • When tackling a word problem, underline the parts needed to work the problem.

  • Make flash cards for algebra formulas, steps to problems, definitions, etc.

  • Talk to your instructor to clarify areas you don't understand.

  • Get a tutor to work with daily.

  • Attend math anxiety workshops.

  • Buy a book that simplifies math concepts such as "Algebra Made Simple."

  • Seek out the math lab for extra help.

  • Sign up for remedial math courses to build basic skills.

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WRITTEN LANGUAGE

The student who has a learning disability in the area of written language may be able to think about what he wants to say or even verbalize it quite well, but when he writes it down it just doesn't come out on paper the way he intended. His writing does not reflect his ability. There is often a significant difference between his speaking and writing abilities. Organizing a paper or an answer to an essay question can be a major ordeal. Some students find if they just didn't have to be concerned about all the spelling and grammar rules, they could write a good paper or do well on essay exams.

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Use a word processor with a spell-check to write papers. This can be a tremendous help in organizing a paper and cuts down on rewrite time.

  • Write out your papers and "cut and paste" to reorganize.

  • Hide it in your drawer for a while. Rewrite. Then rewrite your rewrite.

  • Read your paper aloud when finished to check how it flows.

  • Have a friend read it and give feedback.

  • Try dictating into a tape recorder and then write your paper from the tape.

  • If you face a writing block, just start writing all of your ideas down. This should get you going with something you can use for your paper.

  • Have someone record your verbal answers to your test questions.

  • Keep a daily journal to practice writing.

  • Keep a personal speller for words you often misspell.

  • Buy the "Misspeller's Dictionary" or "Bad Spellers Dictionary". Words are spelled phonetically so you can look them up.

  • Carry a small dictionary with you.

  • Attend a writing lab to improve your skills.

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STUDY SKILLS AND TAKING TESTS

Ineffective study skills or lack of knowledge about how to take tests often contributes to poor performance on tests. It is especially important for a student who learns differently to develop techniques to study material and be able to recall and express information during a test situation.

  • Know when your high and low energy times are and try to study during your "best" time of day.

  • Study for an hour and take a break.

  • Use the time in between classes to study.

  • Find out what type of test the professor has planned--essay or multiple choice--and study accordingly.

  • Know the vocabulary used in your textbook.

  • Anticipate questions that may be on the test and study to answer those questions.

  • Find a study partner or tutor.

  • Meet with your professor to discuss points you don't understand.

  • If you experience a lot of test anxiety, try some relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, tighten and relax each group of muscles from head to toe, drink some herbal tea, take a hot bath, etc.

  • Make positive statements--tell yourself you will do your best rather than ruminate about how you will probably fail.

  • Read test directions carefully.

  • Answer the easy questions first. This will help boost your confidence and stimulate your memory to answer harder questions.

  • If you do poorly on an exam--learn why.

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BETTER GRADES BY PLANNING A BETTER STUDY SCHEDULE

Adapted from: The Rancho San Tiago College Learning Center Materials, 17th at Bristol, Santa Ana, CA 92706. Reprinted with permission.

A carefully planned study schedule is the key to success in school. Not even the brightest student will achieve his potential without proper skills and without a proper study schedule.

  1. Plan a balanced schedule. Some of your time requirements are fixed, others are flexible. Some of the most frequent ones you must keep in mind are:
    • Flexible: sleeping, study, recreation, etc

    • Fixed: eating, classes, clubs--church, work, etc.

  2. Do justice to each subject. Some subjects require more time than others. Some subjects need to be studied more frequently than do others. Some subjects involve memory work, others require understanding. If you are a slow reader or have other study deficiencies, you may need to plan more time.

  3. Study at a regular time and in a regular place. It is very important to establish regular habits of study. It saves a lot of time just knowing what you are going to study and when. In your schedule avoid such generalizations as "study". Commit yourself to a definite subject at a definite hour.

  4. Block out your study time in one hour periods. Your ability to concentrate decreases and you begin to tire rapidly after a one hour period. Take a short (5 minutes) break and switch to another subject. Do not study similar subjects consecutively.

  5. Study against the clock. Set yourself a time goal and try to attain it. This will keep your concentration and attention at top efficiency.

  6. Study soon after a class in which you took class or lecture notes. An hour spent studying, organizing, understanding, and reviewing lecture and class discussion notes right after such a class is worth five hours spent a few days later. Review your lecture and class notes while they are still "warm."

  7. The SQ4R method will improve your study efficiency. SURVEY - QUESTION - READ - RECITE - "RITE" - REVIEW.

  8. Recitation will help to develop memory and comprehension. Organize your notes in a question and answer form. Use your own words in formulating your answers about the main ideas and important details of the study materials. If you develop proficiency in asking questions you will learn to predict the questions your instructor may ask.

  9. Include time for spaced review. A regular weekly period for cumulative review covering all the work learned previously should be included for each subject

  10. Reading and studying is THINKING. Good notes containing key ideas expressed in your own words and your own reactions and comments on the study materials are the best foundation for comprehension and for remembering what you have learned. If you think as you read and study, you will be successful in school.
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TEST PREPARATION STRATEGIES

  • Study consistently. Keep up using the study skills that work for you.

  • Get a good night's sleep the night before an exam.

  • Eat a light breakfast. This helps prevent low blood sugar and gives you energy.

  • Allow enough time to get to the test without hurrying.

  • In the exam room, sit where you usually sit. You will feel most comfortable there.

  • Bring a watch and keep track of the time. Plan your time and pace yourself so that you are not rushed on any part of the exam.

  • When you get the test, immediately jot down key words and phrases.

  • Read the directions carefully.

  • Answer the easy questions and mark those you don't know to come back to later. You may pick up answers in other parts of the test. Take your time, but answer all questions. Always check your test over before handing it in.

  • Do relaxation exercises any time you need to during the test. Breathe deeply and talk to yourself in a very supportive way.

"REMEMBER DISABILITIES ARE NOT YOUR FAULT, BUT THEY ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY"

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