The infinity rainbow symbol represents the diversity of the autism spectrum as well as the greater neurodiversity movement.

Our commitment to equity and academic opportunities for all students shines through Adelphi’s Learning Resource Program—the first of its kind on a college campus—and our Bridges to Adelphi Program, for students on the spectrum.

Led by a mission to personalize education for every student, Adelphi became one of the first universities in the nation to create a program designed to support the success of its students with learning disabilities.

The pioneering Learning Resource Program, created in 1979, established Adelphi’s reputation for supporting neurodiversity in its students.

Two generations later, Adelphi’s Learning Resource Program is nationally recognized for its track record of providing the resources and support to enable students with “invisible disabilities” —learning disabilities like dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia and auditory processing disorders—to thrive at college. Along with the University’s award-winning Bridges to Adelphi program, which was created specifically for students on the autism spectrum, the Learning Resource Program offers innovative support—and successful outcomes—to neurodiverse students.

“We have hundreds of alumni, hundreds of successful students who have come through the program,” said Lauren Lavoie, MS ’02, director.

Double the nationwide college graduation rate

The numbers tell an impressive story. Students in Adelphi’s Learning Resource Program have a 68 percent graduation rate. That’s nearly double the college graduation rate nationwide for students with learning disabilities, which hovers around 35 percent.

The majority of students enrolled in the Learning Resource Program complete their degree within five years, she explained. Nationally, students with learning disabilities typically take between six to eight years to earn their diploma.

Success stories

The students tell an impressive story, too. Braden Muller, a first-year student majoring in exercise science who has dyslexia, has a 3.91 average and is taking a full load of classes. He credits the Learning Resource Program with making his success possible.

“Going into high school, I read at a second grade level,” said Muller, who is from Virginia Beach, Virginia. He came to Adelphi because of the program, and he has been pleased with the results.

“I have a team behind my back that will help me as dyslexic,” he said. “Without the Learning Resource Program, I would have struggled…but they make sure I meet with a math tutor once a week, that I meet with an educator, and that I meet with someone who helps me edit my papers. So all those things really, really helped me transition in college.”

Rafael Lyrio, a rising sophomore in theatre arts, has ADHD. “The Learning Resource Program is really helpful because it gives me the support I need to do well academically,” he said. “I am almost done with freshman year, and it has been amazing. I was really scared because I didn’t know what to expect at college, but I could not be happier. I have made friends, I have performed in two productions, and I am doing well. I am certain that this program has played a big role in how fulfilling my first year has been.”

Success stories like these are why the website College Choice has named Adelphi one of the 50 Best Disability Friendly Colleges and Universities.

Help with everything from mindfulness to Zoom

Around 100 students a year use the program, Lavoie said. The students have access to services ranging from academic tutoring to vocational and personal counseling.

Students get weekly sessions with a learning specialist who has a master’s degree in special education, assistance with career planning, and group and individual sessions with a clinical social worker. They also take first-year writing courses targeted to students with learning disabilities.

The social worker can help provide needed emotional support for students with learning disabilities. “Students can arrive here after having struggled quite a bit in school,” Lavoie said. “Students who learn differently may not always be understood, and this can create negative self-perceptions.”

The Learning Resource Program offers an optional summer program for rising first-year students so they can get a head start on the transition to college. And there’s a group to help parents learn to provide better support for their student.

The program also offers weekly group meetings for students that provide help with everything from mindfulness as a way to deal with the stress of exams to how to download a transcript of a Zoom class.

“We do pretty much whatever it takes to optimize a student’s potential,” Lavoie said. “We’re dedicated to providing the resources and support they need to succeed.”

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