Helping Students with Disabilities, Free Conference for HS Counselors

Most of the 3 to 4% of teenagers diagnosed with learning disabilities who struggle with high school classes give up on hopes of college, setting back their job and career prospects, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities.  However, programs such as the one found at Westminster College in Fulton, MO are turning that statistic around.

Counselors from across the state are invited to a free, one-day conference on helping students with disabilities prepare for college from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Westminster College campus Friday, October 10.  Registration will be in the Hunter Activity Center on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Westminster’s approach to helping those with learning differences and autism succeed in college has been nationally recognized.

“We want high school counselors to join us in discussing the challenges and opportunities faced by students with disabilities as they work toward college,” says Karen Tompson-Wolfe, Director of the Tomnitz Family Learning Opportunities Center (LOC).

Topics to be discussed during the day include program types and required documentation to prepare for college, funding and financial aid options and unique  challenges and specific needs for students on the autism spectrum.

One session will be a student panel where students with learning differences who have made a successful transition from high school to college will talk about their experiences.

 More information on the conference is available from Karen Tompson-Wolfe at 573-592-5304 or

Last academic year, the LOC’s Learning Disabilities Program served nearly 50 students.

The highly intensive fee-based program provides qualifying students with one-on-one advising and mentorship that extends beyond coursework.

Westminster’s Center for Career Development works with LOC students on resumes, practice interviews, internships and job searches, identifying resources and action plans to transition them from college to career.

“We don’t make students fit the program, and we don’t teach in a classroom setting,” says Tompson-Wolfe.  “Every student is totally different and we work one-on-one to feel out what they need.”

For more on the LOC at Westminster, read “Help Found Here,” beginning on Page 25, in the Fall 2014 issue of Leadership Magazine.

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