Advice for Student-Athletes with Learning Disabilities

If your son or daughter has a learning disability, or if you suspect that he or she may have, we strongly encourage you to share that information with the college’s athletic department academic support unit.

As you may know, the college’s coaches, faculty, and staff are not supposed to ask students if they have a learning disability due to Federal privacy laws, and many athletes don’t want that information shared with the coaching staff for fear it will affect their playing time or that it makes them look “weak” or inferior.

However, it might help reassure both student-athletes and parents to know that they are not alone as learning disabilities are more common than most realize. Many athletic departments have a learning disability specialist on staff to assist student-athletes.

In addition, through their collaboration with the Disability Services offices on their respective campuses, many athletic departments have strong resources to assist with athletes who need academic assistance and support for their disability.

Examples of these resources include:

  • Referrals for evaluation and assessment
  • Personalized academic accommodation plans
  • Note-taking services
  • Recording of lectures
  • Time extensions and use of computers for tests and exams
  • Text-to-speech and speech-to-text software

Sharing the information with academic support staff members at the college will allow them to offer the appropriate assistance and support that your student-athlete might need to be successful in the classroom.

If you would feel more comfortable discussing your particular situation and getting advice on how to approach your coach, or have questions about academic eligibility, we do offer confidential fee-based consultations and transcript reviews to ensure that your student-athlete understands your rights and options.

About Rick Allen

25+ years NCAA Rules Expertise, including Director of Compliance at 2 major DI schools

Former President of National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC)

Conducts compliance reviews and audits at NCAA Schools throughout the U.S.

Consulted with NAIA schools transitioning to NCAA membership status

Dad of a DI & DII student-athlete

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