Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

For Students with Disabilities & Learning Differences

For Students with Disabilities & Learning Differences

Image of Cross Campus on sunny day, with students walking on the grass and sidewalks.  Yale building on Temple Street on sunny  day, with leafy tree in front of it.

Do you have a disability that can affect how you navigate your academic and student life at Yale? Have you recently experienced an injury or illness that has made it difficult for you to get your work done? Do you find yourself struggling to focus in your classes? Do you feel like you’re experiencing some extra challenges to thriving as a student and could use some help? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

Strategic thinking and preparation are important components of your academic success. Whether you’re facing a chronic disability, temporary disability (such as a head-injury), or a learning difference, check out the resources on this page to learn more about the incredible support networks available to help you develop the strategies that will allow you to thrive.

On this page:

FAQs
Learning specialist
Peer Mentoring
Tutoring Resources
Resources for more General Challenges

FAQs

The Yale student body is highly diverse and includes students both with and without formal documentation of disabilities and learning differences. Whatever your particular profile, all undergraduates have access to a network of supports at Yale, from targeted academic resources at the Poorvu Center, formal accommodations through the Student Accessibility Services, peer support programs, and personal supports through Yale Health

  1. I have some concerns about how I learn. What services can the Academic Strategies Program offer me?
    There are several avenues of support available for students experiencing disability at Yale. Students with can go to an Academic Strategies workshop, meet with an Academic Strategies mentor, or meet with an Academic Strategies staff member to develop a specific learning plan. The Academic Strategies Program also oversees the Disabilities Peer Mentor Program, which provides strategic, student-centered support for both undergraduate and graduate students navigating Yale with a disability. For this program, “disability” is broadly defined to be as inclusive of student experience as possible. Finally, ADHD support groups are available for undergraduate students on a monthly basis.  Back to top of FAQ

  2. Who do you work with?
    We work with all Yale undergraduates and graduate students! Students present with a wide variety of concerns, from organizational and time management issues to more specific reading, writing, visual or auditory challenges. You may be working with a physical challenge or a temporary difficulty resulting from an injury. You may be seeking to understand differences that are not formally diagnosed, or you may be arriving at Yale with prior testing and a formal diagnosis. In any and all of these cases, our group is here to identify learning strategies to empower your overall learning. Back to top of FAQ

  3. I had accommodations in high school or at another college/university. How do I reactivate them on campus?
    For undergraduates who have prior paperwork and formal accommodations, the first step is to contact Student Accessibility Services. Find out everything you need to get started hereBack to top of FAQ

  4. I’m worried that my work is not as strong because of underlying learning difficulties that are not formally diagnosed. What should I do?
    It is not uncommon for difficulties to emerge for students in their first year at Yale, or as they enter increasingly challenging courses. The coping strategies that you used in the past may no longer be sufficient in handling the reading load or organizational demands of your course load. If the online resources or workshops don’t speak to your concerns, you can schedule an appointment with either Karin Gosselink or Sarah Cussler to develop an academic plan, or schedule an appointment to talk through potential accommodations with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Back to top of FAQ

  5. I am concerned that some course materials are not accessible. What should I do?
    Given increasing interest in assistive technology, accessible materials online are all the more important. If you have formal documentation and accessibility concerns, reach out directly to SAS. If you do not have formal accommodations but come across course materials that are not accessible, contact the Poorvu Center’s Digital Accessibility Specialist, Michelle MorganBack to top of FAQ

  6. I’d like to reach out to students with disabilities on campus. Where can I contact them?
    The student advocacy organization, DEFY, has increased the visibility of students with disabilities at Yale and helped focus the university-wide conversation on students’ needs. They have created a Disability Survival Guide for Yale students with disabilities available here. Join the conversation by attending an upcoming meeting. Back to top of FAQ

  7. Why do students use our services or resources?
    Students’ needs are as varied as their fingerprints, but common reasons for seeking additional support might include concerns about language learning, STEM classes, writing classes, anxiety, trouble following and keeping track of things in a lecture course, trouble with heavy reading loads, or trouble with managing time. Back to top of FAQ

  8. What assistive technology do you recommend?
    Yale does not endorse any particular software or apps, but students have compiled a list of applications that they have found useful in their academic work. For more information, email sarah.cussler@yale.edu.Back to top of FAQ

Learning Specialist

Students whose disabilities affect their approaches to learning may find it helpful to meet individually with our Learning Specialist, Sarah Cussler, to discuss learning challenges and new strategies for their academic work. To make an appointment, send an email to sarah.cussler@yale.edu.

Peer Mentoring

Student success is highly correlated to finding community and making use of resources. That’s why Yale offers two peer mentorship programs to support students with disabilities.

SAS Peer Liaisons for First-Years

The Student Accessibility Services (SAS) Peer Liaisons help incoming first-year students with disabilities navigate their transition to campus and help them access SAS and other key resources. First-years can request an SAS peer mentor using the following link: SAS Peer Liaison Program.

Disability Peer Mentors 

In collaboration with Disability Empowerment at Yale (DEFY), Academic Strategies offers Disability Peer Mentors for any undergraduate or graduate student with disabilities (both formally diagnosed and undiagnosed). The program pairs students with peers with similar backgrounds and experiences to create networks of support for students with disabilities at Yale. To sign up, fill out this request form: Disability Peer Mentor Program.

Helpful Resources at Yale: Tutoring

Course Content
Language learning
STEM classes
Writing tutoring

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Helpful Resources at Yale: More General Challenges

Anxiety: Meet with a peer mentor or an ASP staff member.

ADHD: Meet with an ASP staff member, connect with a peer mentor, or attend a monthly ADHD Support Group.

Note Taking and Lectures: Attend a workshop on Lectures & Seminars, or meet with a mentor.

Reading: Attend a workshop on Managing a Heavy Reading Load, or meet with a mentor.

Time Management and Organization: Attend a workshop on Time Management, or meet with a mentor.

Exam Help:Attend a workshop on Exam Preparation, or meet with a mentor.

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For more information, watch this video from our Learning Specialist, Sarah Cussler, or contact her directly at sarah.cussler@yale.edu.

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