Post-secondary schools pitch to students with learning disabilities

Algonquin College and Carleton University are reaching out to students with learning disabilities as part of their "Make the Cut" program.

Two of Ottawa’s post-secondary schools are reaching out to prospective students with learning disabilities.

The Make the CUT (College/University Transition) program is a partnership between Carleton University and Algonquin College, aimed at students with disabilities such as attention deficit disorder.

Hundreds of teenagers gathered in a room at Algonquin Wednesday to hear from students who have gone through the program.

"I was really nervous and coming out of high school, I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do, what to expect," said Laura Welsh.

"Once I was here and got to meet people that have a learning disability, and talk with me about how they went through the entire process … it made me feel more comfortable."

One-on-one support of high school isn’t there afterward

Toni Connolly works with Algonquin students with disabilities, and said they can often fail because they don’t get the same one-on-one help as they did in high school.

She said she tries to help by advising them to bring up their needs with teachers and their peers.

"Some of them have really struggled to get as far as they are now for one reason or another, but they won’t have a resource teacher who will really oversee their program one-on-one," she said.

"Hopefully it will make the idea of coming to university or college just a little more reassuring for them, and give the confidence to be here."

Some medical associations say as many as 10 per cent of the population may suffer from learning disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.