Students with learning disabilities who attend university have a variety of services and options related to foreign languages. As educational institutions become more focused on preparing students for life and work in a global society, it is becoming increasingly common for colleges and universities to require the completion of foreign language courses to earn a degree. The range of accommodations and modifications available to students with learning disabilities is determined by individual campuses, but federal law requires that colleges and universities offer reasonable accommodations. When studying a foreign language, students with learning disabilities may need to put in extra effort to successfully complete the requirement.
This may include requesting support from teachers, tutors, or peers, as well as requesting additional explanations to understand concepts. In some cases, struggling students may need to take fewer courses or focus specifically on studying a foreign language. Research results indicate that it is not clear who will be able and who will not be able to master the study of a foreign language at school. However, there is evidence that students who struggle to learn a language can be successful in studying a foreign language, especially if they have appropriate instructional modifications. Students who have difficulty learning a foreign language are sometimes referred to as “at risk” because of their difficulties in the normal foreign language classroom.
To help these students succeed, teaching can include individual or small group tutoring, additional time and practice to master a language concept, a reduced teaching load so that the student can focus on the foreign language, and teaching in special classroom environments. In addition, there are terms for related groups such as students from linguistic minorities (LM) or people with a native language other than English (PHLOTE). Formerly fluent in English (FEP) is used to refer to students who have abandoned English as a second language services but are still being monitored to determine their academic success. It is important for students to be informed consumers when preparing for and choosing a university. Many programs offer selective counseling to guide students with LD to choose a foreign language or a programmatic option (such as studying abroad or going on an immersion) that suits their strengths.
Working with this person can generate ideas that you can try, and talking to the foreign language teacher about strategies and adaptations that may help you. Research conducted since the 1980s has supported the logical conclusion that there is indeed a link between learning native and foreign languages. With the diverse requirements, teaching options, adaptations, and modifications related to foreign languages in schools and universities, it is essential for students with disabilities to be aware of the services available.