The Transition to College for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Framework for Assessing and Addressing Complex Barriers


Monday, October 9, 2017

Target Audience

  • Parents and Families
  • Postsecondary Educators
  • Professionals
  • Secondary Educators
  • Self-Advocates


This interactive workshop will illustrate how those students with learning disabilities can come to understand, as they transition into and through their first semester of college, how four key domains of learning: self-management, motivation, skill-attainment, and social-emotional aspects, can affect their learning. Our objective is to explain the role of the domains in developing students’ ability to thrive and persist in college. This presentation is designed to help participants identify and support those barriers which their students may be experiencing. These key learning domains are designed to enhance the participants’ own understanding of emerging adult learners and to heighten their sensitivity to factors that affect the learning process.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Learn to notice student behavior and language
  • Learn to Assess behaviors using the framework of the Four Domains of Learning
  • Learn to identify those common barriers that college students experience in their first year
  • Learn to address barriers to learning through implementation of strategies
  • Become familiar with the use of explicitly designed instruction for addressing complex
  • learning challenges.
  • Be provided with our integrated learning theory "The World of Learners Wheel" as a tool
  • for promoting student growth toward success
  • Engage actively with the materials and take part in several learning activities
  • Learn how to use the Four Domains of Learning Framework with students to help them
  • set comprehensive goals
  • Become aware of how students develop autonomy and self-advocacy as life-long
  • learners
  • Leave with application strategies including worksheets and design curriculum
  • Leave with Four Domains materials through our teacher-resources website

About the Workshop Leaders

Photo: Sophie Lampard Dennis

Sophie Lampard Dennis is an Associate Professor of Education who teaches freshman seminar classes, elective classes with health and wellness themes, a study abroad course, and she is a Wilson Language Method-certified reading instructor specializing in reading, writing and fluency for students with dyslexia and other language-based LDs, and students for whom English is a second language. She has conducted original research and has presented her work regionally, nationally and internationally on issues related to at-risk students in higher education. She has trained staff at universities who work with students with barriers to learning, conducted trainings for professionals in the field, and her publications include journals, newsletters and blogs. Sophie has been serving on Landmark College’s Wellness Committee for the past eight years, a group which is dedicated to ensuring a physically and emotionally healthy campus culture.

Photo: Dorothy Osterholt

Dorothy Osterholt holds a M. Ed. Degree and is an Associate Professor of Education.  As a founding faculty member of Landmark College, she teaches First Years Studies Seminar, and various Education courses at Landmark College. Dorothy has over thirty years of experience teaching students withlearning disabilities. She developed The Four Domains of Learning, a comprehensive model used for assessing and addressing barriers to learning. She has also researched, written and presented on topics related to explicitly designed instruction, academic motivation and holistic approaches to support students with learning disabilities in elementary through adult education. Her writing has appeared in international, national and local publications.