Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



To investigate how high-ability students With learning disabilities succeed in postsecondary academic environments, 12 young adults with disabilities who were successful at the university level were studied. Extensive interviews with these young adults provided examples of the problems faced by high-ability students with learning disabilities, as well as the specific compensation strategies the used to address and overcome these problems. Four of the participants had been identified as having a learning disability in elementary school; six were identified in junior or senior high school; and two were not diagnosed until college. The participants believed that having a learning disability was considered by elementary or secondary school personnel as synonymous with below-average ability. They reported that content remediation, rather than instruction in compensatory strategies, was usually provided in elementary and secondary school learning disability programs. In this article, the compensation strategies used by academically gifted students who succeeded in college are discussed. These include: study strategies, cognitive/learning strategies. compensatory supports, environmental accommodations, opportunities for counseling, self-advocacy, and the development of an individual plan incorporating a focus on metacognition and executive functions.