Learning Disabilities Program

Banacos advisor working with student

The Banacos Academic Center is home to the Learning Disabilities Program,  as well as the University Tutoring Program, MTEL ComLit Preparation and Disability Services.

Westfield State University is committed to providing a learning, working and living environment for students, employees and other members of the University community, which values the diverse backgrounds of all people. The University is committed to assuring that the “university experience” is one that challenges, empowers, supports and prepares its students to live in, work in, and value our increasingly global and diverse world.

Founded in 1979, the Learning Disabilities Program at Westfield State University offers a supportive academic setting where students with learning differences, that are learning disability or ADHD based, can flourish. A professional Program Advisor is assigned to each new student in the Learning Disabilities Program. The Advisor helps students to master their individual learning strengths and assists students in becoming fully independent learners.

Admission into the Learning Disabilities Program is competitive, and decisions are made on an individual basis after a thorough review of all application materials. Successful applicants will demonstrate their potential to engage in college level academics and have a diagnosis of a learning disability and/or ADHD. Students who wish to apply should check the appropriate box on the Westfield State University application and submit the documents mentioned below.

Applicants to the program are not required to submit SAT scores. Instead, applicants are required to submit the following to the Office of Admissions with the application and application fee:  

  1. An official high school transcript, including first-quarter, senior year grades; and,
  2. A complete report for, and results of, a recent psycho- educational assessment. This assessment, along with its subtests, must include a clear diagnosis of a learning disability or ADHD. An IEP must be submitted when the diagnosis is only found in the IEP. Otherwise, we strongly encourage submission of  the most recent IEP or 504 plan.
  3. Both a psycho- educational cognitive and achievement assessment results and report.  Suggested instruments include the following:
    1. WAIS-III or WAIS-IV or comparable instrument; and,
    2. Achievement tests (such as Woodcock- Johnson)

Applicants who submit a reflective personal statement and academic recommendations from two subject area teachers will receive preferential review. Academic record, strength of schedule, recommendations and academic unit requirements are also considered for admission of students with learning disabilities.

Under Massachusetts state law, SAT scores may be waived for students with documented learning disabilities. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education also allows students with language-based disabilities to substitute two college preparatory units in humanities or social sciences for the foreign language requirement.

PRIORITY DEADLINE for applications to the Learning Disabilities Program is February 1.

Candidates are accepted for Fall semester admission only.


The services available are discussed with each student in the Learning Disabilities Program. Services include the following:

  • Professional assistance with academic skills, time management, and self-advocacy.
  • Academic advisement.
  • Individual peer tutoring.
  • Monitoring of academic progress.
  • Early course registration for first-year and sophomore students.


Due to the individualized nature of learning disabilities, all reasonable accommodations are determined on an case-by-case, individual basis. Students must request classroom accommodations each semester and make timely requests for all others.  Please discuss the timeliness of reasonable accommodation requests with your program advisor. The Reasonable Accommodations Request form is available here and in the Banacos Academic Center. The Learning Disabilities Program also provides a wide array of reasonable and appropriate accommodations to its students with additional diagnosed disabilities such as physical, psychological, or medical challenges. Students are expected to provide current documentation of any disability for which they request reasonable accommodation.  

Reasonable accommodations that are available include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Priority registration for classes.
  • Assistance in obtaining audio recordings or electronic files for books.
  • Access to Kurzweil 3000 reader software.
  • Access to Dragon Naturally Speaking in the Banacos Academic Center's assistive technology lab.
  • Extended time on quizzes and exams (50% or 100%).
  • Exam room.
  • Readers/scribes for examinations.
  • Assistive listening devices. 

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