It’s not easy to study in a language that is not your own. And it’s even harder when you suffer from dyslexia, ADHD or another Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD). Avans School for International Studies (ASIS) will launch a pilot project called PUSH in the third block. PUSH will be a help desk aimed at ASIS students who experience learning difficulties.
‘Support, guiding, planning, tips and tricks’. These are the most important tools to offer students with SpLDs, according to the initiators of PUSH. ASIS lecturers Elaine Ferguson and Tatia Gruenbaum as well as Ryan Davis, a third-year student studying International Financial Management, aim to support these students through the introduction of this physical help desk.
Losing track of the big picture
Students can consult Ms Ferguson during special walk-in sessions to be held in Xplora. ‘When it comes to learning, students with dyslexia or ADHD sometimes have difficulty focusing on the bigger picture. They can get distracted by a range of things. Therefore, the help desk can help students’ to focus on what really matters.’
Ms Ferguson says the help desk can help prevent these students from dropping out due to concentration or language issues. ‘They have the intellectual capacity to earn their credits but find the language hard to understand. This problem can affect English-speaking students as much as students from any other country.’ During her special consultation hour, Ms Ferguson will provide each student with tailor-made advice and support.
Ryan Davis was one of these students who was struggling with his studies. He had a hard time obtaining his credits because of his ADD/ADHD. Elaine Ferguson taught him how to set priorities. Davis: ‘It’s important that students know they don’t have to figure things out all by themselves. They can get the support they need. The sessions with Ms Ferguson have helped me tremendously.’ Davis was asked to join the project and provide input on what’s important from a student’s point of view.
Only one student
The physical help desk follows on from the ASIS Facebook page, where students can currently find tips and tricks on dedicated notice boards. ASIS will use the pilot project to assess whether this help desk meets student needs. For the lecturers it would be a success even if they would be able to help just the one student.
The help desk will be located in conference room no. 2 of Xplora in the Hogeschoollaan building, and will be available from 22nd February through 11th April on Mondays from 13:00 to 14:00.