Learning Assistance

Learning disorders are real and they affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, store, respond to, and communicate information. Below you will find information on assessing and diagnosing learning disorders, as well as some general study tips.


There could be many possible causes to attention and learning difficulties. One sign of a learning disability is a distinct gap between a person’s level of expected achievement and what the person actually is achieving. Check out the National Center for Learning Disorders to learn more.

Some students struggle with test anxiety and could benefit from new coping skills and improved stress management skills. Check out related information and resources for Stress Management.

Irlen Syndrome (formerly known as Scotopic Sensivity Syndrome) is a perceptual problem that hinders some people from being able to learn, read or study efficiently. It is a visual perceptual disorder primarily affecting reading and writing based activities. Download and complete the CSU Health Network’s Irlen Self-Test.

The CSU Health Network offers two screenings:

  • Irlen Screening This requires two one-hour appointments with a certified Irlen screener. [Refer to the description of Irlen Syndrome in the General Information section below.]
  • Attention & Focus Screening LAP uses the IVA+ (Integrated Visual and Auditory + Plus Continuous Performance Test, a copyrighted tool). This computer-based screening requires a one-hour appointment.


If you believe you are (or might be) affected by Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and you want to consider medication treatment for ADHD, your first step at the CSU Health Network is to contact the Psychiatric Services Nurse at 970-491-1734. When you call, state and spell your full name; give your CSU Student ID number; indicate your request to consult about ADHD; and provide a phone number where you can be reached. If you leave a message for the Nurse, she will call you back.

The next step, if you have previously been diagnosed and treated for ADHD, is to transfer those prior medical records to the CSU Health Network.

The psychiatric nurse will tell you how to authorize the transfer of medical records. And, once CSU Health Network has received your prior records, the psychiatric nurse will call you to schedule an appointment.

The following step will be an appointment with one of the psychiatry providers at the CSU Health & Medical Center, 151 W. Lake St. The psychiatric nurse will schedule this meeting for you. The psychiatry provider will gather history and talk with you about your attention and behavioral concerns. The provider may ask you to fill out self-report forms and ask your permission to gather similar information from a third party (e.g., a parent) as well. The provider will also inform you about other requirements to coincide with any medication treatment, if it is warranted.

CSU Health Network psychiatric providers follow state-of the art recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Medication options for ADHD include stimulants (Adderall and Ritalin like medications) and non-stimulant medications. Before stimulants are prescribed, you will need to have an observed urine drug test at a lab with a negative result. Using marijuana may contribute to ADHD symptoms and we require abstinence from marijuana use.

Study Tips

    1. Be an active learner!
      • Spend the time
      • Read the assignments
      • Find out what works for you
    2. Distribute your exposure to the material.
      • Mix it up: vary your strategies
        • State information in your own words (spoken and/or written)
        • Relate information to what you already know (making connections)
        • Elaborate or apply the information to real life issues (application)
        • Translate information into a picture/diagram (format)
    3. Discover your best study rhythms.
      • “Sprints”
      • “10Ks”
      • Renewing Breaks
    4. Satisfy the “prerequisites” for effective study.
      • Refreshing sleep
      • Healthy eating
      • “Clean and Sober”
      • Study-enhancing environment
    5. Seek help.
      • The Learning Assistance Program is here to help!

Learn more about reducing test anxiety here:

Reducing Test Anxiety

Campus Resources

Learning Assistance Consultation

If you are experiencing academic performance problems, and/or have concerns about possible attention or learning difficulties, you can find help, resources, and get professional feedback through a Learning Assistance Consultation.

A Learning Assistance Consultation is a specialty service of the CSU Health Network, within Counseling Services. The staff is committed to helping students identify and overcome academic performance problems. There could be many possible causes to attention and learning difficulties.

An initial Learning Assistance Consultation costs no money for CSU students who have already paid the applicable student counseling fee.

  • Visit CSU Health Network Counseling Services at the CSU Health & Medical Center, 151 W. Lake St.
    Drop-in hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Call CSU Health Network Counseling Services: (970) 491-7121
  • If you are primarily concerned about attention deficits and want to consider ADHD medication, a quicker, more direct way to talk with a CSU Health Network medical provider is to call the Psychiatry Services Nurse (Beryl Schaefer, RN)  at (970) 491-1734. Leave a message requesting ADHD consultation along with your name, your CSUID number, and the phone number where she can reach you.

Resources for Disabled Students offers advocacy, support, and services for all students with functional limitations due to visual, hearing, learning, or mobility disabilities as well as to students who have specific physical or mental health conditions or temporary disabilities.

TILT, The Institute for Teaching and Learning is a great resource to all students wanting to improve their academic performance. TILT offers a wealth of academic skills workshops, connects students to tutoring and study groups, and provides a number of online study resources including handouts on topics including study tips, note-taking skills, test taking hints, and more.

Trouble Taking Tests

If you are having trouble paying attention during tests, finishing tests during the allotted time, or showing what you believe you know on tests, we recommend you contact Resources for Disabled Students (RDS) as soon as possible to request temporary test accommodations. This service doesn’t cost you anything. The staff members with RDS are strong advocates for students. They are ready to arrange help for you during tests — like extra time and/or a quieter room — while you are getting help to figure out what’s going on and what you need.

  • Call Resources for Disabled Students at (970) 491-6385 to set up a meeting to request “temporary test accommodations.”
  • When you go to that meeting, take all of your course syllabi. RDS will immediately need to know your course numbers, test dates, etc to be able to give you the best support.
  • Visit CSU Health Network Counseling Services:CSU Health & Medical Center, 151 W. Lake St.
    Drop-in hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Call CSU Health Network Counseling Services: (970) 491-7121


Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth provides study videos and informative handouts.

Cal Poly has a wealth of handouts regarding study and test taking skills.

College Tips provides tips and suggestions for a variety of college situations.

National Center for Learning Disorders works to ensure that the nation’s 15 million children, adolescents, and adults with learning disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in school, work, and life.

Learning to Thrive with ADHD is a great NPR story about getting beyond the challenges of ADHD.