Lynch Learning Center Photo

Loras College 11th among ‘disability friendly’ schools

Robert Waterbury

DUBUQUE, Iowa – ‎Loras College ranks 11th among the 50 Best Disability Friendly Colleges and Universities, according to College Choice, a publication that reviews and rates the nation’s colleges and universities to help students find the right school.

Schools that made the list exceeded the minimum legal requirements for accessibility and were also evaluated and ranked based on characteristics such as academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, average financial aid awarded, and return on investment.

Loras College features the Lynch Learning Center (LLC), which offers three levels of direction and support for students with diagnosed learning disabilities. The center has provided a focused, comprehensive program for students with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder for nearly 30 years.

“We have dedicated and experienced staff ready to offer new programming specific to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Lynn Gallagher, Ed.D., director of Disability Services at the Lynch Learning Center.

In 2015, the center launched a four-year program specifically designed to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) thrive emotionally, academically and socially as they work toward a bachelor’s degree. Students enrolled in the program participate in regular meetings with a certified autism specialist as they work through processes of self-advocacy, stress management, and organization.

In addition to skill building, students receive specialized career prep including job shadowing, career fairs, internships and one-on-one résumé and cover letter counseling.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in 68 children is diagnosed with some form of autism—a number that has risen 17 percent per year since the mid-1990s. Loras is one of few institutions that offers a dedicated, four-degree, ASD program.

Loras College also offers accommodation services that include consultation with LLC staff to determine how services like less-distracting testing environments, extended-time testing, and assistive technology can benefit students.

Students interested in the new program should apply simultaneously to the college and through the LLC. For more information or to apply, contact Gallagher at or 563.588.7921.

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