The Challenges Facing Arab Students with Learning Disabilities in Higher Education Institutions and the Role of Support Centers in Their Academic Functioning: A Preliminary Study

  •  Dorit Olenik-Shemesh    
  •  Tali Heiman    
  •  Alla Assaig    


The topic of support for students with learning disabilities (LD) has been studied to a considerable extent in recent years, due to the significant increase in the integration of students with learning disabilities in higher education institutions (HEI). However, there is hardly any research examining the support for students with learning disabilities in Israel’s Arab sector. The purpose of the current preliminary study is to examine whether support centers for students with learning disabilities assist Arab students with their learning and general academic functioning in Israeli higher education institutions. The study is qualitative, involving semi-structured interviews with eight Arab students diagnosed with learning disabilities studying at two institutions of higher education. Analysis of the interviews revealed four major themes: The double difficulty that students experience due to the fact that they are Arabs for whom Hebrew is a second language, and due to their learning disabilities; lower awareness of learning disabilities in the Arab sector in Israel; post-diagnosis relief; a sense of wellbeing satisfaction with the educational, social and occupational support provided, enabling them to study and succeed. The article addresses also to the limitations of the study as a primary study, along with recommendations for further research based on this preliminary study.

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