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Learning Disabilities
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Accommodations | Kinds of Learning Disabilities | Problem Characteristics

A learning disability is a disorder that interferes with integrating, acquiring and/or demonstrating verbal or nonverbal abilities and skills. These disorders occur in persons of average to very superior intelligence and are presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction.

Frequently, there are some processing or memory deficits. A learning disability is not the result of auditory, visual or motor impairment; emotional illness; nontraditional or cultural differences; or the lack of educational opportunities.

Accommodations May Include:

(No student will need all of these. Specific academic adjustments are based on the individual’s diagnostic information on file in the Office of Disabiilty Support Services.)


bullet reduced course load
bullet priority registration


bullet extended time to complete assignments
bullet course substitution for nonessential course requirements in major


bullet tape recorders
bullet copies of classmates’ notes


bullet extended time
bullet proctored testing in a quiet, separate area
bullet test taped or read to student
bullet student responds orally to essay test
bullet alternative type of exam
bullet scribe, word processor or speech recognition program
bullet blank card or paper to assist in reading
bullet calculator
bullet test responses read back to the student (for clarification)


bullet taped texts, cassette or electronic
bullet reader
bullet use of Irlen (specially colored) lenses or colored transparencies


bullet extended time for in-class assignments to correct spelling, punctuation and grammar
bullet word processor with spell check


bullet calculator for a student with a disability in the area of math processing (The SAT and the CBEST currently allow students to use a standard four-function calculator as an accommodation.)

Kinds of Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities vary from one person to another and are often inconsistent within an individual. Some of the terms associated with learning disabilities include:

bullet dyslexia:language disorder interfering with the spoken or written word
bullet dyscalculia:disorder affecting mathematical concepts or computation
bullet dysgraphia:writing disorder affecting production of the written word graphically or syntactically
bullet dysphasia:disorder affecting word retrieval or fluency in speaking or understanding
bullet figure-ground perception:inability to see an object from a background of other objects
bullet visual discrimination:inability to see the differences between objects
bullet auditory figure-ground perception:inability to hear one sound among others
bullet auditory sequencing:inability to hear sounds in the correct order

Students may demonstrate one or more of the following problem characteristics, and the form may be mild, moderate or severe:

Study Skills

bullet inability to organize and budget time
bullet difficulty taking notes/outlining material
bullet difficulty following directions
bullet difficulty completing assignments on time

Writing Skills

bullet frequent spelling errors
bullet incorrect grammar
bullet poor penmanship
bullet difficulty taking notes while listening to class lectures
bullet problems with organization, development of ideas and transition words

Oral Language

bullet difficulty understanding oral language when lecturer speaks quickly
bullet difficulty attending to long lectures
bullet poor vocabulary and word recall
bullet problems with correct grammar
bullet difficulty in remembering a series of events in sequence
bullet difficulty with pronouncing multi-syllabic words

Reading Skills

bullet slow reading rate
bullet inaccurate comprehension
bullet poor reaction
bullet poor tracking skills (skip words, lose place, miss lines)
bullet difficulty with complex syntax on tests
bullet incomplete mastery of phonics

Math Skills

bullet computational skill difficulties
bullet difficulty with reasoning
bullet difficulty with basic math operations (e.g., multiplication tables)
bullet number reversals, confusion of symbols
bullet difficulty copying problems
bullet difficulty with concepts of time and money

Social Skills

bullet spatial disorientation
bullet low frustration level
bullet low self-esteem
bullet impulsive
bullet disorientation in time
bullet difficulty with delaying problem resolution

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