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Faculty & Staff

Guide to Accommodating Students with Disabilities

Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities

Specific learning disability (LD) is the general term for a variety of neurological disorders that impair information processing.  Such disorders include reading (dyslexia), arithmetic (dyscalculia), and written expression (dysgraphia) as well as problems with memory, articulation, coordination, and directional confusion.  By definition, students with learning disabilities have average or above average intelligence, but typically have trouble taking information in through the senses and interpreting or inter-relating that information.  Because information does not always reach the brain accurately, the brain does not do an effective job of storing the information for ease of recall. For optimal learning, it is important that LD students receive and transmit information in a form, or modality (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) that works best for them.

  • An advance copy of the syllabus may be requested before the first class so that the student may begin reading assignments early.
  • Students with reading disorders can request textbooks on tape from Learning Alley. Disability Services will certify their eligibility for L.A. services and order the tapes for them.  To ensure that students using L.A. services receive their books before classes begin, please select and order your textbook(s) early.
  • Students may request preferred seating near the front of the class in an effort to minimize distractions.
  • Some LD students are, for all practical purposes, "lecture deaf" (aural receptive dysphasia).  Such students typically compensate by using accommodations common to deaf students such as note takers and taped lectures
  • Students with learning disabilities frequently require extended minutes when testing to allow for slower processing speed and/or distractibility.
  • The use of a computer for word processing may be needed to help with organization and mechanics.
  • Students with reading disorders who have good auditory processing may need to have tests read to them.
  • Students with writing disorders (dysgraphia) are unable to communicate effectively through printing or cursive writing.  For these students, oral examinations and reports may provide a more accurate measure of their learning, or the use of scribe or a computer with a spell checker may be more appropriate, depending on the student.  Assistance with organization and proofing for grammar may also be needed.
  • Some students with learning disabilities have difficulty with sequential memory tasks involving letters (spelling), numbers (mathematics), and step-by-step instructions.  These students may need to use a spelling-ace, calculator, or have access to formulas.
  • Students with memory processing problems may need to have tests broken into smaller units and to use note cards for speeches and oral presentations.
  • The majority of students with learning disabilities spend inordinate amounts of time on their assignments, frequently depriving themselves of sufficient sleep.  Extended time to complete assignments may be needed.
  • Expect some students to exhibit regressed social behavior.

Please refer such students to the Office of Disability Services in S207 (857-7286).