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Helping Students Who are Learning Disabled

Specific Learning Disabilities often occur in people of average or above average intelligence and they involve one or more basic processes used in understanding or using spoken or written language.  Learning Disabilities impair such functions as reading, writing, and mathematical calculations.  Students with Learning Disabilities will have a combination of abilities and weaknesses which, when examined together, will present an inconsistent learning profile.  Students with Learning Disabilities will have difficulty taking in and processing information.

  1. Students with Learning Disabilities should contact the H.E.L.P. Program, Office of Disability Services, College Program for Students with Aspergers Syndrome, or the Student Athlete Program and have one of these offices send a list of reasonable accommodations for the student.  These may include preferential seating, extended test time, etc.
  2. If you suspect a student may have a learning disability please make them aware of the support services available and encourage them to seek assistance.
  3. Students may wish to tape record class lectures or use a laptop computer.
  4. Begin lecture and discussion with a review of the last class and an overview or outline of the topics to be covered during class.  Try to stay on topic, demonstrate, and use concrete examples.  It will be helpful to the student if you provide a summary of the main points at lectures end.
  5. Allocate time, during office hours, for individual follow up of assignments, lectures, and readings.
  6. You may help students with learning disabilities to organize their time by listing weekly/monthly schedules of assignments and due dates for your class.
  7. Students with reading disabilities may find it embarrassing to read out loud, please be sensitive to these needs.
  8. Some students require assistance with spell checking and reading (grammar) and may need to have assistance through the writing center.  Students with this disability should not be penalized for spelling errors.
  9. Whenever feasible offer alternative methods of assessment to the student.  For example, allow oral presentations instead of written papers or provide an essay test instead of an objective (multiple choice) test.  Some students may need extra testing time (The University recognizes extended time as time and a half) and in a separate, quiet room, with a test proctor to oversee the testing process.
  10. It is essential for the student with a learning disability that your evaluation of their work be based on the acquisition of knowledge and not their ability to read or write.