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Office of Disability Support Services
Faculty Handbook


Writing Language Disorders
Visual & Auditory Processing
Individual Differences
Conferences with Students
Signs of Learning Disabilities
Reading Skills
Writing Skills
Mathematical Skills
Oral language

Learning Disabilities Association


General Information

A student?s learning disability is not readily apparent, since a learning disability represents an interference of information processing; such as visual, auditory, perceptual, or language. Due to the ?hidden nature? of this disability, the student may be accused of ?faking? or ?being lazy.?

Students with learning disabilities are not developmentally disabled or otherwise lacking intellect. The student with a learning disability only process information differently from the norm. Sometimes a student may have a poor self-concept from previous failure and frustration. Most of these students exhibit a high level of inconsistency in the way they perform. For example, Nelson Rockefeller learned to speak fluently in several languages, but he had to have his speeches written out in large letters and spaced in such a way that he could decipher them when giving speeches. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Leonardo de Vinci, Nelson Rockefeller, Bruce Jenner and Agatha Christie all have or had learning disabilities.

Learning disabilities are so individualized that any generalization about specific signs or symptoms is of limited value. Each student will be better able to describe how he or she functions in relation to his or her learning disability.

The college instructor should keep in mind that the learning disabled student?s needs center around information processing. Students with learning disabilities have trouble taking information in through one or more of the senses and expressing that information accurately. The information often gets ?scrambled.? These students may have difficulty with discriminating differences between two like sounds, symbols, or objects. The brain often does not adequately store the information, resulting in what appears to be poor memory. Thus, it is important that students with learning disabilities receive and transmit information in a format that works best for them. This often includes multi-sensory teaching modes utilizing visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning pathways.

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Written Language Disorders

Some students with learning disabilities are unable to communicate effectively through printing or cursive writing. This condition may manifest itself in written work that appears careless, often including excessive spelling errors. Some of these students may be able to use a computer for written communications.

Written expression
Disorder of written expression is a childhood condition characterized by poor writing skills.  Although no systematic studies of the prevalence of this disorder have been conducted, it is believed to be about 6%, or as common as learning and reading disorders.  Children with disorder of written expression have trouble with spelling, make frequent errors in punctuation and grammar, and have poor handwriting.

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Visual and Auditory Processing

Auditory Processing
Students with Auditory Processing disabilities for all practical purposes will be "lecture deaf" (oral receptive dysphasia).  Many of the adaptive techniques that assist deaf students will also assist these students - note takers, films, role playing, captioned videotapes and other visual materials.

Some students have difficulty with visual and auditory sequencing tasks (e.g. spelling or mathematics) and following step-by-step instructions. For these students it helps to break up tasks into smaller parts. Additional tutoring in math and/or spelling may be required.

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Signs of Learning Disabilities

Like students without learning disabilities, each student with a learning disability has a distinct combination of abilities and deficiencies and will vary from minimal to severe.  It is important to note that students with learning disabilities will display a cluster, and not all, of the following characteristics.  Student who exhibit many of the behaviors listed below should be referred to the Office of Disability Support Services (ODSS).  Instructors are encouraged to consult with ODSS staff before making a referral.

Faculty is not expected to lower their standards of teaching excellence. If you suspect that a student in your class has a learning disability, ODSS can refer the student to an agency outside of LCC for diagnosis. Many institutions of higher education require current documentation (within the past 3-5 years) in order to provide accommodations for students.

Specific accommodations will need to be individually tailored because LD students will vary depending on their types and degrees of learning difficulty. Usually, a combination of adaptive methods is the best approach. Many adaptations used for LD students are the same as for some other disabilities.

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Suggested Accommodations

Classroom accommodations are determined by Office of Disability Support Services staff based upon documentation provided by the student.   The student will give an Instructor Memo to the faculty member which details appropriate accommodations.

  • Be open to students tape recording lectures.

  • Appeal to as many senses as possible when presenting subject matter.  This will enhance the many ways in which LD students learn.  Concepts can be strengthened by using sounds and visual aids.

  • Use the chalkboard, handouts, closed captioned videos, group discussions, role playing, overhead projectors, etc.

  • Give all assignments and course expectations in written and verbal form.

  • Consult with the student and ODSS when assistance is needed in solving problems.

  • Give students a clear syllabus, listing tests and assignments with due dates noted.

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nclude sentence relating to approved accommodations and receiving an IM AND ADD ON ALL PAGES?

Test Adaptation and Administration
for Students with Learning Disabilities

  • Allow extra time for test taking.

  • Verbal tests.

  • Use of a word processor with a thesaurus, dictionary, and spell checker.

  • Use of a calculator for math tests.

  • Utilize Reader Services to read/scribe tests. Discuss testing arrangements early in the semester.

  • Alternative test formats -- tests on tape or computer disk, dictating answers on tape, using a word processor with spell checker.

  • Avoid the use of Scantron sheets for multiple choice.

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Office of Disability Support Services at Lansing Community College

Disability Support Services
Gannon Building - StarZone
Phone: (517) 483-1924
Additional contact information »