What are Learning Disabilities?

A learning disability can be described as a learning difference in the way a person understands, remembers, and/or expresses information. This translates into difficulties with reading, writing, and/or math.  


To qualify as having a learning disability at the community college level, one must exhibit at least average to above average intelligence. It isn't because they can't learn - they just learn differently. The signs of learning disabilities vary from person to person. Common signs that a person may have learning disabilities include the following:



●      Confusion of similar words, difficulty using phonics, problems reading multi-syllable words

●      Difficulty finding important points or main ideas

●      Slow reading rate and/or difficulty adjusting speed to the nature of the reading task

●      Difficulty with comprehension and retention of material that is read, but not with materials presented orally



●      Difficulty with sentence structure, poor grammar, omitted words

●      Frequent spelling errors, inconsistent spelling, letter reversals

●      Difficulty copying from chalkboard

●      Poorly formed handwriting -- might print instead of using script; writes with an inconsistent slant; have difficulty with certain letters; space words unevenly

●      Compositions lacking organization and development of ideas



●      Difficulty paying attention when spoken to

●      Difficulty listening to a lecture and taking notes at the same time

●      Easily distracted by background noise or visual stimulation

●      Might appear to be hurried in one-to-one meetings

●      Inconsistent concentration


Oral Language

●      Difficulty expressing ideas orally which the student seems to understand

●      Difficulty describing events or stories in proper sequence

●      Difficulty with grammar

●      Using a similar sounding word in place of the appropriate one



●      Difficulty memorizing basic facts

●      Confusion or reversal of numbers, number sequences or symbols

●      Difficulty copying problems, aligning columns

●      Difficulty reading or comprehending word problems


Study Skills

●      Problems with reasoning and abstract concepts

●      Exhibits an inability to stick to simple schedules, repeatedly forgets things, loses or leaves possessions, and generally seems "personally disorganized"

●      Difficulty following directions

●      Poor organization and time management


Social Skills

●      Difficulty "reading" facial expressions, body language

●      Problems interpreting subtle messages, such as sarcasm or humor

●      Seems disorganized in space: confuses up and down, right and left; gets lost in a building, is disoriented when familiar environment is rearranged

●      Seems disoriented in time: is often late to class, unusually early for appointments or unable to finish assignments in the standard time period

●      Displays excessive anxiety, anger, or depression because of the inability to cope with school or social situations



How does learning disability testing benefit students?

  • Learn personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Determine effective strategies for learning 
  • Provides ideas to guide tutors in supporting learning
  • Obtain documentation that they will need to formally request accommodations for any state testing (e.g. LSAT, MSAT, NCLEX, etc)
  • Obtain documentation that they will need to formally request accommodations at the workplace or at any other post-secondary institution