Learning disabilities are "hidden disabilities." It is the
student's responsibility to disclose her disability and seek necessary
accommodations. A student will usually provide documentation of her disability
to Student Disability Services. The student and/or the disability specialist
will contact you and discuss accommodations as needed.
This section adapted
from Project Do-It from the University
the first class session it may be helpful to tell students who need
accommodations to arrange a meeting with you. Also include a similar statement on your course syllabus. Some
students choose not to disclose their disabilities and their privacy should be
respected by not asking them about the possible presence of a disability.
content using multiple modes (e.g., written, oral, hands-on activities,
demonstrations, and videotaped formats) benefits all students and may reduce
the need for specific accommodations for students with many types of
disabilities. However, some students with learning disabilities will still
require specific accommodations. Accommodations are individualized and may
change over time as a student's needs change or the course requires different
types of work. Access is most easily addressed if the course content is clearly
outlined and there is an ongoing dialog between faculty, Student Disability
Services, and the student. Please see our page on Accommodations and Services
for more information.
constructing test items, use a style consistent with that used during lectures
and group related test questions together. This can help students retrieve
information contained in their notes. Concise and well-organized handouts that
highlight key points can also structure and reinforce content.
students to use a computer as needed. Computer-based features such as spelling
and grammar checkers can help students correct spelling and grammar errors in
their writing. Word processing programs that include tools for outlining and
color coding text can help people with organization and sequencing difficulties
sort thoughts and ideas.
- Some students require their course documents in an
alternative format, such as e-text. Not every textbook is available
on tape or in another alternate format. You can help students by choosing your
textbooks well in advance. Students should order these books early and prepare
the accommodations before the classes begin. Many students with learning
disabilities manage their disabilities by careful time management to allow more
time for reading; some may begin reading text material before the beginning of
students may benefit from a computer-based reading system such as Kurzweil.
These systems convert screen text (from disks, the Internet, or e-mail) or
scanned text (from textbooks, journals, etc.) to speech output. You can also
assist students by preparing handouts, tests, and other class materials in
electronic format. Materials in electronic format are often easier and faster
for the student to convert to alternative formats.
solutions such as post-it notes, daily organizers, and highlighter pens may be
helpful organizers and learning tools for students with learning disabilities.