LEARNING DISABILITIES

UWM endorses the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) definition of learning disabilities.  It states that a learning disability is a general term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities.  These disorders are intrinsic to the individual, presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction, and may occur across the life span.  Problems in self-regulating behaviors, social perception, and social interaction may exist with learning disabilities but do not by themselves constitute a learning disability.  Although learning disabilities may occur concomitantly with other handicapping conditions (for example, sensory impairment, mental retardation, serious emotional disturbance) or with extrinsic influences (such as cultural differences, insufficient or inappropriate instruction), they are not the result of these conditions or influences.  (NJCLD, 1988)

Individuals with learning disabilities (LD) are of average or above average intelligence; this is not a form of mental retardation or emotional disorder.  Many have a significant discrepancy between their natural abilities and how they have achieved in school.   For a student to be diagnosed with LD, a comprehensive neuropsychological or psycho-educational testing battery is required to assess IQ, achievement, strengths and weaknesses, and area of LD.   In general a learning disability is a disorder which affects an individual in processing information, which can occur while trying to take in new information, i.e. reading a textbook, listening to lecture, etc. or when trying to make sense out of information taken in, i.e. studying for an exam, understanding a math problem, etc or when trying to express themselves, i.e. getting their thoughts down on paper, expressing themselves orally, word retrieval, etc.  It is also a disorder that is very frustrating since it is a hidden disability and is often inconsistent.

Some common characteristics of college students with LD include but are not limited to:

Reading Skills:
Written Language Skills:
Oral Language Skills:
Mathematical Skills:
Organizational and Study Skills:
Attention and Concentration:
Social Skills:
These are some of the common characteristics of college students with LD.  No one student will exhibit all of these.  Generally students with LD will have uneven skill development with one or more areas of deficit and areas of great strength.  The severity of the disability greatly varies from individual to individual.   Most students with LD at the college level are capable and motivated to work hard to overcome their disability.  Many have developed compensatory strategies to ensure academic success, but may need accommodations to demonstrate their abilities and knowledge.   

Common accommodations for students with LD include but are not limited to:
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