Learning Services

What is a Learning Disability?

To be categorized as learning disabled (LD), a student must exhibit:

  1. Average to above average intelligence
  2. Severe processing deficit(s)
  3. Severe aptitude-achievement discrepancy(ies)
  4. Measure achievement in an instructional or employment setting

Symptoms of LD Could Include:

Deficit(s) affecting one or more areas of reading , writing, math computation, problem solving, oral expression and/or listening (subtypes include dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia

Difficulties with organizational skills, time management, sustained attention and social skills

Difficulties in the manner in which information is received, sorted, retained, retrieved, and expressed

Often inconsistent, LD may manifest in one specific academic area but not in others

A Learning Disability is not a form of mental retardation or an emotional disorder, and LD is thought to be neurologically based and permanent. 

Common Characteristics of College Students with LD


  • Slow reading rate, skips words or lines
  • Poor comprehension and retention
  • Difficulty identifying important points and themes
  • Poor mastery of phonics, confusion of similar words, difficulty integrating new vocabulary
  • Difficulty reading long periods of time

Written Language Skills

  • Difficulty with sentence structure (incomplete sentences, run-ons, poor use of grammar, missing inflectional endings
  • Frequent spelling errors
  • Poor ability to copy correctly from a book of whiteboard
  • Slow to write
  • Poor penmanship (poorly formed letters, incorrect use of capitalization, spacing, overly large handwriting

Oral Language Skills

  • Inability to concentrate and comprehend oral language
  • Difficulty in oral expressions of ideas
  • Poor vocabulary
  • Difficulty staying focused during lectures
  • Problems with grammar


  • Difficulty with learning basic math operations
  • Reverses numbers
  • Confuses math operation symbols
  • Difficulty copying problems correctly
  • Confuses operational sequences or can’t recall operational sequences
  • Limited strategies for detecting errors

Study Skills

  • Often has trouble organizing notes and other learning materials
  • Difficulty managing time
  • Difficulty following oral and written directions

Interpersonal Skills

  • Poor self esteem
  • Sometimes impulsive