About Learning Disabilities
A Learning Disability is...
A permanent condition that affects how a person with average or above average intelligence
- takes in information, or
- stores that information or
- expresses concepts and ideas to others.
An individual with a learning disability (LD) may be highly intelligent and able to do well in many areas. In spite of this, one of more "processing deficits" is significant enough to cause serious academic difficulties. Like a fuzzy TV picture or radio static, incoming or outgoing information is scrambled along the pathways between eye, ear, or body and the brain.
Students with LD, like other students, have strengths and weaknesses in their skills. They may succeed or excel in some academic areas while struggling in others.
De Anza College follows the California Community College Code of Regulations, Title 5 which provides the guidelines for LD eligibility (Section 56014) and programs. To meet the definition for California Community Colleges, a student must demonstrate:
- Average to above average intellectual abilities, as measured by standardized tests.
- Measured achievement in an academic or employment setting.
- Severe discrepancy between measured cognitive processing abilities.
- Severe discrepancy between measured cognitive ability and academic achievement.
A Learning Disability is NOT...
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- A form of mental retardation, developmental disability, or emotional disorder.
- A result of other disabilities, such as hearing, vision, emotional, behavioral, psychological or acquired brain injury.Students whose learning problems are a result of these may qualify for assistance from Disability Support Services
- The result of cultural or ethnic differences or influences.
- From being under-prepared for college, still learning English, or having low ability.
Some of the difficulties experienced may be similar, but in the absence of meeting the LD criteria, these do not qualify for Learning Disability Support Team assistance.
- A learning difference by itself. A learning disability is determined by an assessment that evaluates the nature and cause of the differences in learning experienced by the student.
Adults with Learning Disabilities have
- Marked discrepancies between academic potential and achievement with uneven abilities within the same individual.
- Persistent deficits in auditory, visual or memory functions; in spite of great effort, an individual may show an inability to perform or complete certain tasks in an accurate or timely manner.
Though each learning disability is unique, some examples of difficulties students may experience that indicate a possible learning disability are:
- Very slow rate
- Word Identification problems or confusion between similar words
- Significantly lowered comprehension or recall
- Difficulty finding main ideas or important points
- Frequent spelling mistakes
- Difficulty with sentence structure
- Ideas lack clarity or are disorganized in writing
- Inability to accurately copy from written material
- Poor or slow handwriting or weak vocabulary
- paying attention when spoken to
- 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
- expressing ideas orally which the student seems to understand
- describing events or stories in proper sequence
- with grammar
- Using a similar sounding word in place of the appropriate one
- Frequent computational errors
- Gaps in mastery of basic facts
- Forgets steps or operation sequences
- comprehending word problems or abstract concepts
- copying problems, aligning columns
- Slow speed impacts performance
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- Problems with
- time management
- following directions
- taking notes
- Spatial disorientation resulting in feeling lost
- Short attention span
- Misreads social cues and non-verbal messages
What kind of testing is needed for eligibility?
A comprehensive standardized evaluation by a trained professional is necessary to qualify a student for accommodations and Learning Disabilities Support. An evaluation:
- assesses the specific learning differences involved.
- determines whether the learning problems result from a learning disability or from other possible causes.
Students who have already completed a learning disability assessment within the last three years in high school, at a college, or by a private professional may be eligible for services.
Students should provide a copy of their testing at an Information Meeting or to the Learning Disabilities Support receptionist. If the Learning Disabilities Specialist makes the determination of eligibility from these results, the student will not need any further LD testing at De Anza College.
The Learning Disabilities Support Team can provide an assessment for enrolled De Anza College students who have never been identified or diagnosed in order to establish their eligibility for Learning Disabilities Support and appropriate accommodations for college.
What is the process to be tested for a learning disability?
Learning disability assessment can help assure that a student has the best chance to utilize learning strengths and to receive the necessary assistance in areas of weakness. Learning disability assessment is done through class enrollment. Since spaces are limited each quarter, it is important to follow the steps below as soon as a student has decided to seek assistance.
- Information Meeting. (Those unable to attend an information meeting may contact the Learning Disabilities Support receptionist).
- At the Information Meeting, students interested in having an assessment will fill out a request.
- The Learning Disabilities Support receptionist will call and schedule an intake appointment with a Learning Disability Specialist.
- The appointment will be made as soon as possible, based on appointment availability, and confirmation of the student's current enrollment at De Anza College.
- At the Intake appointment, the LD Specialist will discuss the student's individual situation and may recommend an assessment. If so, in order to receive an LD evaluation, the student will enroll for a 1/2 unit class, Guidance 100,
- After the Intake Appointment, 6 individual appointments are generally required to complete testing.
- When finished, the student and the Learning Disabilities Specialist will meet to discuss the assessment findings and what they mean. Each student receives a written summary.
- The Learning Disabilities Specialist will make recommendations based on the student's particular learning needs. These may include accommodations and program services for students whose testing makes them eligible for Learning Disabilities Support and/or referral to other college services for help, as appropriate.