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A learning disability is a permanent (cognitive) disorder that affects the way individuals with average to above average intelligence take in, remember, and/or express information.

A learning disability is often inconsistent. It may cause problems on Mondays, but not on Tuesdays. It may cause problems throughout grade school, seem to disappear during high school, and then resurface again in college. It may only cause problems in a specific academic area, such as math or foreign language, or it may cause problems in more than one class during school.

Persons with LD have:

1. Average to above average intelligence (ability) when processing information.

2. A severe processing problem in at least one area of information processing that affects ability to understand or express oral or written information.

3. Learning difficulties in at least one of the following: reading, writing, or math.

4. A large gap between average ability to learn and achievement in at least one area: reading, writing, math.

LD can be extremely FRUSTRATING. Students are frequently:

FRUSTRATED with struggling and failing and being told they’re lazy.
FRUSTRATED with people saying they should just try harder when in fact they are studying double the time as other students with less results.

FRUSTRATED at rushing through tests and still not finishing in time.

FRUSTRATED with dealing with the effects of LD while also having to "prove" that their invisible disability exists and may be as disabling as a physical disability.

FRUSTRATED by problems with organizational skills, time management, or social skills.

A Learning Disability is NOT a form of mental retardation, an emotional disorder, or an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A student with LD may have:
• Great difficulty in reading, writing and/or math concepts with average to superior skills in other areas.
• Trouble reading for an extended time period, often fatiguing after ten to twenty minutes.
• Trouble with eyes when reading, with difficulty tracking to the next line.
• Difficulty organizing writing, starting writing assignments, using correct sentence structure or grammar, while being verbally articulate.
• Trouble finding main ideas or summarizing when reading.
• Difficulty expressing ideas orally and organizing thoughts.
• Difficulty listening to a lecture and taking notes at the same time.
• High distractibility from background noise or other activity.
• Confusion reading similar letters such as b and d, or p and q; or reversing the order of letters in words as in writing was instead of saw, hte for the; or misspelling the same word several different ways in the same composition.
• Omission or addition of words, particularly when reading aloud.

LD does not prohibit success. Many notable individuals have (or had) a learning disability. A partial list includes: Albert Einstein, Robin Williams, Bruce Jenner, Tom Cruise, Michelangelo, Leonardo de Vinci, President Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, George Patton, James Joyce, and Cher.


If you were previously tested for a disability or received special education services, you may be immediately eligible for DSS services. Submit a copy of your latest psychological evaluation and IEP. You may request this from your last school, or you can complete and submit the High School Consent to Release Confidential Information form to DSS.

If you are already attending Southwestern College and have not previously been tested, LD testing is a service provided by Disability Support Services (DSS).

Students interested in LD testing should complete the DSS Application formDSS Application form (Spanish) and attend a Group LD Orientation Meeting which are held several times throughout the semester.

Visit the DSS Office to sign up for a group LD Orientation Meeting.
For additional details about LD and LD testing, review the DSS publication College Students with Learning Differences (PDF, 112.65KB).



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Last updated: 1/21/2015 9:22:41 AM