Learning Disabilities Assessment

This section includes information that will help you understand what a learning disability is and how eligibility for service is determined in the California Community College system. Included you will find information about the procedure to request an assessment and then the assessment process.

A Learning Disability is verified by a Learning Disability Specialist. It is estimated that between 6-10% of the general population have a learning disability that negatively impacts one's opportunity to learn material to the level of their ability, and/or demonstrate what they know in a class. The general characteristics of a learning disability include:

  • Average to above average ability
  • Significant information processing deficit
  • Significant  discrepancy or difference between ability and current achievement

Learning Disabilities Testing Procedure

The testing is provided as a service through DSS located in the Student Services Center. The procedure includes:

  • Every student begins with an initial appointment with a DSS Learning Disabilities Specialist. Please bring any questions and paperwork that may be helpful during this appointment.
    If you have previously been tested for a disability, you may be immediately eligible for services with recent written documentation presented at your appointment. If you were in special education in previous schooling, you may be eligible for services. Our office needs a copy of your latest psychological evaluation. You may request this yourself from your last school, or you can complete a "Release of Information" form in our office and we will send for your records.
  • At your first appointment the specialist will discuss why you are requesting testing and answer any questions you have regarding the testing process and our services. At the end of this appointment the Learning Disabilities Specialist will make a recommendation on whether or not you should be tested.
  • The Learning Disabilities (LD) testing is run as a class. It is called Personal Development 9-01 (PD 9). You must enroll in this class after your initial appointment. All appointments to complete the assessment are done on a one-to-one basis.
  • PD 9 testing lasts approximately 5-7 hours. This is completed alone with a Learning Disabilities Specialist during individual appointments. At the end of testing, results will be shared. If you are eligible for services, those services will be described in detail along with recommended learning strategies. If you are not eligible for services, the test results will be shared along with recommendations to improve your learning.

Due to problems with students missing appointments for testing, the following procedures have been established:

  • If a student misses one (1) appointment and calls ahead to notify the DSS office, another appointment is scheduled.
  • If a student misses two (2) appointments and calls ahead each time to notify the DSS office, the student's name goes to the bottom of the list of PD 9 students.
  • If a student with an individual appointment misses one (1) appointment and does NOT notify the DSS office IN ADVANCE, this is considered a no show and the file goes in the incomplete file. If the student then contacts the DSS office, their name goes to the end of the PD 9 assessment list.

Learning Disabilities One Page Flyer (PDF)

Learning Disability Assessments at Southwestern College

Learning Strategies with Patricia Flores-Charter