Information for Faculty

Frequently occurring characteristics of students with learning disabilities

What are learning disabilities?


A learning disability is a disorder that affects the manner in which individuals take in, express or retain information. It manifests as a deficit in one or more of the following areas: oral expression, auditory processing, written expression, reading decoding, reading comprehension, or math calculations. Students with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorders may also experience difficulty with sustained attention, time management, social interactions and executive functions.

Learning disabilities are cross -cultural.

Learning disabilities are often inconsistent and may be more or less apparent given the demands of the environment.

Learning disabilities are frustrating for both the student and the teacher.

Frequently occurring characteristics of students with learning disabilities

1. There is a discrepancy between oral and written work.
2. The student generally works slowly in comparison to her/his peers.
3. The student is unable to sustain concentration.
4. The student has a poor ability to memorize.
5. The student has difficulty following directions, especially oral directions or directions of more than one step.
6. The student frequently asks for directions to be repeated.
7. The student has little confidence.
8. The student is self conscious about her/his work.
9. The student may be able to explain things orally but not in writing.

If you suspect that a student in your class has a learning disability, you should refer them to the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) for a consultation. Assure students that the initial appointment is just to determine if further investigation of the problem is indicated.