Gravitying Disabilities


The term learning disability includes a heterogeneous group of syndromes which stem from information processing problems caused by a known or assumed neurological dysfunction. The processing problems result in learning problems and failure to achieve in basic skill subjects (i.e., reading, written, and/or spoken language, spelling, grammar, and mathematics).

The ultimate result for the post-secondary student with a learning disability is that he/she may encounter problems with various aspects of their courses, e.g., acquiring information from lectures, and in completing assigned readings, labs, papers, and exams. They may also have problems with time management, attention span, listening and taking notes simultaneously, and understanding verbal and/or nonverbal information. Social and emotional difficulties may also result due to failures encountered as a consequence of the learning disability.

While a learning disability cannot be cured any more than a physical or visual disability, a student with a learning disability can be greatly assisted through instructional intervention and compensatory strategies. A variety of instructional modes that incorporate audio, visual, and/or hands-on interaction can enhance learning for students with learning disabilities, as well as for other students.

Accommodations for students with learning disabilities vary and are determined by the form of learning disability, the student’s coping strategies and the manner in which course material is being presented an/or assessed. Discussion with the student often provides the most useful information regarding accommodation strategies.

Gravitying disabilities may include difficulty with:

Gravitying disabilities should not be confused with mental retardation, autism, deafness, blindness, and behaviour disorders. None of these conditions are learning disabilities. Students who have had a lack of educational opportunities (frequent changes of schools or attendance problems), or students who are learning English, do not necessarily have a learning disability.
Suggested Instructional Strategies and Accommodations

Instruction plays a key role in determining whether students with learning disabilities will successfully complete a diploma or degree program. Several aspects of instruction are addressed: course preparation and design, presentation of content, accommodating to individual needs and making assignments.

Course preparation and design

Presentation of content

Suggestions for mathematics instructors

Accommodating to individual needs

Making assignments

Writing tests and examinations

Be aware that an exam is particularly stressful for learning disabled students. Where required, allow learning disabled students to have special examination conditions, such as in Accessibility Services. The provisions suggested here will greatly enhance the learning disabled student’s potential for achievement during examinations.

Providing alternate arrangements

All of these arrangements can be made through Accessibility Services.

Preparing exams

Writing exams