Specific learning disabilities do not preclude individuals from attending university. In fact, it is not uncommon for students to be diagnosed with a learning disability for the first time while they are in undergraduate or even graduate school.

There are several definitions of learning disabilities and inconsistency in which specific disorders fall within this broad category. Sometimes Attention Deficit Disorder is considered a specific learning disability in some academic arenas and in some it may not be. The standardized categories are generally reading, written language and mathematics. Others may include speech fluency, visual and auditory sequencing or perception and listening comprehension.

A very broad and generalized definition is a "permanent neurological disorder that affects the manner in which information is received, organized, remembered, and then retrieved or expressed. Students with learning disabilities possess average to above average intelligence." (Hill, 2000) Characteristics may include but are not limited to an inability to perform in accordance with the norm in any of the following areas:

  • Oral language: understanding, word recall, grammar, and pronunciation
  • Listening comprehension: hears but does not understand clearly
  • Written expression: spelling errors, sentence structure, organization and development
  • Reading skills: slow reading rate and retention, tracking skills, difficulty with syntax on tests
  • Mathematics: reasoning and calculation, reversals and confusion of symbols, copying problems, concept of time
  • Social skills: spatial disorientation, low frustration level, low self-esteem, problem resolution difficulties

For more information call 503-370-6471 and checkout the Accessible Education Services website.

Willamette University

Academic Support

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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