Working with a Student Who Has a Learning Disability

  • Communicate instructions both verbally and in writing. During a one-to-one conference, encourage the student to take notes or write a summary of the conversation. Solicit frequent feedback to determine if your comments and instructions are clearly understood.
  • In general, good teaching for students with learning disabilities is simply good teaching period. Clear objectives, high expectations, interactive pedagogy, and a genuine concern for the individual are best practices.
  • Extended time on exams is the most frequently suggested and implemented accommodation. Students who qualify and request this accommodation will bring an official form to their professor each semmester that needs to be signed and returned to the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations. It is the student's responsibility to give their professor at least 24 hours notice for any exam accommodation.
  • Note takers may be hired for a student' with a learning disability. The Office of Accessibility and Accommodations will hire, train and arrange payment. You may be asked to announce the position in the class.
  • A student with a disability who does not attend class is not eligible to receive notes. A note taker is in no way a substitute for going to class.
  • Some flexibility with deadlines may be requested. This is not a routine accommodation and must be negotiated by the student. It also is best if assignments are given early and, if the assignment is lengthy or complex, it helps to encourage "check-in" appointments to monitor progress.
  • Writing on a computer also helps a student whose disability impacts spelling. Even if an instructor says that spelling errors do not count, a paper riddled with such errors is hard to understand and makes a bad impression. Students want their knowledge to shine through rather than their writing disability.
  • The student is responsible for making classroom and academic needs known. The faculty member is responsible for assuring program accessibility.
  • Anytime there are questions or concerns, please talk with the student after class or in private. In addition, the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations needs to know if there are unresolved problems or difficulties.