UCLA Learning Disabilities Program

Office for Students with Disabilities
A Department of Student Affairs


UCLA
LEARNING DISABILITIES PROGRAM

THE MANDATE

UCLA complies with State, Federal and University guidelines which mandate full access for students with disabilities, including learning disabilities. Institutions are required to provide disability based accommodations for students with documented disabilities to allow them to participate in their academic program to the greatest extent possible.

DEFINITION

A learning disability is a life-long disorder that affects the manner in which individuals take in information, organize it, retain it and express the knowledge and understanding which they possess. Students with learning disabilities have average to superior intelligence, but experience a significant learning difficulty in one or more academic areas. These deficits most commonly impact reading, written expression, and/or mathematical computation. Based on the learning needs of each student, adaptation of materials, methods or environments is designed to facilitate their best learning.

Students with other documented types of learning disabilities, including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury are also served by the Learning Disabilities Program.

CHARACTERISTICS OF STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

Common characteristics may include:

  • Long term difficulty in reading, writing, spelling and/or mathematical concepts in contrast to average or superior skills in other areas.
  • Slowed reading speed. Takes two or three times longer to read than other people.
  • Severe difficulty spelling common words.
  • Difficulty with mathematical concepts including calculation, time and space.
  • Excessive difficulty in learning a foreign language.
  • Difficulty expressing and organizing thoughts on paper.
  • Verbal skills far exceed reading, spelling and/or writing skills.
  • Difficulty taking notes and listening to a lecture at the same time.
  • Slowed processing of information: needs "think time" to respond to questions, to retrieve information or to solve problems.
  • Confusion of visually similar letters, numerals or words. Illegible handwriting.
  • Difficulty recalling and integrating information presented orally.
  • Trouble focusing and sustaining attention.

PROGRAM COMPONENTS

Academic Accommodations

Learning Disabilities Screenings

Tutorial Referral

Priority Enrollment

Weekly Support Group Meetings

Advocacy to Faculty and Staff

Peer Mentor Opportunities

Orientation Program

Referrals to Campus Resources

Quarterly Workshops

Disability Management Counseling by Learning Disabilities Specialist:

  • Disability Awareness
  • Learning & Time Management Strategies
  • Self-Advocacy Skills
  • Interpretation of Evaluation Reports

ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS

As indicated by the student's documented needs, these compensations may be provided:

Alternatives to Printed Materials

  • Taped textbooks or reader service
  • Computerized voice synthesizer programs
  • Access to Learning Ally

Alternative Test-Taking Procedures

  • Provision of extended time
  • A proctor to assist with reading and writing
  • Distraction-free test areas
  • Computers for essay exams
  • Use of calculators or electronic spellers

Alternatives to Notetaking

  • Notetakers to take lecture notes
  • Taped lectures

Alternatives to Writing Essays and Papers

  • Use of word processors, with voice synthesizers
  • Composition tutors
  • Voice recognition computer programs

Reduced Course Load

Extended Time to Complete a Program

SUGGESTIONS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

  • Use daily planners to keep a record of dates, assignments, and appointments.
  • Always keep up with assignments.
  • Learn how to use a computer and take advantage of spellcheck and grammarcheck.
  • Get to know your professor or TA. Do not hesitate to seek help immediately.
  • Become knowledgeable and comfortable about describing your disability so you can advocate for yourself to faculty and staff.
  • Sit toward the front of the classroom so you can hear and see well.
  • Attend all classes. The lecture may be the critical factor in learning new material.
  • Preview new material and review the previous lecture before class. Review notes and/or tapes as soon after the lecture as possible.
  • If you learn best by listening and discussion, use or form a study group. Tape record key points of lectures.
  • If you use taped textbooks or computer reading programs, get your book list 4-6 weeks before classes begin.
  • Select new classes very carefully. Consult with faculty, academic advisors and other students.

SUGGESTIONS FOR FACULTY

  • Encourage students who self-disclose to make appointments during office hours. Ask what has been helpful to their learning in the past and what you can do to facilitate their learning in your class.
  • Provide a detailed course syllabus. Make it available on-line, if possible, four to six weeks prior to the class for students who take longer to read, or who use taped textbooks.
  • Announce written assignments well in advance for students who take longer to write.
  • Start each lecture with an preview of the material to be covered. Emphasize key points during and at the conclusion of the class.
  • Present new technical vocabulary on the chalkboard or use a handout. Describe fully in language that can be orally understood.
  • Present material in more than one mode (e.g., use overhead to highlight key concepts, give assignments both orally and in writing).
  • Provide on-line course materials, such as notes or study guides.
  • Provide opportunities for participation and for students to clarify unclear points.
  • Encourage students to develop a personal learning style within the discipline.
  • When necessary, allow students to use alternative methods to demonstrate course mastery.

University of California, Los Angeles
Office for Students with Disabilities
A-255 Murphy Hall
Box 951426
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1426
(310) 825-1501 (voice)
(310) 206-6083 (tty)
(310) 825-9656 (fax)
http://www.osd.ucla.edu

Learning Disabilities Program Brochure 10/1/2012