A learning disability is a neurological disorder resulting from a difference in the way a person’s brain (LD) is wired when compared to most people. Someone with a learning disability may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling, or organizing. LDs cannot be cured or fixed. However, with the right support and intervention, people with LDs can succeed in school and go on to successful careers. People with learning disabilities often think outside of the box, seeing solutions to problems that someone else may not see.
My name is May. I am a college student with a language-based learning disability. My disability affects how and the speed at which I process information.
My name is Brandon. I am a first-year undergraduate engineering student enrolled in a required calculus course. Because of my learning disability, I have accommodations including extra-time and using a four-function calculator on exams. I also use text-to-speech software that allows my computer to read aloud text presented on the screen.
Assistive (or adaptive) technology does not "cure" a specific learning disability. These technology tools compensate rather than remedy, allowing a person with a learning disability to demonstrate and apply his intelligence and knowledge. Adaptive technology for the person with a learning disability is a made-to-fit implementation. Trial and error may be required to find a set of appropriate tools and techniques for a specific individual. Ideally, a person with a learning disability plays a key role in selecting her technology. She should help to determine what works and what does not.
Educational software where the computer provides multisensory experiences, interaction, positive reinforcement, individualized instruction, and repetition can be useful in skill building. Some students with learning disabilities who have difficulty processing written information can also benefit from completing writing assignments, tutorial lessons, and drill-and-practice work with the aid of computers. For example, a standard word processor can be a valuable tool for individuals with Dysgraphia, an inability to produce handwriting reliably.
A specific learning disability is unique to the individual and can appear in a variety of ways. It may be difficult to diagnose, to determine impact, and to accommodate. Generally speaking, someone may be diagnosed with a learning disability if they are of average or above-average intelligence and there is a lack of achievement at age and ability level or there is a large discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability.
Although each situation is different and the student is the best source of information regarding useful accommodations, the following accommodations are typical for a student with a learning disability:
The Internet hosts a large quantity of websites and electronic discussion lists that contain information of interest to individuals with learning disabilities and/or Attention-Deficit Disorder and their family members, friends, mentors, advocates, educators, employers, and coworkers. Topics addressed include education, accommodations, diagnosis, employment, social development, and support networks.