A Learning Disability is defined by the California Community College system as a persistent condition of neurological dysfunction which may also exist with other disabling conditions. This dysfunction continues despite instruction in a standard classroom situation. Learning disabled adults, a heterogeneous group, have these common attributes:

  • Average to above average intellectual ability
  • Processing deficits
  • Aptitude achievement discrepancies
  • Measured achievement in an instructional or employment setting


A student with learning disabilities may exhibit any or all of the following:

  • Slow reading rate and/or difficulty with comprehension and retention
  • Ability to grasp material verbally, but does poorly on exams
  • Difficulty with sentence structure, spelling, poor grammar, omitted words, and composition organization
  • Poorly-formed handwriting
  • Trouble listening to a lecture and taking notes at the same time
  • Distracted by background noise or visual stimulation
  • Need for reliance on a calculator
  • Confusion or reversal of numbers, number sequences or symbols
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Poor organization and time management
  • Problems interpreting subtle messages
  • Disorganization in space and time


  • Use of calculator when mathematical disability is severe
  • Use of a dictionary/spell-checker for essay exams
  • Specialized tutoring
  • Digital recording of lectures
  • High Tech Center resources
  • Books on e-text
  • Extended time on exams
  • Exams taken in a distraction-free environment
  • Exams read to the student by a proctor when appropriate
  • Exams written by a scribe or done on a computer, if necessary