Learning Disabilities
Other Difficulties

A young man’s face, facing the viewer, black hair, head tilted downwards, wearing black plastic glasses that obscure his eyes, the lenses of which have reflections in them.

Difficulties with organizational abilities or social skills may go unnoticed by instructors depending on the nature of the course and the structure of the class. Some issues may not arise in class but could show up during a lab or group assignment. It is important to note that all students go through a transition phase when entering postsecondary studies. The same is true for students with LD, and many campuses offer assistance to both students and instructors in order to help students learn how to deal with this transition and the new skills required.

Learning Disabilities Are Lifelong

The way in which LD is expressed may vary over an individual’s lifetime, depending on the interaction between the demands of the environment and the individual’s strengths and needs. Learning disabilities are suggested by unexpected academic under-achievement or achievement that is maintained only by unusually high levels of effort and support.5 When assessing the presence of LD, the first benchmark is an average or above average intellectual or cognitive ability. This translates into students who have the capacity to learn new information but may need more time to do so, or may need to use alternate ways of learning, many of which they will do independently and outside of the classroom.

Students with LD at the postsecondary level have certainly learned to use compensatory strategies as well as services and accommodations. They have learned skills and techniques to compensate for LD in order to be successful students at the high school level.

The LDAC (2004) recommends that for success, individuals with learning disabilities require early identification and timely specialized assessments and interventions involving home, school, community, and workplace settings. The interventions need to be appropriate for each individual's learning disability subtype and, at a minimum, include the provision of:

  • Specific skill instruction
  • Accommodations
  • Compensatory strategies
  • Self-advocacy skills
  • 5. LDAC (2002).