Contact Information

Office of Disability Services

William H. Moesch
2 Convent Road
Mahoney Library
Second Floor
Morristown, NJ 07960-6989

Phone: 973-290-4261
Fax: 973-290-4244
wmoesch@cse.edu

Office Hours:
M, W, Th 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Learning Disability

Specific Learning Disabilities

DEFINITION

A learning disability is a permanent neurological disorder that effects the manner in which information is received, organized, remembered, and then retrieved or expressed. Students, with learning disabilities possess an average to above average intellectual endowment.

Terms associated with learning disabilities include:

  • Dyslexia – inability to read
  • Dyscalculia – inability to do mathematics
  • Dysgrahia – inability to write words with appropriate syntax
  • Dysphasia – inability to speak with fluency or sometimes understand others
  • Figure-ground perception – inability to see an object from a background or other objects
  • Visual discrimination – inability to see the difference in objects
  • Auditory figure ground perception – inability to hear one sound among others
  • Auditory sequencing – inability to hear sounds in the correct order

Characteristics may include an inability to perform in accordance with the norm in such areas as:

  • Oral language-understanding, word recall, grammar, pronunciation
  • Listening comprehension
  • Written comprehension-spelling errors, sentence structure, organization and development
  • Basic reading-slow reading rate and retention
  • Tracking skills, difficulty with syntax on tests
  • Mathematical reasoning and calculation-basic operations, number reversals and confusion of symbols, copying problems, concept of time
  • Social skills-spatial disorientation, low frustration level, low self-esteem, problem resolution
  • Study skills and time management

Accommodations may include:

  • Reduced course load
  • Extended time to complete assignments
  • Tape recorders
  • Note-taking services
  • Taped textbooks
  • Readers
  • Extended time for in class assignments
  • Assistive technology (calculator, word processor)
  • Extended time for testing, non-distracting environment

ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION

Eligibility for Disability Services at the College of Saint Elizabeth is dependent upon the nature of the disability and its impact on learning. A person might meet eligibility requirements of vocational rehabilitation, disabled veterans or any other rehabilitation agency; however, she/he may not meet eligibility at the College of Saint Elizabeth.

One of the reasons that the College has developed these guidelines is to ensure consistency throughout the institution. These guidelines are fairly consistent with those used by agencies administering standardized assessments.

The ultimate decision for eligibility on campus is a judgment that must be made by the Coordinator of Disability Services based upon the guidelines developed for each type of disability. Once a student has been verified as disabled by the College of Saint Elizabeth Office of Disability Services, a disability eligibility form should be completed and placed in a confidential file with the determining documentation.

SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES DOCUMENTATION

Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnosis of specific learning disabilities must be qualified. A qualified professional must hold a degree in a field related to the diagnosis of SLD and have at least one year of diagnostic expertise with adults and older adolescents. Recommended practitioners include: certified and/or licensed psychologist, learning disabilities specialists, educational therapists, and diagnosticians in public schools or colleges and rehabilitation services and private practitioners with the above qualifications are typically considered qualified. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Required documentation includes:

  1. Testing that is comprehensive, including a measure of both aptitude and academic achievement in the areas of reading, mathematics, and written expression.
  2. Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the learning disability has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the condition, the current status of the student, and the student's request for accommodations).
  3. A clear statement that a learning disability is present along with the rationale for this diagnosis. Information must include the nature and extent of the severe discrepancy that exists(Note: Individual learning deficits, learning styles and learning differences do not, in and of themselves, constitute a learning disability).
  4. A narrative summary, including all scores (standard and percentile), which supports diagnosis.
  5. A statement of strengths and needs that will impact the student's ability to meet the demands of the post-secondary environment.
  6. A statement of the functional impacts or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist at the institution collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.