Faculty Resources

Learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder Referral Guide

Instructors, counselors, and other college staff often ask about what to look for before referring students with possible learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder. The brief checklist of characteristics which follows may be of assistance. 

Keep in mind that, according to the Title V regulations that govern the California Community Colleges, a learning disability is a persistent condition that affects adults with average to above average intellectual ability. In spite of this ability, these individuals experience severe discrepancies between aptitude and achievement as a result of a severe processing deficit. 

LD Characteristics

  1. Difficulty with comprehension and retention of material that is read
  2. Errors in spelling, grammar and sentence structure in written work that are inconsistent with the student’s oral language
  3. Difficulty understanding verbal instructions in spite of the fact that the student’s primary language is English
  4. Difficulty with multiplication, division, fractions, and word problems
  5. Poor grades on exams inconsistent with the student’s apparent understanding of the material and participation in class


ADD or ADHD Characteristics

  1. Extreme difficulty with organization and time management.  The student is often late, loses handouts, or forgets assignments
  2. Difficulty following lectures. The student is easily distracted or seems to drift off
  3. A tendency to be impulsive. The student blurts out answers, talks too much, does not follow directions
  4. A pattern of procrastination. The student is late with assignments, rushed, or under prepared.
  5. Difficulty organizing thoughts in writing even though the student has lots of good ideas


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Last Modified May 2, 2014