Every learning disability is unique. These are just some examples of the characteristics of college students with learning disabilities.
- Poor spelling. Perhaps they get the beginning and ending of the word spelled correctly, but the middle is just wrong. They can't remember whether to use their, they're or there. Oftentimes it's the little words that are confused, like was and saw, or then and than.
- Great ideas, very creative, but they don't know how to put them on paper in an organized form. Written vocabulary is much less sophisticated than oral vocabulary.
- Staying organized is difficult. They're often late, or completely forget appointments. They jot notes all over, and then can't find where they wrote them. If they have a 3-ring binder, they probably don't put their papers in it.
- It takes forever to read an assignment. They have to start a paragraph over several times. Deciphering the words takes so much mental effort, there is little left for comprehension.
- They just don't get math. They don't understand the language and sometimes confuse symbols. They don't know when to calculate and which operations to use. They can't calculate in their heads. They inconsistently forget math facts and formulas.
- They can't trust their memory. They know something one day, and then it's gone the next. They study hard, and then forget everything when they go to take the test.
- If they have to take a timed test, they're doomed. They don't think well under pressure, get distracted by any movement in the room, and run out of time before they can get their thoughts down.
- They have difficulty with directions. Either they don't read them correctly, get confused when they are too long, or forget what they were supposed to do.
- They have difficulty taking good notes. They can't write and listen at the same time. The instructor goes too fast. It takes too long to copy things from the board.
- They don't know how to use a syllabus. They don't know where it is, don't know how to read it, don't know test dates or assignment due dates, don't know their grade.
The presence of these characteristics does not necessarily denote a learning disability, and every LD student displays different characteristics. The most salient factor is that there are inconsistencies in their performance that cannot be otherwise explained.