Learning Differences And Disabilities

Learner-Centered Education Across the Disciplines at USC

Learner-Centered Education

Shaw, Stan F. Teaching College Students with Learning Disabilities. Arlington, VA: ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education. 2001.

This different approach to looking at the learner-centered education focuses on people with disabilities in the classroom. The abstract summarizes: "The issues involved in the instruction of college students with learning disabilities and offers a practical approach to teaching these students."

Learning With Disabilities
To be truly learner-centered, college instruction must be sensitive to individual differences. Not all college learners are well-adapted to traditional teaching and testing methods. The latest research on dyslexia will be discussed to illustrate some of the variation in learning abilities, and what might be done at the university level to accommodate these differences.

November 9, 2006 - Frank Manis

What Learning Disabilities Can Teach Us Lecture

From the USC Catalogue, 2006-07:
Policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
The University of Southern California is committed to full compliance with the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As part of the implementation of this law, the university will continue to provide reasonable accommodation for academically qualified students with disabilities so that they can participate fully in the university's educational programs and activities. Although USC is not required by law to change the "fundamental nature or essential curricular components of its programs in order to accommodate the needs of disabled students," the university will provide reasonable academic accommodation. It is the specific responsibility of the university administration and all faculty serving in a teaching capacity to ensure the university's compliance with this policy.

The general definition of a student with a disability is any person who has "a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's activities," and any person who has "a history of, or is regarded as having, such an impairment." Reasonable academic and physical accommodations include but are not limited to: extended time on examinations; substitution of similar or related work for a nonfundamental program requirement; time extensions on papers or projects; special testing procedures; advance notice regarding booklists for visually impaired and some learning disabled students; use of academic aides in the classroom such as notetakers and sign language interpreters; accessibility for students who use wheelchairs and those with mobility impairments; and need for special classroom furniture or special equipment in the classroom.

Procedures for Obtaining Accommodations
Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services and Programs (DSP) prior to or during the first week of class attendance or as early in the semester as possible. The office will work with Classroom Scheduling, the course instructor and his or her department, and the student to arrange for reasonable accommodations. It is the student's responsibility to provide documentation verifying disability.

Academic Accommodations
Students seeking academic accommodations due to a physical, psychological or learning disability should make the request to the course instructor prior to or during the first week of class attendance or as early in the semester as possible. Course instructors should require that a student present verification of documentation of a disability from Disability Services and Programs if academic accommodations are requested. The USC Gould School of Law has a unit-specific policy for handling requests for academic accommodations; however, all students with disabilities should register with DSP. Refer to the Law School Student Handbook.

For assistance in how to provide reasonable accommodations for a particular disability, course instructors are encouraged to consult with the staff at DSP. Students requesting academic accommodations must have verification of a disability.

The USC Office of Disability Services and Programs (DSP) provides support services to enable students with disabilities to develop their academic potential, while having the dignity of working toward an independent lifestyle. Services for students with physical, psychological and learning disabilities include:

  • Assistance in providing readers, scribes, note-takers and interpreters
  • Advocacy with faculty and TAs
  • Special accommodations for test-taking needs
  • Auxiliary aid and equipment loans
  • Assistance with architectural barriers
  • Information on accessible seating at USC sporting events
  • Assistive technology
  • Support for individual needs
  • Information on various disabilities

Do you have a question about how to work with a student who has a disability? If so, contact:

Disability Services and Programs (DSP)
Student Union 301
(213) 740-0776

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