Guide Focus

What are Learning Disabilities?

Role of Formal Assessment

LD Students in Your Composition Classroom

LD Students in a Writing Center Tutorial

Teacher Resources

An Introduction to Resources for Disabled Students

Annotated Bibliography

Relevant Websites

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Authors & Contributors

The Role of Formal Assessment

This guide does not suggest that a writing teacher or tutor is in any way qualified to do a formal assessment of learning disabilities; we can spot potential problems and adapt our teaching activities to accommodate these, but we should not try to "decide" whether a student has a disability, and we are never to tell a student that they have one. Can you imagine the distress a student might experience if she is suddenly told that she has a "disability?" Can you imagine what might happen if you have misdiagnosed a student in your haste to help him?

On the other hand, if you find through your informal assessment that your student seems to have some of the problems I will list in this packet, it could be a tragic lost opportunity not to help that student get the compensatory strategies that might improve his or her academic and professional success. It can be such a relief for students who have struggled their whole lives to find that there are things that they can do to excel as students; they might be very appreciative that someone finally didn't simply think they were slow, or ignore the problem hoping that someone else would deal with it.