Students with learning disabilities and post-secondary institutions: transitioning and reasonable accommodations

Pennell, Tami (2003) Students with learning disabilities and post-secondary institutions: transitioning and reasonable accommodations. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

"Learning disabilities" (LD) refer to a number of disorders, that may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding, or use of verbal or non-verbal information (Siegal, 1999)." These disorders affect learning in people who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning. When one considers the definition of LD and its direct impact on learning, it is not surprising that one of the areas of life most affected by learning disabilities is education. This paper synthesized information on the history and current definitions of the term LD, and investigated the link with research as to the neurobiological basis of a LD. How to diagnose a LD and who is qualified to diagnose a LD are researched and the nature and characteristics of individuals with LD are reviewed. The paper concludes with a discussion of the legal obligations that exist in Canada for postsecondary institutions to provide "reasonable accommodations" for individuals with learning disabilities. Based on the literature, there is need for continued research in the area of LD. -- This paper synthesizes literature, related to the successful transition of students with learning disabilities (LD) to the post-secondary level. The first section outlines the history of transition services. The second section reviews the literature on transitioning services and the student with LD, and how to properly prepare these students for all the major areas of adult functioning including employment, continuing education, daily living, health, leisure, communication and interpersonal skills. The literature is reviewed on the transitioning services required to assure the successful transition to post secondary institutions. Research (for e.g. Dunn (1996) and Rojewski (1992)) has shown an individualized transition plan promotes self-awareness and self-determination by the student with LD, and that involves all stakeholders promoting the successful transitioning beyond high school. -- This paper reviews the literature relevant to the contemporary understanding of what is considered a "reasonable" accommodation at the postsecondary level. Defining what a learning disability (LD) is and what transition services they need to maximize their potential at the postsecondary level is reviewed, as well as the process followed in order for the student with LD to receive accommodations. This paper presents research that indicates that most faculty members are willing to provide accommodations, but are concerned with determining the nature and extend of the provisions. Due to the request for accommodations, both the institution and the student involved often face challenges to assure that the integrity of coursework is not jeopardized. Canadian legislation, such as the Charter of Rights and Freedom and the Canadian Human Rights Act, assures the rights of individuals with LD are protected at the postsecondary level are reviewed. The final sections review how the literature defining reasonable accommodations and support programs for individuals with LD at the postsecondary level. Research (for e.g., Strasburger, Tumer, Wallis (1998)) has shown that the most success for assuring an accommodation is reasonable is when the essential requirements for a course or program of study are defined, and the accommodations do not impinge on these requirements.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7044
Item ID: 7044
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 2003
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Learning disabled youth--Education

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