The Marist Community

Menu Display

Learning Disabilities

Services for Students With Learning Disabilities

The Office of Accommodations and Accessibility (OSS) provides support and accommodations to students with learning disabilities. With this assistance, students can manage the college environment successfully and reach their educational goals.

What Is A Learning Disability?

A learning disability is a disorder that affects the manner in which individuals with normal or above average intelligence take in, retain, and express information. It is commonly recognized as a significant deficit in one or more of the following area: oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, mathematical calculations, problem solving. Individuals with learning disabilities also may have difficulty with sustained attention, time management, or social skills.

Oral Expression

  • Difficulty with word retrieval
  • Difficulty with orally expressing concepts that the student understands
  • Trouble telling a story in proper sequence
  • Poor, immature vocabulary

Listening Comprehension

  • Difficulty following oral directions
  • Poor short-term auditory memory
  • Difficulty decoding spoken language

Written Expression

  • Difficulty planning/organizing thoughts on paper
  • Difficulty with sentence structure
  • Many errors in spelling and grammar
  • Writing style shows lack of sophistication
  • Poor penmanship (eye-hand coordination)
  • Difficulty producing in writing what one can produce orally

Reading Skills

  • Slow reading rate
  • Failure to understand inference
  • Decoding words looks like "nonsense"
  • Reversals

Mathematical Skills

  • Incomplete mastery of basic facts
  • Reversal and confusing operational symbols
  • Difficulty recalling the sequence of operational concepts
  • Difficulty comprehending word problems and understanding key concepts and applications to aid problem solving

The Office of Accommodations and Accessibility does not conduct comprehensive evaluations necessary to establish a diagnosis of a specific learning disability. However, it does refer students to off-campus resources.

Accommodations Available Through Special Services

The OSS can arrange for accommodations that are reasonable and appropriate to mediate the effects of a student's specific learning disability, and may include the following:

  • Taped textbooks
  • Readers for exams
  • Scribes for exams
  • Notetakers
  • Adaptive testing procedures (extended time, separate location, use of computer, etc.)

Accommodations that may be possible after consultation with the instructor are:

  • Alternate testing format
  • Use of calculator
  • Tape recorder in the classroom

Additional Services Available

  • Training for adaptive technology (Kurzweil technology, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Wordsmith, etc.)
  • Peer tutoring
  • Career and personal counseling
  • Academic planning


The Office of Accommodations and Accessibility provides a comprehensive range of support services and accommodations that promote the full integration of students with disabilities into the mainstream college environment. Services and accommodations are individualized to meet the needs of each student and may vary depending upon the disability and/or course content.

Marist College supports the concept of self-advocacy for all students. The Office does not provide faculty with prior notification of a student's enrollment. Request for academic accommodations are made directly by the student.

Marist College Office of Accommodations and Accessibility. (2003). Services for Students with Learning Disabilities. [Brochure] Poughkeepsie, NY: author