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Mansfield University... Developing Tomorrow's Leaders Center of Services for Students with Disabilities



Referral Information


This page contains descriptions of the criteria for some of the more common disabilities faced by college students. This is, by no means, a complete listing, merely an aid to use when referring.

Please do not attempt to diagnose yourself or anyone else, that should be left to the professionals. If you feel you or someone you know (family member, friend, student) has a disability, please contact Ms. Melinda Phillips for more information.

Thank you.

ADD/ADHD Learning Disabilities Visual/Hearing Impairments Referral Form

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Criteria:

  • individual feels a sense of underachievement, of not meeting goals (regardless of how much has been accomplished)
  • individual has difficulty getting organized and often loses things
  • individual demonstrates chronic procrastination or trouble beginning projects
  • individual often has many projects going simultaneously and has difficulty with follow-through
  • individual has a tendency to say what comes to mind without necessarily considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark
  • individual demonstrates an ongoing search for high stimulation
  • individual has a tendency to be easily bored
  • individual is easily distracted, has trouble focusing attention, has a tendency to tune out or drift away in the middle of a page or a conversation - often coupled with an ability to hyperfocus at times
  • individuals with ADD/ADHD are often creative, intuitive and highly intelligent
  • individual has trouble going through established channels and following proper procedures
  • individual is impatient and has a low tolerance for frustration
  • Individual is impulsive, either verbally or in actions - as in impulsive spending, constantly changing plans, impulsively deciding on new schemes or career plans
  • individual has a tendency to worry needlessly and endlessly, along with a tendency to scan the horizon looking for something to worry about, alternating with inattention to, or disregard for, actual dangers
  • individual has a sense of impending doom or is insecure, alternating with high risk-taking behavior
  • individual displays unstable moods and has a short temper
  • individual is very restless
  • individual displays a tendency toward addictive behaviors
  • individual demonstrates chronic problems with self-esteem
  • individual displays inaccurate self-observation
  • individual has a family history of ADD/ADHD or other impulse-control disorders
  • individual has a child-hood history of displaying symptoms of ADD/ADHD

To take the Jasper/Goldberg Adult ADD Screening Examination, click here: ADD Exam

To read about adults with ADHD, click here: CHADD

For more information, contact: Ms. Melinda Phillips, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities.

Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities, or social skills. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction. Even though a learning disability may occur concomitantly with other handicapping conditions (e.g., sensory impairment, mental retardation, social and emotional disturbance), with socio-environmental influences (e.g., cultural differences, insufficient or inappropriate instruction, psychogenic factors), and especially with attention deficit disorder, all of which may cause learning problems, a learning disability is not the direct result of those conditions or influences.

Learning disabilities may be identified in the following academic areas: reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, and language.

The following cognitive domains are typically identified as areas of specific deficits in students:

  • Language:
    includes auditory discrimination difficulties, comprehension difficulties, difficulties with expressive language and the naming of objects, and related functions
  • Visual-Spatial:
    includes difficulties with the analysis and synthesis of spatial information
  • Memory:
    includes difficulties with auditory, visual, verbal and spatial memory - deficits may appear in either short- or long-term memory functions
  • Difficulty with fine motor or dexterity skills
  • Executive Functions:
    includes difficulties with concept formation, problem solving and organizational/planning abilities
  • Attention:
    includes difficulties related to the ability to focus on relevant information to the exclusion of irrelevant information

To meet the criteria for a learning disability, one must exhibit one or more, but not all, of the areas of specific academic deficits listed above; a correlated cognitive deficit; and at least average intellectual ability.

Often learning disabled individuals have areas of difficulty that are in marked contrast to other areas in which they excel.

Characteristics of learning disabled individuals:

  1. Reading:
    • confusion of similar words, difficulty using phonics, problems reading multisyllable words,
    • slow reading rate and/or difficulty adjusting speed to the nature of the reading task
    • difficulty with comprehension and retention of material that is read, but not with material presented orally
  2. Writing:
    • difficulty with sentence structure, poor grammar, omitted words
    • frequent spelling errors, inconsistent spelling, letter reversals
    • difficulty copying from board or overhead
    • poorly formed letters, difficulty with spacing, capitals and punctuation
  3. Oral Language:
    • difficulty attending to spoken language, inconsistent concentration
    • difficulty expressing ideas, which seem to be understood, orally
    • problems describing events or stories in proper sequence
    • residual problems with grammar, difficulty with inflectional or derivational endings
  4. Math:
    • difficulty memorizing basic facts
    • confusion or reversal of numbers, number sequence, or operational symbols
    • difficulty copying problems, aligning columns
    • difficulty reading or comprehending word problems
    • problems with reasoning and abstract concepts
  5. Study Skills:
    • poor organization and time management
    • difficulty following directions
    • poor organization of notes and other written materials
    • need more time to complete assignments
  6. Social Skills:
    • difficulty 'reading' facial expressions and body language
    • problems interpreting subtle messages, such as sarcasm
    • confusion in spatial orientation, getting lost easily, difficulty following directions
    • disorientation in time, difficulty telling time

For more information, please contact: Ms. Melinda Phillips, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities.

Visual and Hearing Impairments

Hearing Impairments

Indications that an individual has a hearing impairment include:

  • individual seems to be straining to hear
  • individual focuses intense concentration on the speaker's face
  • individual uses loud or distorted speech
  • individual often makes requests for repetition of spoken material or for the spelling of words
  • individual demonstrates a consistent failure to respond to verbal requests/commands

Visual Impairments

Indications that an individual has a visual impairment include:

  • individual rubs eyes excessively
  • individual shuts or covers one eye when attempting to look at something
  • individual tilts head or thrusts head forward when attempting to see
  • individual demonstrates difficulty with reading or other close-up work; holds objects close to eyes
  • individual blinks more than usual or is irritable when doing close-up work
  • individual is unable to see distant things clearly
  • individual squints eyelids together or frowns
  • individual has crossed eyes
  • individual has red-rimmed, encrusted or swollen eyelids
  • individual has inflamed or watery eyes
  • individual complains that eyes itch, burn or feel scratchy
  • individual complains that he/she cannot see well
  • individual complains of dizziness, headaches or nausea following close-up work
  • individual complains of blurred or double vision

For more information, contact: Ms. Melinda Phillips, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities (570) 662-4691.