Learning Disabilities (LD) Services
The mission of learning disability (LD) services is to empower students to see themselves as confident, competent learners who can, with hard work and the support of DSPS, achieve their academic goals and go on to be contributing members of society.
Definition of Learning Disability
A learning disability is a learning difference or challenge that affects the way a person takes in, remembers, understands, and expresses information. Learning challenges may be found in one or more of the following areas: reading comprehension, spelling, written expression, math computation, and problem solving.
The term “learning disability” is a generic term used to describe a large group of people, however no two individuals who have LD have the same experience. The challenges each person may face are as unique as they are. Learning disabilities are also called “invisible disabilities” because there no visual cues that allows others to know that a student with LD is having difficulties in school or in their lives.
Assessment and evaluation of eligibility for LD support
Accommodations and services based on individual assessment results
Identification of a student’s learning strengths and challenges
Learning strategies and techniques
Referral to other resources
NOTE: The assessment that is done in the community colleges qualifies a student for academic accommodations and other services related to LD; it is not a diagnosis of LD.
LD Assessment Eligibility and Enrollment Guidelines
A student wanting to be assessed for a learning disability must meet the following eligibility criteria:
must be enrolled in classes at Berkeley City College (BCC);
- present a history of LD: special education services in high school; problems with comprehension, spelling, writing, math, and problem solving.
- The student must first meet with the LD Specialist and determine if LD assessment is an appropriate next step.
- If assessment is appropriate, the student is given an Intake Packet to complete. Once the packet is completed, the student sets an appointment with the LD Specialist to review the packet.
- Together the student and LD Specialist schedule dates for individual assessment.
- Once the assessment is complete, the student and the LD Specialist review the results of the assessment. The LD Specialist determines if the student’s assessment results meet the eligibility criteria as determined by the California Community Colleges Chancellors’ Office.
- A summary report of the LD assessment is given to the student and another copy is placed in the student’s file.
Due to the increased number of students requesting LD assessment, priority for LD assessment will be determined as follows:
BCC students who have a history of learning challenges, but no documentation of LD;
BCC students who are transferring to a 4-year institution and need updated assessment to qualify for services at the 4-year institution;
BCC students with I.E.P.s from the K-12 system who need an adult assessment to qualify for services in the community college setting.
NOTE: If you have already been assessed for learning disabilities, drop off a copy of your documentation in Room 261 and schedule an appointment with a DSPS Counselor who will review the documentation and prescribe reasonable accommodations.
Students with psychological, mobility, visual, and other disabilities will be referred to a PSSD Counselor or to the PSSD Coordinator for review of their documentation to determine eligibility for disability related accommodations and services.
Six Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) For LD Assessment Services
1. How do I get assessed for LD?
You should come to the PSSD Office (Room 261) and leave your name, phone number, and student ID number with PSSD front office staff. Your information will be forwarded to the LD Specialist who will contact you. The LD Specialist will schedule an appointment with you (usually an hour) to discuss your learning challenges and if assessment is appropriate.
2. How is it determined who will be tested?
The students who meet with the LD Specialist who appear to meet legitimate eligibility criteria, i.e., a history of learning problems in reading comprehension, spelling, mechanics of writing, math computation, or problem solving (not due to another disability) will be given an Intake Packet to fill out. This packet asks questions pertaining to the students learning difficulties and how it is impacting their academics. Once the Intake Packet is completed, the L.D. Specialist and the student will review it. If further assessment is the appropriate next step, the student and the LD Specialist will schedule appointments to complete the assessment process.
Students will be selected to continue assessment based on the priorities as listed above.
3. How long does the testing take?
The process involves up to 18 hours of work over the course of the semester. This includes the evaluation for assessment eligibility, the LD Intake Packet review session, 9 – 10 hours of assessment, and an exit interview given at the end of the assessment process.
4. Do I have to do the assessment all at once?
No, the assessment is done in 1-to-2 hour intervals over the course of the semester. The LD Specialist does all of the assessment on a one-to-one basis. Appointments are made for the assessment sessions by the LD Specialist in agreement with the student.
5. What do I get out of the assessment process?
A student will find out if she or he qualifies for LD services. If a student is eligible for services, the LD Specialist will review the assessment results with the student, explaining the student’s strengths and weaknesses in learning. The LD Specialist will also talk about strategies and accommodations that may be helpful to the student. The student will then be referred to a PSSD Counselor to assist with education planning and the accommodations process while taking classes at Berkeley City College.
If a student enrolls in classes at another Peralta College, the LD report and assessment results can be sent (at the student’s written request) to the disability support programs at the other campuses so that accommodations and other services can be continued.
If a student does not qualify for LD services, the LD Specialist can make other recommendations or referrals to the student.
For more information, contact:
Maricela Becerra, LD Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 981-2929