Disability Resources

Faculty Resources

This section is divided by disability and includes general information about disabilities including teaching strategies, articles, and links to websites. Click on the navigation links below to expand specific information sections.

Don't see the information that you are looking for?  Please let us know (drs@estrellamountain.edu).  We want this to be your "go-to" site for information about disabilities.

Keeping it Simple:  Some Basic Definitions:

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

A federal law that gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

Assistive Technology

Equipment that enhances the ability of students and employees to be more efficient and successful.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

An inability to accurately process and interpret sound information. Students with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

A disorder that occurs when the ear and the brain do not coordinate fully. A CAPD is a physical hearing impairment, but one which does not show up as a hearing loss on routine screenings or an audiogram. Instead, it affects the hearing system beyond the ear, whose job it is to separate a meaningful message from non-essential background sound and deliver that information with good clarity to the intellectual centers of the brain (the central nervous system).

Executive Function

The ability to organize cognitive processes. This includes the ability to plan ahead, prioritize, stop and start activities, shift from one activity to another activity, and to monitor one's own behavior.

Language Learning Disability (LLD)

A language learning disability is a disorder that may affect the comprehension and use of spoken or written language as well as nonverbal language, such as eye contact and tone of speech, in both adults and children.

Learning Disability (LD)

A disorder that affects people's ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. It may also be referred to as a learning disorder or a learning difference.

Listening Comprehension

Understanding speech. Listening comprehension, as with reading comprehension, can be described in "levels" – lower levels of listening comprehension would include understanding only the facts explicitly stated in a spoken passage that has very simple syntax and uncomplicated vocabulary. Advanced levels of listening comprehension would include implicit understanding and drawing inferences from spoken passages that feature more complicated syntax and more advanced vocabulary.

Nonverbal Learning Disability

A neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain. Reception of nonverbal or performance-based information governed by this hemisphere is impaired in varying degrees, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative, and holistic processing functions.

There are many quotes describing ADD/ADHD, but many agree that this is the most accurate description:

It has to be fun. 
If it is not fun, it has to be moving. 
If it is not fun or moving, maybe we can poke it and make it mad.

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), is a national non-profit, tax-exempt (Section 501 (c) (3) ) organization providing education, advocacy and support for individuals with ADHD.                                 

Attention Deficit Disorder Association(ADDA) is an international non-profit organization bringing together scientific perspective and human experience to promote international collaboration in the field of AD/HD diagnosis, treatment and management.

Students on the Spectrum may struggle with Executive Functioning, this can present itself in many different ways. Here are some examples of behaviors you may see. Please remember, disability does not excuse behavior, if a student is behaving inappropriately in the classroom, please bring it to the attention of DRS Staff. We are here to help you and the student work through these issues. 

Planning- They may be late to class or turn in rushed, poor quality, late assignments.

Reasoning- They may have trouble connecting previously discussed ideas with current ideas. They may have poor essay answers on exams.

Attentional Control- They may stare off into space, ask the same question several times or turn in unfinished assignments.

Inhibiting Automatic Response- They may speak out of turn or they may be preoccupied with technology in the classroom.

Working Memory- They may have difficulty holding on to what was read/seen/heard in the classroom. 

This page has two great videos that allow you to experience what an individual with ASD is experiencing. 

Not sure how to communicate with a student who is deaf? This article provides six simple guidelines.

1. Most people feel uncomfortable when meeting a Deaf person for the first time. This is very normal.  When we communicate with people, we general don't have to think about the process. When faced with a Deaf person, we are uncertain which rules apply. We don't know where to look, or how fast or loud to speak. Accept the fact that your initial communications will feel uncomfortable and awkward. As you interact more, you will start to feel more comfortable and know how to make yourself understood.

2. It's okay to write a Deaf person. The Deaf person will appreciate your effort even more if you use a combination of gestures, facial expressions, body language, and written communication. Some Deaf people can lip read very well.  If one approach doesn't work, try another. If the deaf person uses her/his voice and you don't understand, it's fine to indicate the person should write.

3. Most people engage in very quick and efficient conversations. We often lose patience when someone is having difficulty understanding. We look for ways to speed up the interaction. Deaf people highly value face-to-face communication and perceive it as an investment, not as an imposition. Take the time to communicate and connect.

4. Deaf people listen with their eyes. A Deaf person cannot look at an object and at the same time listen to you describe how to use it.  Only talk when you have eye contact with the Deaf person.

5. Many Deaf people will use a sign language interpreter. You should speak directly to the Deaf person, not to the interpreter, and maintain eye contact with the deaf person. This will feel awkward because the Deaf person will be looking at the interpreter, not you, but it will be noticed and appreciated by the Deaf person.

6. Some people are reluctant to attempt to communicate directly with a Deaf person when they use an interpreter. Use the beginning and end of the conversation as an opportunity for direct communication with the Deaf person. When you take the initiative to shake hands, make eye contact, use gestures, touch and/or smile, you are communicating in a visual and tactile manner.

Learning disabilities (LDs) are real. They affect the brain's ability to receive, process, store, respond to, and communicate information. LDs are actually a group of disorders, not a single disorder.

Learning disabilities are not the same as intellectual disabilities (formerly known as mental retardation), sensory impairments (vision or hearing) or autism spectrum disorders. People with LD are of average or above-average intelligence but still struggle to acquire skills that impact their performance in school, at home, in the community and in the workplace.

Learning disabilities can affect a person's ability in the areas of:


The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) improves the lives of all people with learning difficulties and disabilities by empowering parents, enabling young adults, transforming schools, and creating policy and advocacy impact.

Since 1963, Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) has provided support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals. At the national, state and local levels, LDA provides cutting edge information on learning disabilities, practical solutions, and a comprehensive network of resources. These services make the Learning Disabilities Association of America the leading resource for information on learning disabilities.