A “language-learning disability” is a term used to cover a considerable variety of cognitive differences that make learning a language, especially a foreign language (or certain aspects of a foreign language), exorbitantly difficult.

When the diagnosis of the learning disability warrants it, students are offered an alternative to complete Occidental's foreign language requirement. The language requirement at Oxy has several objectives: through language study, students develop not only language abilities, but also intercultural skills and perspectives that will assist them to become productive citizens of the world. The rationale behind the choice of alternative courses is to provide the student with at least some of the same educational breadth that students gain through language study.

Since the language requirement is the attainment of proficiency equivalent to that acquired in two college-level courses, the alternative is also set at two courses, which work toward the same ends. If one beginning language course has already been completed with a grade of D or better, it will be counted towards the requirement.

It is recommended that students whose language-learning disability involves solely listening and speaking should take Latin or Ancient Greek, both of which are regularly offered at Oxy. Those with more general language-learning disabilities should take literature and culture courses offered in translation in the language departments. Students may also take a Linguistics course, or a non-Anglophone literature and culture course offered in other departments, in consultation with a Language Department Chair.

If students are approved, Disability Services will share the Language Substitution Form which should be completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office for approval. It is highly recommend that students get course approval prior to taking a course.



Contact Disability Services
Berkus Hall

Berkus Hall map

Fall 2023 Office Hours

Mondays: 2-3pm

Wednesdays: 1-2pm

Thursdays: 2-3pm
Fridays: 1-2pm
Michelle Obergfoll
Director of Disability Services & Student Support
Audrey Navarro
Department Coordinator for Disability Services, Writing & Rhetoric & the Writing Center