Guidelines for Accommodations or Services
Students requesting accommodations or services because of a learning disability are required to submit documentation to determine eligibility in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A diagnosis of a learning disability does not necessarily qualify a student for academic accommodations under the law. To establish that a student is covered under Section 504 and the ADA, the documentation must indicate that the disability substantially limits some major life activity, including learning.
The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation of a learning disability is complete and supports the request for accommodations.
The Southern University Law Center will determine eligibility and appropriate services, case by case, based on the quality, recency and completeness of the documentation submitted.
The following requirements provide students, schools and professional diagnosticians with a common understanding of the components of documentation that are necessary to validate the existence of a learning disability, the impact on the individual's educational performance, and the need for academic accommodations for the purpose of the ADA and the 1973 Rehabilitation Act:
- A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation. The assessment must be administered by a trained and qualified, certified and/or licensed professional such as a psychologist, school psychologist, neuropsychologist, educational diagnostician or student clinician who is being supervised by a qualified professional. The professional must have direct experience with adolescents and adults with learning disabilities.
- Documentation must be current. Reasonable accommodations are based on the current impact of the disability on academic performance. In most cases this means that a diagnostic evaluation should be age appropriate and relevant to the student's learning environment and show the student's current level of functioning. If documentation does not address the individual's current level of functioning, a reevaluation may be required.
- Documentation must include a specific diagnosis. The report must include a clear and direct statement that a learning disability does or does not exist, including a rule out of alternative explanations of learning problems. Terms such as "learning difficulty," "appears," "suggests," or "probable" do not support a conclusive diagnosis.
- Documentation must be comprehensive. The documentation must include a summary containing relevant historical information, instructional interventions, related services, and age of initial diagnosis. The documentation also must include objective data regarding aptitude, achievement and information processing. Test scores (standard scores, percentiles, and grade equivalents) must be included in the documentation.
- Recommendations for accommodation(s). A diagnostic report may include specific recommendations for accommodation(s). A prior history of an accommodation without a demonstration of a current need does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation. Each accommodation recommended by an evaluator should include a rationale. The evaluation should support the recommendations with specific test results or clinical observations. If an accommodation is not clearly identified in the diagnostic report, the institution will seek clarification and, if necessary, more information, and will make the final determination as to whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided. The Southern University Law Center reserves the right to request reassessment when questions regarding previous assessment or previous service provision arise.
Below are AHEAD's examples of typical measures used in adult assessment of learning disabilities:
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-3rd Edition (WAIS-III).
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R).
- Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale-4th and 5th Edition (SB IV, V) d. Woodcock-Johnson.
- Psychoeducational Battery-3rd Edition: Tests of Cognitive Ability.
- Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability.
- Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test.
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests II (WIAT II).
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT).
- Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-3rd Edition: Tests of Achievement (WJ-III).
- Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised: Tests of Achievement (WJ-R).
- Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK).
- Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA).
(Note: Screening tools such as the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-III) are not considered comprehensive measures of achievement and must be accompanied by a comprehensive measure such as one of those listed above. All instruments selected to measure these areas must be age appropriate.)
- Subtests of the WAIS-R or WAIS-III.
- Subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery: Tests of Cognitive Ability.
- Wechsler Memory Scales-Revised or 3rd Edition.
Fall Semester–October 12, 2012
Spring Semester–March 8, 2013
For additional information, please contact Berryl Gordon-Thompson, Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Academic Support Programs, Suite 220/221, 225-771-4913 (office) or firstname.lastname@example.org.