Guidelines for Learning Disability

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Every report submitted must be on the agency's letterhead stationery, typed, dated, signed by the evaluator, and include the following elements:

Evaluator Information

Those professionals, who have conducted and are submitting evaluation reports, and offering recommendations, must be qualified to do so. The following certified and/or licensed professionals would be qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities provided they have the training and expertise to evaluate adolescent and adult learning disabilities:

  • School psychologists
  • Clinical or educational psychologists
  • Learning disabilities specialists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Neurologists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Medical doctors with training and expertise in the assessment/diagnosis of adolescent and adult learning disabilities

The name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator must be cited in the report, i.e. certified or licensed psychologist. Please note that the diagnostician must be an impartial professional who is not a family member of the student.

Educational, Psycho-educational and/or Neuropsychological Assessment

Within the report there must be a discussion of all evaluative instruments administered and observations of the student's behavior during the assessment. Actual test scores must be included. Standard scores are required; percentile and age equivalents are not acceptable without the standard scores, and an interpretation of the test scores is required. If extended time for college exams/tests/quizzes is requested, tests should be administered, both timed and untimed and scores for both conditions must be reported and discussed. Non-normed/non-standardized assessments, i.e. informal reading inventories or writing samples, may be offered as supplemental to the standardized assessments, but are not sufficient as documentation of disability.

The evaluation reports must contain adequate information/documentation of the student's current (within three (3) years of submission date) level of functioning. If required information/documentation is missing and/or outdated, the student may be asked to provide a more current or complete assessment (at student's expense).

Most IEPs and 504 Plans do not contain the assessment data and diagnosis necessary to document a learning disability therefore, the student should check the plan to determine if the required testing information is contained in the plan. If you have questions concerning the documentation, please contact the Coordinator, Accessibility Services for a review/discussion of such information.

Diagnostic Interview

The interview conducted, during the diagnostic evaluation, should focus on the student's developmental and educational history, and include any information relating to persistent educational and/or behavioral issues. Comorbid conditions, existent at the time of evaluation, should be discussed and there should be a statement that indicates whether the learning disability or the comorbid condition is the primary diagnosis. It is important for the evaluator to cite, in the evaluative report, whether or not the student was on medication (citing medications and dosage) at the time of evaluation.

Tests administered and used to document disability/eligibility for services must be normed, standardized and technically appropriate, i.e. statistically reliable and valid, and should be standardized for an adult population. Such tests include:

  • Examples of aptitude tests (tests of cognitive ability, intelligence tests) may include Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales (WAIS-III); Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Cognitive Ability; Stanford Benet Intelligence Test.
  • Examples of academic achievement tests may include Wechsler Individual Achievement Test III (WIAT III), Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement.

If applicable, supplemental tests such as:

  • Nelson-Denny Reading Test
  • Test of Written Language – 4
  • Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests – III
  • Continuous Performance Test – III

Clinical Summary

The clinical summary of each submitted report must integrate the elements of the test battery with educational/developmental background information, observations of the client during assessment, and an explanation of how the student's performance demonstrated a need for accommodation(s) at the post-secondary level.

The summary must present evidence of a substantial limitation to the individual's learning and explain how the individual's pattern of strengths and weaknesses is sufficiently significant to support a diagnosis of a learning disability.

The summary must also demonstrate that the evaluator has ruled out the possibility of alternative explanations, i.e. comorbid conditions, for the learning disability. If emotional, i.e. depression, social factors, anxiety, was believed to have been contributing factors to the test score pattern, those factors must be discussed.