Guidelines for Documentation of Learning Disabilities
Please refer to General Guidelines for Disability Documentation in addition to these specific guidelines for learning disabilities. The general guidelines are available at the Disability Services office or online at: http://www.fandm.edu/disabilityservices/documentation-guidelines
The following guidelines describe the necessary components of acceptable documentation for students with learning disabilities (LD). Students are encouraged to provide their clinicians with a copy of these guidelines.
1. Testing must be current: The evaluation must have been completed within the past three years. Although, learning disabilities are generally considered to be lifelong, because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student’s disabilities on his/her academic performance, it is necessary to provide current documentation.
2. Dates: Dates of testing must be included in the report.
3. Testing must be performed by a qualified evaluator who is unrelated to the student by birth or marriage: Testing must be done by clinical or educational psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, or physicians known to specialize in learning disabilities. Information about their professional credentials, including licensing and certification, and their areas of specialization must be clearly listed in the report. The College reserves the right to require that a certified copy of the report be transmitted directly from the evaluator to the College.
4. Relevant Testing:
• Actual scores from all instruments must be provided with standard scores and percentile rank scores.
• The most recent edition of each assessment instrument must be administered.
• The report must indicate the norm-reference group. For example, the report must specifically indicate how the student performs in relationship to the average person in the general population.
The following areas must be addressed using standardized instruments:
Aptitude: The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale IV (WAIS-IV) with subtest scores, the Woodcock-Johnson III Normative Update Tests of Cognitive Ability, and the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale-IV are examples of tests that assess aptitude. Brief versions or screening measures are not comprehensive, including the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test and the Slosson Intelligence Test-Revised, and are not accepted.
Achievement: Assessment of comprehensive academic achievement in the areas of reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics (calculation and problem solving), oral language, and written expression (spelling, punctuation, capitalization, writing samples) is required.
• The Wide Range Achievement Test 4 (WRAT-4) is NOT a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore should not be the only measure of overall achievement utilized.
Cognitive and Information Processing: Specific areas of cognitive and information processing must be assessed. These domains include, but are not limited to:
• Memory (i.e., visual and verbal acquisition, retrieval, retention, and recognition).
• processing speed and cognitive fluency (e.g., timed psychomotor or graphomotor tasks, decision and naming fluency).
• Attention (e.g., visual and auditory spans of attention, scanning tasks, and vigilance assessment, including continuous performance tasks).
• Sensory-perceptual functioning (e.g., high-level visual, auditory, and tactile tasks).
• Executive functioning (e.g., planning, organization, prioritization, sequencing, self-monitoring).
• Motor functioning (e.g., tests of dexterity and handedness).
• Visual acuity and possible need for prescription eye glasses.
Requirements for documenting Reading Disorders: Multiple reading assessments in addition to those included in the above mentioned achievement battery must be provided in order to establish the need for audio/electronic text books as an accommodation or documenting a reading disability.
5. Score Summary: An appendix table must be provided, listing all scores obtained during the course of the evaluation, including scaled and percentile scores, even if the evaluator has reported scores embedded in the report.
6. Diagnosis: A diagnosis as per the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – IV TR / V (DSM-IV-TR / V) is required. Terms such as “learning problems,” “learning differences,” “weaknesses,” etc., are not the equivalent of learning disability.
7. Functional Limitations: Testing must demonstrate that a learning disability currently and substantially limits a major life activity, and indicate how the student’s current participation in courses, programs, services, or any other activity of the College may be affected with or without the use of mitigating measures. Towards this end, a diagnosis of a learning disability may not sufficiently demonstrate a need for the requested accommodations.
Please also note:
• While a student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) may be submitted as evidence of past accommodations, it alone is not sufficient documentation. An IEP is the plan that the student’s high school team developed to promote the student’s academic success.
• For accommodation requests on the basis of Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder, refer to the specific documentation guidelines for this disorder.