Specific Learning Disability

Professionals conducting assessments and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities must be qualified. A qualified professional needs to hold a degree in a field related to diagnosis of specific learning disability and have at least one year of diagnostic experience with adults and late adolescents. Recommended practitioners may include certified and/or licensed psychologists, learning disabilities specialists, educational therapists, diagnosticians in public schools or colleges and rehabilitation services, and private practitioners with the above characteristics. The diagnostician should be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student.

Documentation serves as the foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Documentation for eligibility should be current, preferably within the last three years (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student, and the student's specific request for accommodations). The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations.

Recommended documentation includes:

  1. Testing that is comprehensive, including a measure of both aptitude and achievement in the areas of reading, mathematics, and written language;
  2. A clear statement that a specific learning disability is present and the rationale for this diagnosis. (Note: "learning deficits," "learning styles," and "learning differences" do not, in and of themselves, constitute a learning disability.) In clear, direct language, the report must identify the substantial limitation of a major life activity presented by the learning disability;
  3. A narrative summary, including all scores, that supports the diagnosis;
  4. A statement of strengths and needs that will impact the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment;
  5. Suggestions of reasonable accommodations that might be appropriate at the postsecondary level. These recommendations should be based on significant functional limitations and should be supported by the diagnosis.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting ADHD or other disabling conditions are indicated. Appropriate accommodations are collaboratively determined by the student and the Office of Accessibility Services of Adams State University.