Students should provide current documentation of their disabilities and support for requested accommodations. Though reporting formats vary, the following information and data are needed:
- a clear statement of the diagnosed disability;
- a complete educational, developmental and medical history relevant to the disability;
- a list of the names and versions of the diagnostic tests administered to determine disability, and an analysis or interpretation of the test results;
- a diagnostic summary with a brief composite of the entire assessment process, a description of the functional limitations, and an indication of how the disability will affect participation in college courses;
- recommended strategies to assist the student with becoming an efficient learner, and recommended accommodations that are appropriate for the disability; and
- the dates of the examination (must be current, with adult-referenced norms), along with the appropriate licensed professional examiner's name, address, telephone number and credentials with the signature of an evaluator qualified to make the diagnosis.
If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability, this office has the discretion to require additional documentation. Documentation is kept in confidential files with consent forms and contact notes. Students are seen by self referral or from referrals by faculty or staff if a learning disability, attention deficit disorder, mobility impairment or other disability is suspected.
Guidelines for Documentation of a Specific Learning Disability will provide exact information as to what is considered appropriate documentation.
Documentation Guidelines for a Specific Learning Disability
Students who are seeking support services at Young Harris College on the basis of a diagnosed specific learning disability (SLD) are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Protection under these civil rights statutes is determined on a case-by-case basis and is based upon documentation of a learning disability that currently and substantially limits some major life activities, including learning.
The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and to support requests for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids. The Director is available to consult with diagnosticians regarding any of these guidelines.
- Testing must be comprehensive. It is not acceptable to administer only one test for the purpose of a diagnosis or to establish that substantial limitations in a major life activity exist. Minimally, domains to be addressed must include, but are not limited to:
- *Aptitude is one of the parameters of testing. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—Revised WAIS-R or WAIS III—with subtest scores is the primary and most preferred instrument. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery—Revised Tests of Cognitive Ability or the Fourth Edition of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale are acceptable.
- Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics and written language achievement must be submitted. Acceptable instruments include the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery—Revised: Tests of Achievement; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT), Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK), Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA) or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language—3 (TOWL), Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests—Revised, and the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test.
- Information Processing must be assessed. Specific areas include short and long term memory, sequential memory, auditory/visual processing and processing speed. Information subtests on the WAIS—R or WAIS—III, the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability, or the Detroit Tests of Learning aptitude-Adult (DTLA-A), as well as other instruments relevant to presenting learning problems may be used to assess these areas.
- Testing must be current. In most cases, this means testing that has been conducted within the past three years. It is in the student’s best interests to provide recent and appropriate documentation of any specific learning disability.
- There must be clear, specific evidence and identification of a SLD. Individual “learning styles” and “learning differences” in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.
- Actual test scores must be provided. Standard scores are required; percentiles and grade equivalents are not acceptable unless standard scores are also included.
- In addition to actual test scores, interpretation of results is required. Test protocol sheets or scores alone are not sufficient.
- Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of learning disabilities must be qualified to do so. Trained, certified and/or licensed psychologists, neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, learning disabilities specialists and other professionals with training and experience relevant to adults and their evaluation are typically involved in the process of assessment.
- Tests used to document eligibility must be technically sound, i.e., statistically reliable and valid and standardized for used with an adult population.
- Diagnostic reports must include the names, titles and professional credentials, e.g., licensed psychologist, of the evaluators as well as the date(s) of testing.
- A written summary of background information about the student’s relevant educational, medical and family histories that relate to the learning disability must be included.
- Any recommendation for an accommodation should be based on objective evidence of a substantial limitation to learning supported by specific test results or clinical observations. Reports should establish the rational for any accommodation that is recommended, using test data to document the need.
- A description of any accommodation and/or auxiliary aid that has been used at the secondary or postsecondary level should be discussed. Include information about the specific conditions under which the accommodation was used, e.g., standardized testing, final exams, and whether or not it benefited the student.
- Individual Education Programs (IEP’s) are useful, but are not, in and of themselves, sufficient documentation to establish the rationale for accommodations.