Learning Disability Documentation Requirements

To receive reasonable and appropriate accommodations, students must submit a Request for Accommodations Form and provide current documentation of their disability. The documentation should give information regarding the inception and severity of the disability, and also describe how it interferes with educational achievement. To establish that an individual is covered under ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, documentation must include disability information and details about how the disability significantly limits a major life activity, including learning.

The following documentation requirements are in the interest of providing assurance that the documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and to support requests for accommodations.  Documentation of a learning disability must identify a significant inconsistency between achievement and ability or an intra-cognitive discrepancy not attributable to other disabling conditions or to environmental deprivation. The documentation requires four important components: (1) qualifications of the evaluator; (2) current evaluation information; (3) comprehensive assessment and use of appropriate clinical/diagnostic instruments using adult measures; and (4) evidence to establish a rationale supporting the need for accommodations.

Copies of neuropsychological, psychoeducational and learning disabilities specialist reports, which include all four components, should be submitted to the Student Accessibility Resource Center.

  1. A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation. Diagnostic reports must include the names, titles, license numbers and signatures of the evaluators as well as the date(s) of testing.
  2. Documentation of the disability and the need for accommodations must be recent. Although a learning disability is usually viewed as life-long, the severity and presentation of the condition may change over time and recent evaluation information is crucial in determining accommodations. Testing should be current and conducted using adult scaled measures.  If a student does not have access to adult scaled testing, consideration may be made and temporary (a maximum of one semester) accommodations may be granted.  An update will be required for accommodations to continue beyond the provisional period.  Individuals who submit outdated documentation that does not address the candidate’s most recent level of functioning or the need for accommodation(s) will be required to update the evaluation report.
  3. Assessment must be complete and must include a specific diagnosis. Nonspecific diagnoses, such as individual “learning styles,” “learning differences,” “academic problems,” “slow reader,” etc. in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability. More than one assessment device should be administered for the purpose of diagnosis and actual test scores from standardized test instruments must be provided. Testing must address the following three areas:
    • Aptitude and cognitive functioning:
      A complete intellectual assessment with all subtest and standard scores should be included. Evaluators are encouraged to avoid brief screening types of intelligence tests. Assessment instruments may include but are not limited to:
      • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – III,
      • Stanford-Binet Tests of Intelligence - IV,
      • Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability – III,
      • Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test.
    • Academic Achievement:
      Comprehensive assessment of current levels of academic functioning in reading, mathematics and written language are required. Subtests, standard scores, percentiles and grade equivalent scores should be included. Assessment instruments may include but are not limited to:
      • Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement – III,
      • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test,
      • Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults, Stanford Test of Academic Skills.
    • Information Processing:
      Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short and long-term memory; sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing; processing speed; executive functioning; motor ability) should be assessed. Assessment instruments may include, but are not limited to:
      • Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude - III
      • Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability – III
      If the student’s acquisition of a foreign language is a concern, the assessment process should include the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) or equivalent.
    • Attentional functioning:
      If there is a prior diagnosis of ADD/ADHD or concerns about current attentional functioning, specific assessments aimed at evaluating these concerns should be included.  These measures may include, but are not limited to:
      • Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scales
      • Conners Continuous Performance Test- CPT 3
  4. Each accommodation recommended must include a rationale.

    The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for appropriate accommodation(s) as well as a detailed explanation of why each accommodation is recommended. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of current need, does not necessarily warrant the provision of that accommodation. The recommended accommodations must be supported by specific test results or clinical observations. If an accommodation is not clearly identified in the diagnostic report, further clarification and additional information will be necessary.

    The above conditions are necessary because assessment constitutes the basis for determining reasonable services and accommodations. At times, the Student Accessibility Council also examines diagnostic information when determining the appropriateness of adjustments for a given student. Both the student and the College are well served by an assessment that clearly substantiates the appropriateness of various accommodations for a student’s needs or requests.

This information has been adapted from the Policy Statement of the Educational Testing Service for Documentation of a Learning Disability in Adolescents and Adults which has also been approved by the Association of Higher Education and Disability.