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Guidelines For Documentation Of A Specific Learning Disability
In order to verify eligibility for services, students with learning disabilities are asked to submit documentation that supports the presence of a learning disability as well as the need for accommodations such as a psycho-educational evaluation. The following guidelines are appropriate to document eligibility and determine reasonable accommodations. 1
- Testing must be comprehensive. It is not acceptable to administer only one test for the purpose of diagnosis. Minimally, domains to be addressed must include (but are not limited to):
- Aptitude The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) with subtest scores is the preferred instrument. The Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised: Test of Cognitive Ability, or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fifth Edition is acceptable.
- Achievement Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics, and written language are required. Acceptable instruments include the Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised: Tests of Achievement; Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK); Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults; specific or achievement tests such as the TEST of Written Language-2 (TOWL), Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised, or the STANFORD Diagnostic Mathematics Test. The Wide Range Achievement TEST_Revised (WRAT_R) is not a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore is not suitable.
- Information Processing Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short and long-term memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual perception/processing; processing speed) must be assessed. Use of subtests from the WAIS-R or the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability is acceptable. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list or to restrict assessment in other pertinent and helpful areas such as vocational interest and aptitudes.
The evaluator should describe the impact the diagnosed learning disability has on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual. A detailed explanation must be provided as to why each accommodation is recommended and should be correlated with specific test results or clinical observations. The document should include any record of prior accommodations and whether or not they benefited the student. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of a current need, does not in itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation. If no prior accommodation had been provided, an explanation is necessary as to why an accommodation is needed at this time. When accommodations are warranted, the determination for accommodation rests with the designated campus disability counselor.
1Adapted from McGuire, J.M., P.L. Anderson, & S.F. Shaw, (1992). The University of Connecticut Guidelines for Documentation of a Specific Learning Disability. Storrs: A.J. Pappanikou Center on Special Education and Rehabilitation.