Learning Disabilities and AD/HD
The purpose of the LD and AD/HD SIG is to collaboratively address the current and salient issues of students with learning disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) in the postsecondary setting and the professionals who work with them. Contact: Carole Burrowbridge (co-chair) email@example.com or Stacey C. Lee (co-chair) from the University of Northern Alabama at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SIG gets frequent questions on documentation processes and has compiled these observations from a variety of sources to assist you in developing your approach.
Recent OCR and DOJ Recommendations on Documentation
- Documentation requirements must not be overly burdensome.
- Expensive diagnostic retesting should not be required if there is an extensive history of previous accommodation in K-12 or postsecondary educational settings or on standardized tests.
- Documentation to substantiate disability status should be minimal.
- If a student requests additional accommodations, more documentation may be necessary to evaluate the new requests.
- Documentation must provide enough information and a rationale to support the requested accommodation(s).
- Psychological evaluations completed after age 13 should be accepted.
- Documentation for ADD/ADHD after age 13 should not require testing to rule out an SLD
- Testing entities should defer to documentation from a qualified professional who has made an individualized assessment of the candidate that supports the need for the requested testing accommodations.
- To determine a need for accommodation, student characteristics should be compared to "the typical person" rather than "the average person."
http://www.ada.gov/lsac_best_practices_report.docx Forsyth Technical Community College, OCR Letter of Findings 10/9/2014
What would this look like with respect to ADD/ADHD and SLD?
- If the student has a significant history of accommodation and is requesting similar accommodations, accept minimal documentation such as proof of accommodations from a prior school or on a high stakes test or from the prescribing physician. A letter of diagnosis may not be sufficient
- If the student does not have a documented history of using testing accommodations or is requesting new or extensive accommodations, a psychological evaluation completed after age 13 may be required, depending on the accommodations being requested. Assessing the reasonableness of extended time accommodations will be informed by academic fluency and processing speed measures; measures of auditory memory and processing speed will help in accessing requests for notetakers; information on written language impairment and visual/motor integration will support use of a computer for essay exams; etc.
- Aptitude/cognitive testing, such as the WAIS, is expensive and may not be necessary because current guidance (IDEA 2004 and DSMS 2013) does not require average intelligence of an aptitude/achievement discrepancy.
- For students with ADD/ADHD and SLDs, only testing or assessment that identified functional limitations, such as cognitive processing tests and achievement tests, may be necessary.
- Give great weight to the clinical judgment and accommodation recommendations of the professional diagnostician.
- You may not need to require comprehensive testing to rule-out learning disabilities for ADD/ADHD.
Links to Resources
Subscribe to AHEAD's Learning Disability Listserv. Please note that this listserv is reserved for AHEAD members only.