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Guidelines for Documentation for Specific Learning Disability

The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and support for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids on the basis of a learning disability.

There must be clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability. Individual “learning styles” and “learning differences” in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.

This is not intended as an exhaustive list or to restrict assessment in other pertinent and helpful areas such as vocational interests and aptitudes.

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 not be limited to):

  • Aptitude: The Weschsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Revised (WAIS-R) with subtest scores is the preferred instrument. The Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability or the Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale (Fourth Edition) are 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; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT); Stanford Tests of Academic Skills; Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults; or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language-2 (TOWL-2), Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests-Revised, or the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test. The Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised (WRAT-R) is NOT a comprehensive measure of achievement and is therefore not suitable.
  • Information Processing: Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short term and long term memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual perception/processing; processing speed) must be assessed. Information form subtests of the WAIS-R or the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability as well as other instruments relevant to the presenting learning problem(s) may be used to address these areas.

Testing must be current:
In most cases, this means testing has been conducted within the past 2 years prior to seeking accommodation at Brandon University. Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based on assessment of the current impact of the student’s disabilities on his/her academic performance, it is in a students’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation.

Actual test scores on standardized tests must be provided:
Tests used to document a learning disability must be technically sound (i.e. statistically reliable and valid) and standardize for use with an adult population. Standard scores and/or percentile scores are acceptable; grade equivalents are not acceptable unless standard scores and/or percentile scores are also included.

Professionals conducting assessments and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities must be qualified to do so :
Trained and certified and/or licensed psychologists, learning disabilities specialists, and educational therapists are typically trained involved in the process of assessment. Evidence of working with an adult population is essential. Diagnostic reports must include names, titles, and professional credentials (eg., licensed psychologist) of the evaluators as well as the date(s) of testing. all reports must be typed.

A written summary of the student’s educational, medical, and family histories that relates to learning disabilities should be included.

A description of any accommodation and auxiliary aid that has been used at the secondary or postsecondary level must be discussed. Include information about specific conditions under which the accommodation was used and whether or not it benefited the student. If no accommodations have been previously provided, a detailed explanation as to why none has been used and the rationale for the student’s currently needing accommodation(s) must be provided.

ALL DOCUMENTATION IS CONFIDENTIAL

Documentation Guidelines for Students with Specific Disabilities

Documentation supporting the need for accommodation of permanent disabilities must be current (within the last three years)

Students with a Visual Impairment

Appropriate Professional: Ophthalmologist

Documentation should include:

  1. the amount of residual vision present (e.g., visual acuity, colour vision deficits) and whether the disability is stable, progressive, or fluctuating
  2. The impact of the impairment on the student’s functioning in a university environment (e.g., the need for large print or special lighting)

Students with a Hearing Impairment

Appropriate Professional: Certified Audiologist

Documentation should include:

  1. an audiograma
  2. statement of the amount of hearing loss (e.g., hearing acuity) and whether the disability is stable, progressive or fluctuatinga
  3. statement of the impact of the impairment on the student’s functioning in a university environment (e.g., the need for assistive listening devices)

Students with a Chronic Physical Health disability (not including a visual or auditory impairment)

Appropriate Professional: Physician

Documentation should include:

  1. a clear statement of the diagnosis and a summary of present symptoms
  2. a statement indicating whether the disability is permanent/on-going or if the disability needs to be reassessed periodically (specify time period if possible)
  3. medical information relating to the effect of the disability on the student’s ability to meet the demands of a university environment (including the impact of medication or other treatment on performance)

Students with a Temporary Physical Health Disability

Appropriate Professional: Physician

Documentation should include:

  1. a clear statement of the diagnosis and a summary of present symptoms
  2. a statement specifying the time period of the temporary illness or disability
  3. medical information relating to the effect of the disability on the student’s ability to meet the demands of a university environment (including the impact of medication or other treatment on performance)

Students with a Mental Disability

Appropriate Professional: Registered Psychologist with clinical designation, Psychiatrist, Physician

Documentation should include:

  1. a clear statement of the disability, along with the DSM-IV diagnosis and summary of present symptoms
  2. plans for ongoing support and monitoring
  3. medical information relating to the effect of the disability on the student’s ability to meet the demands of a university environment (including the impact of medication or other treatment on performance)

Students with a Neurological Disability

Appropriate Professional: Neuropsychologist, Registered Psychologist with clinical designation, Psychiatrist, and Physician

Documentation should include:

  1. a clear statement of the disability, along with the DSM-IV diagnosis (if applicable) and summary of present symptoms
  2. plans for ongoing support and monitoring
  3. medical information relating to the effect of the disability on the student’s ability to meet the demands of a university environment (including the impact of medication or other treatment on performance)a psycho
  4. educational assessment may also be required

Students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Appropriate Professional: Registered Psychologist with clinical designation, Psychiatrist, and Physician with specialized training in learning disorders

Documentation should include:

  1. a clear statement of the disability, along with the DSM-IV diagnosis and summary of present symptoms
  2. medical information relating to the effect of the disability on the students’s ability to meet the demands of a university environment (including the impact of medication or other treatment on performance)
  3. if a learning disability or other disability is co-existing, and the student wishes accommodations for these disabilities, then the criteria for documentation of the additional disabilities must also be met

Students with Learning Disability

Documentation of the need for accommodations must be current (within the last two years). This condition is necessary because assessment constitutes the basis for determining reasonable services and accommodations.

Appropriate Professional: Registered Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist.

Please Note: Certified School Psychologists conducting LD assessments outside of their employment role/situation (e.g., private practice) will not be recognized as having met criteria for qualified assessors.

Documentation should include:

  1. the name and credentials of the evaluator as well as the date(s) of testing
  2. a clear statement that a learning disability/disorder is present (according to DSM-IV criteria) along with the rationale for the diagnosis based on a discrepancy model (Individual “learning deficits”, “learning difficulties”, “learning styles” do not, in and of themselves, constitute a learning disability. A learning disability assessment must identify a discrepancy of 2 standard deviations between academic and achievement and Full Scale IQ, or a smaller discrepancy between achievement and Full Scale IQ in cases where an individual’s performance may have been compromised by an associated disorder in cognitive processing, a co-morbid mental disorder or general medical condition.)
  3. evidence of comprehensive testing (with age appropriate norms) and all test scores (addressing the following domains: intellectual potential as measured by a cognitive battery; receptive language – reading, listening; expressive conceptualizing, integration; mathematical computation; information processing – short-term and sequential memory, attention, visual and auditory processing, fine-motor and gross-motor functioning; test behavior and learning styles). Test scores should be reported as standard scores or percentiles; grade equivalents are not acceptable.
  4. a comprehensive diagnostic interview that includes academic, developmental, family, and psychosocial history
  5. a statement of the strengths and weaknesses that will affect the student’s ability to meet the demands of a university education