In order to fully evaluate your request for accommodations or auxiliary aids, the Support Services Coordinator will need appropriate documentation from you, prepared by an appropriate professional.
It must describe your disability in detail and its current impact upon the academic environment. The information must support the accommodations you have requested.
If the documentation supports the request for accommodations, a list of reasonable accommodations will be generated and reviewed based on potential effectiveness, your preferences, and the potential for undue financial or administrative burden on the part of the College.
Accommodations will not include those which would result in a fundamental alteration of the education program or academic requirements deemed essential to a course, program of study, or those required for professional licensing or certification requirements. This may include attendance if class participation is an essential part of learning for the course.
In order to determine appropriate accommodations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Amendments Act of 2008, Lynchburg College has established criteria for the evaluation of documentation of learning disabilities. The information provided by you in the documentation will be used to support your requests for classroom accommodations.
About Learning Disabilities
Individuals with learning disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and equal access based upon appropriate documentation.
Lynchburg College has adopted the following definition prepared by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) and adopted by AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disabilities):
Learning disabilities is a general term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual, presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction, and may occur across the life span. Problems with self-regulatory behaviors, social perception, and social interaction may exist with learning disabilities but do not by themselves constitute a learning disability. Although learning disabilities may occur concomitantly with other handicapping conditions, for example sensory impairment, mental retardation, serious emotional disturbance, or with other extrinsic influences (such as cultural differences, insufficient or inappropriate instruction), they are not the result of those conditions or influences. (NJCLD, 1991)
Diagnostic information is examined when determining the appropriateness of academic accommodations and adjustments. Both the College and you are well-served by assessment that clearly substantiates the appropriateness of various responses to your needs or requests.
The College reserves the right to request additional documentation if the request for accommodations is not supported by the documentation provided.
- Documentation must be current.
- Testing must be age-appropriate.
- The documentation must support appropriate accommodations and be applicable to the current or anticipated setting.
- Background information is important.
An evaluation report should include a comprehensive background diagnostic interview by a qualified evaluator who addresses relevant background information supported by diagnosis. Such information should include a description of the presenting learning problems, as well as pertinent information regarding the following:
- Developmental history
- Family history
- Medical history
- Academic history
- Psycho-social history
- The report must include a specific diagnosis of learning disabilities.
Individual "learning styles," "learning differences," and "academic problems" in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability. Nor are statements such as: "Appears to have a learning style similar to a person with a learning disability" useful in this context. The nature and severity of the functional limitations must be supported by test data, academic history, anecdotal, and clinical observations that may include your level of motivation, study skills, and other non-cognitive factors. These findings must support the fact that your functional limitations are due to the stated disabilities and are not attributable to other conditions.
- A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation.
Professionals conducting and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities must be qualified to do so. Experience working with adult populations is essential.
The name, title, date(s) of testing and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification, area of specialization, employment, and state in which the individual practices should be clearly stated.
For example, the following professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities provided they have the proper training: clinical or educational psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, and some medical doctors.
- Tests used to determine eligibility must be technically sound and actual scores must be provided.
The tests used must be reliable, valid, and standardized for use with a high school or adult population. The test findings should document both the nature and severity of the learning disabilities. Standard scores must be provided for all normed measures. Percentiles are also acceptable. Grade equivalents are not acceptable unless standard scores and/or percentiles are also included. The assessments must show discrepancies and individual differences.
Some examples of acceptable tests include:
- Aptitude - the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Revised (WAIS-R), the Woodcock Johnson Psycho-educational Battery Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability, and the Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale.
- Intelligence - A complete achievement battery is required with all subtests and standard scores. Acceptable instruments include Woodcock Johnson Psycho-educational Revised: Tests of Achievement, Weschler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT), Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK), Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA and specific achievement tests such as Test of Written Language - (TOWL-2), Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests Revised, or the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test.
- Information Processing - Acceptable instruments include the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude, the WAIS-R subtests, and the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability.
- Recommendations for accommodations must include a rationale.
The diagnostic report can include specific recommendations for accommodations and relevant comments regarding curriculum, as well as testing considerations. A detailed explanation must be provided as to why each accommodation is recommended and should be correlated to specific test results or clinical observations.
School plans, such as an IEP or 504 Plan, can be included (although not sufficient in and of themselves) as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of current need, does not in itself warrant the provision of like accommodation.
While suggestions for accommodations and service will be considered, appropriate services and/or accommodations will be determined by the Support Services Coordinator based upon the specific diagnoses and supportive information provided.
Documentation Requirements for Most Other Disabilities
If a complete file is not available, the following information must be submitted on the provider's letterhead. Not all questions may be appropriate for you.
- Student Name.
- Social Security Number.
- Date of Birth.
- Date of most recent evaluation.
- DSM Diagnosis with Criteria.
- Level of severity (mild, moderate, severe).
- Is the impairment stabilized or does it fluctuate?
- Describe the functional nature of this impairment.
- Does the student use assistive or corrective devices (i.e., mobility or sensory)?
- Does the student have other accompanying impairments?
- Are there communication differences?
- Describe current medication and possible side effects.
- Describe the student's functional limitations in an educational setting.
- What are your recommendations regarding academic accommodations?
- Name, signature, title of professional providing report, and date.