Aerial shot of students

Learning disabilities include a group of disorders characterized by difficulties in listening, reading, speaking, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. In order for it to be considered a disability, the disorder must meet the definitions provided by ADA.  For learning disabilities, the tester providing the assessment must be qualified to do so.  When choosing a diagnostician, please make sure the assessor has experience in the field of adult learning disabilities.  Assessment instruments should be valid and reliable for adult students.  Typically, licensed psychologists or neuropsychologists are involved in the process of assessment.  The Dean of Students' Office and Monsour can also provide recommendations about professionals in the area who are qualified to conduct such assessments.

Testing must be comprehensive.  Domains to be addressed must include:

  1. Aptitude (e.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, III; Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery- Revised)
  2. Achievement (e.g, Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised, test of Achievement; Stanford Test of Academic Skills; Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults; Test of Written Language-2; Woodcock Reading Mastery Test- Revised)
  3. Information Processing (e.g., Short and Long Term Memory; Sequential Memory; Auditory and Visual Perception/Processing; Processing Speed, as assessed by use of the WAIS III or Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability)

Testing must be current.  In most cases, this means within the past three years.  There must be clear and specific evidence of a learning disability. 

The documentation should include information regarding the onset, longevity, and severity of the symptoms, as well as the specifics describing how it has interfered with educational achievement.  Names of the specific tests given and test score/data should be included.  Additionally, reports should include a summary of the student's educational, medical, and family histories that may be relevant to the learning disability.  If possible, reports should include recommendations for accommodations. 

For learning disabilities, possible accommodations include notetakers, proofreaders, alternative exam formats (e.g., extended time, oral rather than written exams), an opportunity for students to petition to substitute course work required for graduation, readers, transcription services, part-time enrollment, priority enrollment and/or registration assistance.