The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), revised in 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, offer protections for students with diagnosed disabilities. The ADAAA defines “disability” as (a) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual; (b) a record of such impairment, or (c) being regarded as having such impairment. Under this legislation, students requesting University services for individuals with disabilities are required to submit current and comprehensive documentation of their unique learning disabilities.
In the case of Specific Learning Disabilities, the diagnosis alone is insufficient to support requests for accommodations. “Comprehensive documentation” includes a complete battery of aptitude or intelligence testing (e.g. the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale) and academic achievement testing , which describes current levels of academic functioning in reading, written language, math , academic fluency and other important processes of learning. Some examples of these standardized test batteries are the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test.
Information that is helpful in determining accommodations for students with diagnosed learning disabilities includes:
- Standard scores based on age, not just summaries of evaluator’s impressions (i.e WJ or WIAT Compuscore Report)
- Suggested accommodations that relate directly to the submitted score reports
- History of successful accommodations or learning strategies
- Identification of learning strengths as well as learning challenges.