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My daughter has been in Special Education since elementary school but her high school would not agree to update her testing before graduation. Should her documentation be recent to get disability accommodations or services in college?

You ask an excellent question about the need for ‘recent’ disability documentation. Each college or university develops their own policy for reviewing student documentation, determining barriers to education, and providing needed accommodations. When looking at schools for your daughter, read through the documentation policy for each disability office. Ask questions about what type of evaluation material is needed and how current it must be to access accommodations at their institution. Schools can vary greatly in what they require to determine accommodations for students with disabilities. The Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) is another excellent resource for information about disability services in the post-secondary setting. AHEAD provides the following explanation on their website about current, relevant and recent documentation:

 

“Disability documentation should be current and relevant but not necessarily “recent”. Disabilities are typically stable lifelong conditions. Therefore, historic information, supplemented by interview of self-report, is often sufficient to describe how the condition impacts the student at the current time and in the current circumstances. Institutions should not establish blanket statements that limit the age of acceptable external documentation”. (www.ahead.org)

Can I receive accommodations through the Division of Motor Vehicle to take a drivers license test? If so, what types of accommodations are offered?

Unfortunately, every state seems to handle disability accommodations differently. Some have policies mandating accommodations; others do not. The only thing you can do is contact your DMV (or whoever does the testing in your state) and ask them what accommodations you would be eligible for based on your disability diagnosis and documentation. Typical testing accommodations for paper-based or computer-based tests include:

  • Access to auditory format, either text-to- speech software or a reader;
  • Extra time to complete the test;
  • Private, distraction-free room for testing;
  • A scribe (someone to write or keyboard for you);
  • Calculator for math problems; and
  • Breaks, if needed.

You may also request other accommodations if needed and if your disability documentation supports the need.

What is the difference between auditory processing disorder and ADHD?

An auditory processing disorder is a condition that adversely affects how sound that travels unimpeded through the ear is processed and interpreted by the brain. For more information, see https://ldaamerica.org/types-of- learning-disabilities/auditory- processing-disorder/

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder that is influenced by environmental factors. Typically, people with AD/HD have developmentally inappropriate behavior, including poor attention skills, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. For diagnosis, the behaviors must be out of the normal range for the person’s age and development. According to the DSM-5, characteristics include:

  • Starts in early childhood, usually before age 12.
  • Behaviors are chronic.
  • Behaviors last at least 6 months.

For more information about AD/HD, go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of- learning-disabilities/adhd/.

I have learning disability. Is there a higher chance for my kids to have them also? And if so what age should I get them tested?

Yes, there is a higher chance that your children may have learning disabilities. According to The Neurobiology of Reading and Dyslexia, by Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., and Bennet A. Shaywitz, M.D.), 27%-49% of children with dyslexia have one or more parents who also have dyslexia.

LDA supports the idea that, “It is never too early to seek help for your child, but waiting too long could be very harmful.” For further information about characteristics to watch for at different ages, click here.

Are there common learning disabilities among adult GED® students?

Many students working towards a high school equivalency diploma, including students in GED® adult education programs, may have learning disabilities, although many of those students have never been diagnosed. According to The Neurobiology of Reading and Dyslexia, by Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., and Bennet A. Shaywitz, M.D., approximately 85% of people with learning disabilities have some type of reading disability. That percentage applies to all people with learning disabilities, whether or not they are enrolled in a GED®, HiSET®, or TASC™ adult education program.

So while students with learning disabilities include students with various types of learning disabilities, the most common learning disability is a reading disability.

Can I get SSI benefits for having ADHD and a learning disability?

The article on the LDA website Learning Disabilities and Social Security Disability Benefits helps to explain the qualifiers. Specifically it says…  To qualify for disability benefits from the SSA, you will have to prove that you are disabled according to their criteria. That usually means proving that you have a condition that is either listed in the Blue Book and meets the SSA’s Blue Book criteria or that you have a condition that is equal to a section in the Blue Book..  There is a section that provides an example of a diagnosis of ADHD as an adult. It says…You could receive benefits with ADHD as an adult, if you’re able to prove that you have had ADHD since childhood, and ADHD has impaired your ability to complete schoolwork and to be gainfully employed as an adult.

Please refer to the article for more details.  https://ldaamerica.org/learning-disabilities- and-social- security-disability-benefits/

I am confused about the difference between a learning disability and a language disorder?

A learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects information processing. For more information, go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/.

A language disorder is a type of auditory processing disorder that affects how language is processed. It can affect both what you say and/or how you understand what other people say. For more information, go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of- learning-disabilities/language-processing-disorder/.