58th Annual international conference / february 18-21, 2021 / we are going virtual!

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What accommodations can I put in my 504 for dysgraphia especially in regard to ACT/SAT?

Common accommodations for dygraphia include access to a keyboard for writing, dictating to a scribe, or using a speech-to- text program that allow you to speak into a microphone on your computer and the computer will type what you speak. The ACT has previously approved the use of speech-to- text during testing, but the more common request is to ask for a scribe or keyboard access.

Can a learning disability be diagnosed with help of MRI, CT scan and EEG by a neurologist?

No. However, some tests such as an MRI or CT scan may be helpful in diagnosing a traumatic brain injury or other neurological damage that may be at least part of the cause for a learning disability. Some researchers are exploring the possibility of using those types of tests as part of a learning disability diagnosis, but at this time, a learning disability can only be diagnosed with psychological testing, administered by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

I am currently attending a four-year college I have always felt as though I have trouble focusing and paying attention. What type of doctor will diagnosis my condition and what do I ask when I call them?

The first step would be to contact your family doctor and report your problems with focusing and paying attention. It may be that you have some level of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which can range from mild to severe. Most general practitioners can diagnose ADHD, and it’s usually the most inexpensive way to go.

There is an adult screening tool for ADHD developed by the World Health Organization here. You may want to print the document, fill it out, and see if it indicates a likelihood that you may have ADHD. If so, it would be helpful if you could take it with you when you visit your doctor.

A good resource for learning more about ADHD is www.chadd.org.

Does someone with a documented learning disability need to be retested at any point in order for that diagnosis to be considered current/relevant?

Learning disability documentation is considered current if the testing was completed within the last five (5) years. Sometimes that 5-year limit can be waived, but it depends on the age of the person, how long it has been since testing, any major life changes since the time of testing, and the reason for submitting the documentation. Once the documentation has passed the 5-year mark, it is generally up to the reviewing school or organization to determine whether or not the report should be updated.

Does a learning disability diagnostic report need to be specific about the types of learning disabilities one has?

Yes. Learning disability evaluations should include a list of all diagnosed disabilities. If the evaluations were completed within a school district, the specific educational diagnoses will be listed. If completed by someone outside of the school district, the report will include the corresponding Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) Axis Codes. However, some evaluations conclude that the person has LD-NOS (Learning Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified). The LD-NOS category is a broad, catch-all category for people with notable learning difficulties that affect education and/or work, but do not fit the criteria for some other category.

If I had an IEP in high school, can I use that to get services in college?

An IEP alone is not enough to get services in college. If a psychoeducational evaluation is included with it, then more than likely services can be obtained with that. Learning disabilities evaluations, including IEPs, should be valid for at least three (3) years, so if your last evaluation for your IEP was within the last three years, it should be fine. Sometimes colleges will waive the 3-year rule if the testing was last done in your later high school years. It’s always worth asking! If, however, your last evaluation was in middle school or junior high, you will probably need to obtain an updated evaluation to request accommodations in college or at work. Also worth noting is that some testing entities, such as those for high school equivalency exams, will accept learning disability evaluations that were completed within the last five (5) years.

How often do you need to be re-tested for learning disabilities?

You don’t have to be retested unless you need documentation for specific accommodations.  If that is the case, there may be different criteria for how current the documentation is depending on who you are requesting the accommodations from.

High-stakes testing agencies usually require LD documentation to be current within the past 5 years.  Many employers may not be concerned about how current the documentation is.  Large companies would probably adhere to the 5-year rule; small companies may not.