I spoke with my college adviser about being assessed for a possible learning disability, but I have not received a reply. Where can I get information about LD assessment needed to receive services from my college?
Although it seems you made an appropriate request for guidance, an advisor may not have the information you need. You should contact the Disability Services office on campus. Should you have difficulty finding that office, the Dean of Students can give you contact information, location, etc.
Colleges and public schools operate under very different legislation. Public schools, under IDEAA, must provide assessment, appropriate services, and assure success. On the other hand, postsecondary education institutions operate under the Americans with Disabilities Act (as amended) and Section 504 (Subpart E) of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under this legislation, postsecondary institutions must ensure access after a student has been accepted. Students must then provide documentation and must request specific services.
The task for a college services provider is not establishing the existence of a disability, but figuring out what can be provided to give a student appropriate access. For that they need documentation that gives specific information about strengths and needs. Most colleges have a set of guidelines for documentation and maybe even a list of psychologists in the area who provide the needed full psychological assessment. Although some colleges are not requiring real extensive documentation, you may want to get a full assessment to give them the best information on how to work with you.
Once you’ve provided comprehensive information about how you learn, and you have had an opportunity to discuss the report with someone in the Disabilities Office, you will be expected to request specific accommodations, such as extended time on tests or notetakers. If you have given the Disabilities Office appropriate documentation and you have made the request for services, the school must provide reasonable accommodations. The Disability Services office will be able to give you the specifics on which services are reasonable and on how to request those services.
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About the expert:
Arlene C. Stewart, Ed.D.
Dr. Stewart is Director of Student Disability Services at Clemson University, Clemson, SC. She has worked in all levels of education with the majority of her work in the post-secondary area. A frequent presenter at state, regional, and national conferences, she is currently a member of LDAA’s Public Policy Committee and has been a LDA state president.