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Documenting a Learning Disability

By: Payne and Associates

Deciding to pursue diagnosis and documentation: If you are thinking about pursuing an evaluation in order to diagnosis and document a learning disability, ask yourself these questions…

  • Where am I having difficulty?
  • What is causing the difficulty?
  • Have I had this difficulty before?
  • If so, how did I handle this difficulty then?
  • What might work to ease the difficulty?
  • Can I change or affect this difficulty on my own?
  • Do I need help changing or affecting this difficulty?
  • Where can I get more information to assist me?
  • Will I use selected services?
  • Will I value their suggestions and assistance?
  • What's my first step?

Documenting a learning disability: Once you decide to pursue diagnosis, here are some tips to help you with the process…

  1. Select a qualified professional who has worked with and evaluated adults with possible learning disabilities. Make sure he or she has the qualifications to provide the service. Licensed psychologists, neuropsychologists, school psychologists, and learning disabilities diagnosticians are among those recommended.
  2. Interview the selected professional to determine if he or she will be providing services which meet your needs and requests. Questions might include:
    • How long have you been in practice?
    • Have you tested adults with learning disabilities?
    • How long will the assessment take?
    • What will the assessment cover?
    • Will there be a written and oral report of the assessment?
    • Are you willing to meet with my counselor or advisor to discuss the report?
    • Will our discussion provide useful information as to why I am having school difficulties?
    • Will you give me ideas on how to improve my skills and accommodate the disability?
    • Will the report make recommendations as to where to go for immediate help?
    • What is the cost? What does the cost cover?
    • What are the possibilities and costs for additional consultation?
    • Can insurance cover the costs?
    • Are there other funding sources?
    • Can a payment plan be worked out?
  3. The documentation required by most colleges and universities includes the following:
    • Reliable and acceptable intelligence tests
    • Achievement and academic performance tests
    • Information processing tests
  4. Documentation must be current. Each college or university sets standards and defines "current "differently. Generally speaking, the individual seeking accommodations should have an evaluation that has been done within the past three to five years and reflects adult-based needs.
  5. Documentation must present clear and specific evidence that a learning disability exists. Reports must include instruments used, test score data, written interpretation, the name of the evaluator and the dates of testing.
  6. Documentation should provide a specific listing of recommendations for accommodations and academic adaptations.

Source: Payne & Associates, 205 Lilly Road, N.E., Building B, Suite A, Olympia, WA 98506-5070

Payne & Associates Olympia, Washington