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I received very late diagnoses of a Nonverbal LD and bipolar at ages 17 and 19. Both disorders are well-documented. My therapist of the last few years is a PhD in Ed Psych. She helped me apply and get funding from the DVR, which financed a good deal of college.

This semester I graduate with a BA and 3.7 from one of the best public universities in the country. I would love to be in grad school, with law being one of my first choices. The problem is I’m a bad standardized test-taker, even with accommodations. My Nonverbal LD impacts math and quantitative skills, so the logic games section would not produce good results.

I am troubled that many admissions policies do not allow for detailed consideration of how an LD might affect test results. I’ve read that LSAT scores are the biggest factor. I don’t care about the prestige of the school, just that it’s affordable and ABA-approved. A second plan is to get a PhD in a law-related field. I just think LD students should have a fair chance at law school; a low LSAT shouldn’t be the eliminating factor. I plan to work as a legal assistant for a couple years before applying. Any thoughts would be great. I’m sure many people have the same question. Thanks for your help.

Best wishes,
College Student

Dear College Student:
Your question asks about the difficulty of obtaining accommodations on a graduate exam such as the LSAT for a late diagnosed learning disability. All of the test administration organizations are tightening up on their willingness to grant accommodations to students with learning disabilities, especially those who are late diagnosed. It is important to provide them with as much documentation as possible indicating the following:

  1. Information concerning impairment in relation to the general population as well as in relation to the population that you are competing against;
  2. Information documenting the practical effect of the impairment earlier in your life, even if you were late diagnosed;
  3. Information that you received accommodations in college or elsewhere, even if not earlier in life;
  4. Strong statements from diagnosticians indicating the correlation of the disability to your performance, as well as the correlation of the proposed accommodation to your disability. In other words, unless there is some indication that this specific accommodation that you are seeking actually provides a meaningful support to you in relation to the diagnosed disability, you will also have trouble receiving the accommodations.
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