Documentation of a specific learning disability

Students who are seeking support services from Saint Martin's University based on a diagnosed specific learning disability are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of a learning disability consists of the provision of professional testing and evaluation, including a written report, which reflects the individual's present level of information processing as well as his/her achievement level. The cost and responsibility for providing this professional evaluation shall be borne by the student.

The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility. Documentation presented to Disability Support Services will remain in a private confidential file in the Office of Disability Support Services. The Director of Disability Support Services is available to consult with diagnosticians regarding any of these guidelines. The documentation must:

  1. Be prepared by a professional qualified by education and experience to diagnose learning disabilities, which would include but not be limited to ­ a licensed neurophysiologist or psychologist, learning disability specialist or other appropriate professional certified to administer psychological tests identified below. Experience in evaluation of adults with learning disabilities is essential.
  2. Be comprehensive. One test is not acceptable for the purpose of diagnosis. All tests administered must be age appropriate (reflecting adult capabilities), nationally normed, and individually administered.
    1. Aptitude. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R or WAIS III) with subtest score is preferred. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability is acceptable.
    2. Achievement . Current levels of functioning in all areas in which accommodations are requested are required. Acceptable instruments include Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery Revised: Tests of Achievement; Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK); or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language-2 (TOWL-3), Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests Revised, or the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test. (The Wide Range Achievement Test Revised is NOT a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore is not suitable.)
    3. Information processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g. short and long term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed) must be assessed. Use of subtests from the WAIS-R or the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of cognitive ability is acceptable.
  3. Be current. Since assessment constitutes the basis for determining reasonable accommodations, it is in a student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation to serve as a basis for decision-making about a student's needs for accommodations in an academically competitive environment. 'Current' documentation of the requested accommodation(s) typically refers to an assessment completed within the past three years.
  4. Present clear and specific evidence, which identifies and states specific learning disabilities. Individual "learning styles" and "learning differences" in and of themselves do not specify a learning disability.
  5. Include in the report the exact instruments used, any exceptions to standardized procedures, test score data in percentiles or standard scores, a written interpretation of the results by the professional doing the evaluation, the name of the evaluator and dates of testing. Assessment in other pertinent areas such as vocational interest, aptitudes and learning strengths would be helpful.
  6. Recommendation for academic accommodations, must be presented with supporting data from the assessment, and specifically to the individual assessed. The director of Disability Support Services may ask for additional verification and documentation, if requests are not supported by documentation. The university may request the student to seek a second opinion, a re-evaluation, or both, from a psychologist, neurophysiologist, or LD specialist.

Students should contact the Office of Disability Support Services with any questions or concerns regarding documentation of specific learning disabilities. Documentation presented to Disability Support Services will remain in a private, confidential file in the office.