Specific Learning Disability

Learning disabilities is a generic term that refers to a group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in understanding or use of language. Areas of learning impacted may be the ability to listen, speak, read, write, think, spell, compute mathematically and is considered to be due to underlying deficit(s) in a related cognitive or information processing system. It does not include certain conditions which may occur simultaneously and which may also impede learning (e.g. attention deficit disorder, mental retardation, emotional disturbance or sensory impairment such as vision, hearing or motor skills).

Students who are seeking accommodations from Washtenaw Community College on the basis of a diagnosed specific learning disability are required to submit documentation sufficiently comprehensive to verify eligibility and support requests for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or assistive technology. IEP's and Section 504 plans are helpful but are not, in and of themselves, sufficient documentation to establish the rationale for accommodations. However, this information can be considered as part of a more comprehensive test battery. If you have a diagnosis of a specific learning disability from your high school, please provide a copy of the IEP and/or 504 plan accompanied by the school's testing report (Psychological or Psychoeducational Evaluation).

Reports should include:

  • A diagnostic interview.

  • Testing areas include: a) aptitude (a complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported), b) a comprehensive academic achievement battery with all subtests and standard scores reported for the subtests administered and c) information processing (e.g. short and long term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed, executive functioning and motor ability). The neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation for the diagnosis of a learning disability must provide clear and specific evidence that a learning disability does or does not exist.

  • A clinical summary including ruling out alternative explanations for academic problems as a result of poor education, poor motivation and/or study skills, emotional problems, attention problems and cultural/language differences; indicate how patterns in the student's cognitive ability, achievement and information processing reflect the presence of a learning disability; indicate the substantial limitation to learning or to a major life activity presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested. Indicate why specific accommodations are needed and how the effects of the specific disability are accommodated. The summary should also include any record of prior accommodations or auxiliary aids including any information under which conditions the accommodations were used (e.g. standardized testing, final exams, or licensing exams).

  • Testing should be done by a professional licensed to complete such testing and should be recent enough to reflect the current impact of the disability on the student. It should be geared toward the educational needs of an adult college student.

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