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Guidelines for Learning Disability Accommodations

Who is Considered a Qualified Student with a Learning Disability?

In order to provide quality services to students with learning disabilities, Texas State University, requires a student provide verification of a learning disability to the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at the time services are requested.  A student who has an existing diagnosis or documentation of a learning disability which has been completed by a certified professional (e.g., psychologist, school psychologist, educational diagnostician) within the last five years may submit this documentation to the ODS for consideration.  In certain cases, updated information may be required.  A student must meet the criteria outlined in this guideline to qualify for services and accommodations at the university.

A student needing documentation of a learning disability can receive a referral from the ODS.  It is the responsibility of the student, not the ODS or the university, to pay for the cost of an evaluation.

Students should keep a copy of any disability documentation provided to the ODS for their own records.  The ODS will maintain a student's file no longer than ten years after graduation or the last semester services are requested.

What is Specific Learning Disorder Criteria?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), the criteria of a Specific Learning Disorder include:

  • Difficulties learning and using academic skills (word reading, understanding word meanings, spelling, written expression, mastering number sense and calculation, and/or mathematical reasoning)
  • Affected academic skills are substantially below expectations for student's chronological age and impact academic and other activities of daily living
  • Begin during school-age years
  • Ruled out other disabilities/disorders or lack of proficiencies

The Disorder's characteristics may be specified with impairment in reading, impairment in written expression, and impairment in mathematics.  It may also be specified with current severity (mild, moderate, and severe).  Each student with a Specific Learning Disorder has a unique set of traits and characteristics.

Documentation meeting two of the following criteria:

  • Intelligence-Achievement: A full scale, verbal and performance intelligence quotient as measured on an intelligence test, and a standard score on a related achievement test in one or more of the following academic areas; reading, spelling, written expression, mathematics.
  • Verbal-Performance Intelligence Quotients: A verbal and performance intelligence quotient as measured on an intelligence test.
  • Cognitive Processing Abilities: Specific cognitive processing abilities as measured on a standardized test may include:
    • Visual Processing (e.g., visual-perceptual speed, visual spatial abilities, visual-motor integration and visual memory)
    • Auditory Processing (e.g., auditory sequencing ability, auditory discrimination, auditory concentration skills and auditory memory)
    • Verbal Processing (e.g., word retrieval abilities and verbal fluency)
    • Reasoning Ability (e.g., ability to approach problem solving in a logical and sequential manner and ability to shift cognitive strategies as the specific task requires).
  • Documented history of learning difficulties

What Type of Diagnostic Assessment is Required?

A diagnostic evaluation for learning disabilities should include the following types of assessment and testing. Other valid assessments will be considered.

  • Psycho-Educational History - to determine past history of learning difficulties, familial patterns indicative of learning problems
  • Medical History - to determine physical or medical problems which may cause learning problems (e.g., high fever, physical injury, etc.)
  • Intellectual Assessment - recommended tests include: Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV), Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability
  • Achievement - recommended tests include; Woodcock Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery- Revised, Nelson Denny Reading Test, SATA
  • Cognitive Processing Abilities - recommended tests include; Woodcock Johnson Psycho- Educational Battery-Revised (Part 1 - Tests of Cognitive Ability), Weschler Memory Scales- Revised, Benton Visual Retention Test, Berry Visuo-Motor Integration Test, Raven Colored Progressive Matrices, Rex Auditory-Verbal Learning Test, Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test, Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery, Memory-For-Designs Test

How are Accommodations and Support Services Determined?

Within 30 working days of receiving the diagnostic evaluation or report, the ODS will review the need for accommodations and support services based on the individual's disability documentation.  The ODS will notify the student after determining appropriate accommodations in accordance with Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Amendments Act of 2008, and university policy and procedure.