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Learning Disabilities (L.D.)

Students seeking support services at postsecondary institutions in the state of Washington on the basis of a learning disability may be required to submit documentation verifying eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information shall be kept in a separate file in the appropriate office as designated by each institution. Documentation of learning disability consists of the provision of professional testing and evaluation with test report, which reflects the individual's present (adult) level of information processing, as well as present (adult) achievement level. The cost and responsibility for providing this professional assessment shall be borne by the student.

The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that evaluation reports are appropriate to document eligibility.

The documentation should:

  1. Be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose learning disability. This might include, but not be limited to: a licensed neuropsychologist, psychologist or school psychologist.
  2. Be comprehensive. One test alone is not acceptable for the purpose of diagnosis. The test report shall include notation from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Ed. (DSM-IV), or subsequent edition, based on intake interview and testing results. Minimally, areas to be addressed should include, but not be limited to:

    a. Aptitude. Testing should have been administered at the adult-learning level. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Revised (WAIS-R) with subtest scores is preferred. In lieu of a WAIS-R (or subsequent WAIS), two Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-III (WISC-III) tests correlated within 15 IQ points of each other may be acceptable.

    b. Achievement. Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics and written language are required. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery, Revised is preferred. The Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-R and WRAT-III) is not a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore is not appropriate for documentation purposes.

    c. Information Processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short and long-term memory; auditory and visual perception and processing) should be assessed.

  3. Be current. Testing should have been administered at the adult learning level. 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 the basis for decision making about a student's needs for accommodation in an academically competitive environment.
  4. Present clear and specific evidence, which identifies a specific learning disability and reflects the individual's present (adult) level of functioning. That is, processing and intelligence, as well as achievement in written expression, writing mechanics and vocabulary, grammar and spelling, and reading comprehension and rate. (Individual "learning styles" or "learning differences" in-and-of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.)
  5. Include in the report the exact instruments used and procedures followed to assess the learning disability. Report shall include: test results (including subtest score data); a written interpretation of the results by the professional doing the evaluation; the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator; and date(s) of testing.
  6. Provide sufficient data to support the request for the particular academic adjustment. Requests which are not supported by documentation may not be provided without additional adequate verification.

With supporting documentation, suggestions regarding academic adjustments and auxiliary aids may be included; however, the final determination rests with the postsecondary institution.