Learning Disabilities are a group of neurologically based difficulties that negatively impact a student’s ability to demonstrate specific academic skills. In the educational setting, these disabilities may interfere with speaking, listening, reading, writing, spelling, or computation. Such difficulties are not a reflection on a student’s overall intellectual ability. For students requesting services, the Disability Resources for Students (DRS) office requires documentation from a qualified professional that describes the disability and its likely impact on the student’s academic experiences. This documentation serves three purposes:
- To establish that the student can be considered a person with a disability, and therefore eligible for protection against discrimination on the basis of disability.
- To supplement information from the student regarding the impact of the disability.
- To inform the development of reasonable accommodation (auxiliary aids and services) designed to facilitate equal access to University environments on a case-by-case basis.
- The documentation regarding a student’s disability should be from a qualified professional who is licensed and/or otherwise properly credentialed to diagnose or identify learning disabilities.
- The documentation should be dated and signed by the qualified professional. It should include a diagnosis of a learning disability or a clinically significant discrepancy in psychometric test scores, and a description of the current functional impact of the disability. At minimum, this would include psychometric test results from general measures of aptitude and academic achievement. This information, including test scores, can often be found in 504 plans, K-12 Summaries of Performance, and other educational assessments. Additionally, information regarding information processing, memory and a general psychological evaluation can be helpful.
- Psychometric testing should be performed at the adult level, however child level testing performed within 2 years of submission will also be considered.
- DRS welcomes rationale and recommendations for accommodations.
Students can submit a letter from their healthcare provider that includes the information above, or submit the DRS Health Care Provider Form. To download the Healthcare Provider Form and for more instructions on how to submit documentation please visit: http://depts.washington.edu/uwdrs/prospective-students/getting-started/.
What to do if your existing documentation does not meet the above guidelines?
Students are encouraged to submit what they have for review by a DRS counselor. Provisional accommodations may be established, while additional documentation is being obtained. If additional documentation is needed, the DRS counselor can work with the student and diagnostician to clarify what information is needed, and a list of service providers who may be of assistance.
What to do if you do not have documentation?
Students who do not have documentation are encouraged to schedule a meeting with a DRS counselor to learn more about relevant assessments, and where to obtain them. DRS counselors are glad to offer advice on what assessments may be helpful.