Learning Disabilities & ADD/ADHD

LD/ADD/ADHD Program

UNT takes great pride in our reputation for serving students with Learning Disabilities. Through a comprehensive approach involving the ODA, The Learning Center and Discovery Trio Program, plus coordination with faculty and staff, services are designed to help you overcome frustrations created by your LD/ADD/ADHD with a focus on independence and autonomy. Once you have applied for services and provided documentation from an appropriate professional, you will then meet with the ODA to determine what reasonable accommodation strategies are best for you.

Reasonable Accommodations

Services for LD and ADD/ADHD are based upon the specific functional limitations described in your documentation. Reasonable accommodations are individualized and unique to each student. In other words, not all services will be the same for every student diagnosed with an LD or ADD/ADHD. However, our most common modifications for these disabilities are; extended time for in-class assignments, testing in a distraction reduced environment, volunteer note takers and use of assistive technology.

Documentation Requirements for ADD/ADHD

For ADD/ADHD have a qualified professional complete the Psychological Disability Documentation Form, or the general ODA documentation requirements can be documented in a formal letter by a medical doctor, psychologist or other appropriate professional as described in ODA Documentation Requirements.  It is strongly recommended that you view the form after having it completed by your professional to be certain that it is completed fully, accurately, and signed.  Incomplete forms may delay your eligibility for services.  Lastly, you should personally submit the document to the ODA.

Documentation Requirements for Other Learning Disabilities (Dyslexia, Reading, Writing and Math Disorders)

The requirements necessary to diagnose other learning disabilities (non-ADD/ADHD related) are much more complex, therefore there is no ODA documentation form for these types of disabilities.  Instead, a comprehensive psychological, neuropsych, psychoeducational, diagnostician report, or comprehensive high school evaluation records must be provided that meet the following requirements:

  1. Professionals conducting this evaluation must be qualified to conduct an assessment, render a diagnosis of a specific learning disability and make recommendations for reasonable accommodations for adolescents and/or adults. The name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator (including information about license and/or certification) should be included on the report. Examples of professionals considered to be qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities might include clinical or educational psychologists, school psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disability specialists with training and experience in the assessment of learning problems in adolescents and adults. Note: It is not appropriate for professionals to evaluate members of their own families.
  2. Although a person diagnosed as having a qualified learning disability is normally viewed as life-long, the severity of the condition may change over time. Because reasonable accommodations and services are based upon assessment of the current impact of the individual's disabilities on his/her academic performance, recent and appropriate documentation should be submitted. For the most part, comprehensive testing should be conducted within the past five years, however we will consider older documenation provided it meets all requirements.
  3. A high school plan such as an individualized education program (IEP) or a 504 plan is usually insufficient documentation in and of itself. However, sometimes this type of documentation in addition to a current comprehensive assessment is useful in determining appropriate services.  If a student only has high school records, we still encourage submittal of whatever is available.  The student may qualify for temporary adjustments for one semester while pursuing more substantial documentation.
  4. Actual test scores must logically reflect a substantial limitation to learning for which the individual is requesting the services. Documentation should indicate a significant discrepancy calculation (based on industry standards) relative to expectancy:
    1. Expectancy is defined as a standard score (or intelligence quotient) obtained on an intelligence test. In cases where a significant difference is calculated between verbal and performance scores, the verbal, performance, or full-scale score (whichever best represents the individual's intelligence level, as documented) may be used.
    2. Significant discrepancy is defined as a negative difference of more than 15 standard score points between the standard score on the intelligence test and the standard score obtained in an academic area, as well as in a specific area of processing ability. This discrepancy in scores must be documented in terms reported in the technical manual for the individual test instrument. Evidence of a significant academic deficiency relative to expectancy, as well a significant discrepancy in at least one area of cognitive processing must be present. Based on expectancy, a statistically significant discrepancy of at least one standard deviation shall be calculated in one or more of the following academic areas, as measured by standardized tests:
      1. Reading/reading comprehension
      2. Written expression
      3. Mathematics (calculation and/or apply problems). In addition to the discrepancy measured between expectancy in at least one academic area, a discrepancy must also be found in at least one area of specific processing ability. These abilities as measured by standardized tests include:
        1. Visual processing (e.g., visual-perceptual speed, visual-spatial abilities, visual-motor).
        2. Auditory processing (e.g., auditory sequencing ability, auditory discrimination, auditory concentration skills and auditory memory).
        3. Verbal processing (e.g., word retrieval abilities and verbal fluency).
        4. 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).
  5. The Written Report A comprehensive report should include the following:
    1. Diagnostic Interview; This should include (but is not limited to) relevant historical information regarding the individual's academic history and learning processes in elementary, secondary and postsecondary education. Also, the report should include information summarizing previous testing completed by other clinicians. A combination of individual self-report, interviews with others, historical documentation (e.g. transcripts, standardized testing, etc.) is recommended. Also, information should be provided summarizing any developmental history and current or relevant medical history and This information must exclude the following as the primary handicapping condition:
      1. Individual is mentally challenged according to DSM-IV standards
      2. Visually impaired
      3. Deaf or hard of hearing
      4. Physically impaired
      5. Emotionally disordered
      6. Poor educational background or lack of opportunity to learn
      7. Cultural differences or lack of experience with the English language
    2. Measurement of academic achievement: A standard score for the basic achievement areas of reading (word recognition, vocabulary, comprehension), math (calculation, application), and written language (mechanics, composition) needs to be available. Testing must include at least two achievement test scores in the specific area of the documented disability. NOTE: Raw scores, standard scores and percentile scores are also required for each of assessments completed] In general, most students will have average or above intelligence with a significant deficit in at least one area of information processing (i.e. acquisition, integration, storage, retrieval). There may be a discrepancy between verbal and performance scores on a measure of overall intelligence but this is not always the case. Documentation of a learning disability must be based on the specific criteria outlined above.
    3. Summary of assessment/test results, which includes a clear statement of the presence of a learning disability. Discussion of possible alternative explanations for the results. A statement of functional limitations and suggestions for reasonable accommodations, which must be directly linked to the stated limitation and supported by the test scores.

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Standardized Tests

The following standardized tests are used in the field of learning disabilities and are recommended:

Intellectual

  • Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) (only if supported by a comprehensive IQ test)
  • Leiter International Performance Scale
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale 
  • Test of Non-verbal Intelligence  (only if supported by verbal IQ measure)
  • Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale 
  • Woodcock-Johnson   - Test of Cognitive Abilities

Information Processing

  • Bender-Visual Motor Gestalt
  • Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude - Adult
  • Halsted-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery for Adults
  • Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT)
  • Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale 
  • Weschler Memory Scale
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery - Part I Cognitive Ability

Achievement

  • Nelson-Denny Reading Test
  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
  • Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA)
  • Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK)
  • Test of Adolescent Language
  • Test of Reading Comprehension (TORC)
  • Test of Written Language Revised
  • Test of Written Spelling Revised
  • Weschler Individual Achievement Test
  • Wide Range Achievement Test, (Will only be accepted if supported by other achievement tests in the area that is being measured)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery, Tests of Achievement

Thanks to Dr. Dianne Hengst, University of Texas at San Antonio for contributing to this information.

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Learning Disabilities & ADD/ADHD