A learning disability (LD) is an invisible disability. It is thought to be neurologically based and continues throughout one's lifespan. It is primarily diagnosed in elementary or middle grades, but may not be diagnosed until high school or college. Some learning disabilities commonly seen among college students include a Reading Disorder, Mathematics Disorder, Disorder of Written Expression, and Learning Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.
The recommendations outlined below are meant to serve as guidelines for professionals who diagnose UGA students with a learning Disability. Persons qualified to diagnose LD may include psychologists and neuropsychologists.
- Prepare documentation on professional letterhead, with the dates of assessment, signatures, and license numbers or credentials of the diagnosing professional.
- Include a diagnosis of a Learning Disability as outlined in the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
- Provide relevant testing information, including diagnostic tests used, test scores obtained, and the interpretation of these scores.
- Present evidence of current impairment and rationale that supports the need for specific academic accommodations.
- Rule out potential factors related to academic difficulty such as cultural/language barriers, emotional issues, learning disabilities, or other disabilities.
The DRC also considers records of past accommodations and services in high school or other colleges when evaluating requests for accommodations. Such records may include an Individual Educational Plan (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP), or 504 Plan from high school. The DRC may need to request an updated evaluation if the initial documentation is inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or to support the need for requested accommodations. The cost of obtaining further documentation is the responsibility of the student. A DRC coordinator is available to consult with the student or professional regarding these documentation guidelines.