The Regents Centers for Learning Disorders

Report
The Regents Centers for
Learning Disorders
The University System of Georgia Model for
the Assessment and Accommodation of
Cognitive Disorders in College Students
September 10, 2010
Presenters

Anne Imhoff, Ph.D.
–

George Shaver, Psy.D.
–

Director, Regents Center for Learning Disorders at Georgia State
University
Director, Regents Center for Learning Disorders at Georgia Southern
University
Will Lindstrom, Ph.D.
–
Director, Regents Center for Learning Disorders at The University of
Georgia
Eligibility and Academic Accommodations:
Transition from HS to College

High School (K-12)

College
–
Guided by IDEA
(Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act)
–
Guided by ADA-AA and
Section 504 (extends to the
workplace)
–
School is responsible to
identify and evaluate
–
Individual must self identify
and provide documentation
–
Accommodation decisions
implemented by IEP team
and provided by school
–
Accommodations based on
documentation and specific
evaluation data
–
Parents advocate for
students
–
Students become self
advocates
So what is a disability?


Under Section 504 & ADA
a physical or mental impairment which
substantially limits one or more of the
major life activities of such individual
–
Walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, learning,
working, performing manual tasks, caring for
oneself eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending,
reading, concentrating, thinking & communicating
DSM vs. ADA?



Note the diagnostic/clinical definition of a disorder is
not exactly the same as a legal definition, which puts
more emphasis on the documentation of functional
impairment.
The explication of the student’s functional
impairment is critical in guiding accommodations.
Post secondary institutions note the degree of
impairment and set guidelines for documentation
criteria that is consistent with contemporary
research.
Evaluating Documentation and Determining
Accommodations

Post-secondary institutions must
–
–
–

Review documentation
Identify functional impairments
Determine reasonable accommodations
With 35 institutions in the University System
of Georgia, how can this be done equitably
across all colleges and universities?
RCLD History and Mission


Board of Regents (BOR) for the University System of
Georgia (USG) sought to standardize disability
documentation requirements and accommodations
across 35 institutions by establishing three Regents
Centers in 1993
Regents Centers are housed at three “host
institutions” and are responsible for three
geographical areas of the state
–
–
–
The University of Georgia (Athens)
Georgia State University (Atlanta)
Georgia Southern University (Statesboro)
RCLD Mission
–
–
–
–
–
Review “outside” documentation and make
accommodation recommendations
Conduct psychological evaluations for USG
students (at a subsidized rate) that meet BOR
criteria for disability documentation
Training doctoral students in clinical, counseling,
educational, school psychology
Research in learning disorders
Community outreach
Areas of Cognitive Disability





Learning Disabilities
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Acquired brain impairment (e.g. TBI;
systemic illness)
Psychological disorders (e.g. anxiety
disorders; mood disorders)
Pervasive Developmental Disorders (e.g.
Asperger's and High Functioning Autism)
Psychoeducational Evaluations



Case History
Clinical Interview
Assessment
–
–
–
–
Socioemotional
Intellectual/Aptitude
Achievement
Cognitive Processing
Board of Regents Criteria for Disability
Documentation: General Requirements






ADA 1990 / ADA-Amendments Act 2008
Substantial limitations as compared to “most people”
Identify disability, describe diagnostic criteria, detail
progression of condition
Diagnosis made by a qualified individual
Adequate representation of the student's current functional
abilities/impairments
Current evaluation (within 3 years) or as adult (>18 years old
at time of evaluation)
•
Professional judgment must be used in accepting older documentation of
conditions that are permanent or non-varying, or in requiring more recent
documentation for conditions for which the functional impact may change
over time.
ADHD







Documentation of developmental history of symptoms (past
evaluations; school records; teacher’s reports; doctor’s notes)
List of specific symptoms consistent with DSM-IV diagnostic
criteria
Behavioral observation rating forms for childhood and
adulthood
Comparison to age-based normative data
Corroboration of symptoms across two settings by two
independent observers
Documentation of functional impairment in the academic setting
Differential Diagnosis (Rule outs)
Learning Disability Documentation
•
•
•
Clear identification of LD (No “Learning Styles”
or “Learning Differences”)
Documentation of developmental and
educational history consistent with a learning
disability
Information from standardized assessment
instruments with age-appropriate norms is
essential.
Learning Disability Documentation
•
•
•
Discrepancy between IQ score and academic
achievement score(s) no longer required; looking
also for intra-cognitive and intra-achievement
discrepancies that correlate in a “meaningful way.”
Documentation of both academic and cognitive
strengths and weaknesses is required on multiple
measures.
Documentation that alternative explanations for the
academic and cognitive limitations have been
considered and ruled out (i.e, low cognitive ability,
lack of adequate instruction, emotional factors).
Cognitive Process Deficits for LD
in Basic Reading Skills
Phonological
Awareness/Phonemic
Processing
Basic Reading
Skills
Double Deficit
(Alphabetic Mapping)
Orthographic/Rapid
Automatized Naming
Birch & Chase (2004); deGelder & Vrooman (1996); Elbro (1998), Hugdahl et al. (1995); Lovrich et al. (1997);
Katz et al. (2001), Paulesu et al. (2001); Shaywitz & Shaywitz (2005); Shaywitz et al. (2006); Velluntino et al.
(2004); Vukovic & Siegel (2006)
Profile Example
LOWER
EXPECTED
HIGHER
70 1 2 3 4 75 6 7 8 9 80 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 90 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 100 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 110 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 120
COGNITIVE ABILITY
Verbal Reasoning
114
Working Memory
114
Nonverbal Reasoning
113
Processing Speed
81
READING
Phonemic Decoding
75
Phonemic Decoding (T) 72
Word Reading
71
Word Reading (T)
70
Comprehension
112
Comprehension (T)
65
Reading Rate (T)
65
MATH
Calculations
116
Math Reasoning
114
WRITING
Spelling
43
Written Expression
89
Listening Compreh.
98
Fall, 2009
Accommodations: Introduction

Goal of accommodations: equal access to information and
equal opportunity to demonstrate knowledge.

Vast majority of disability service providers use report
recommendations to decide which accommodations to
implement.

At postsecondary level, documentation stands as only evidence
of student’s eligibility/service needs.

Comprehensiveness and quality of documentation are critical to
student success.
Accommodation: Individualized
services

Individuals with the same diagnostic label frequently
demonstrate varying profiles of cognitive, linguistic, and
academic strengths and weaknesses.

Accommodations should be recommended based on unique
individual profiles, not on diagnostic category.

Should be selected through a careful analysis of the functional
impact of the condition.
Accommodations: Defensible
recommendations

Increases in:
–
–
litigation regarding postsecondary accommodation determination
the numbers of students requesting accommodations

Examiners encouraged to link each recommended
accommodation to justifying data from evaluation.

Essential that recommendations are defensible.
Accommodations: Sample report
section

The reasons for each accommodation are indicated by the following
abbreviations: PA = phonemic awareness; OA = orthographic
awareness; NS = naming speed; ALL = combination of deficits.

Test Accommodations
–
–
–

extended time (1.5x) for all tests (ALL)
speech-to-text technology (PA, OA)
screen reading software (PA, OA, NS)
Course Accommodations
–
–
–
books in digital/tape format (PA, OA, NS)
use of a notetaker and/or digital recorder during lectures (OA)
screen reading software (PA, OA, NS)
Accommodations: LD (reading,
writing)

–
–
–
–

–
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Test Accommodations
Extended time (1.5x or 2x)
Speech-to-text technology
Screen-reading software
Spellcheck
Course Accommodations
Note-taking assistance
Textbooks and required readings in alternate
formats
Accommodations: AD/HD

Test Accommodations
–
–
–

Quiet/private testing room with few distractions
Scheduled breaks during tests that do not count against test
time
Use of a word processor
Course Accommodations
–
–
Note-taking assistance (e.g., notetaker; digital recorder)
Priority seating
References
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Gormley, S., Hughes, C., Block, L.,& Lendman, C. (2005). Eligibility
assessment requirements at the postsecondary level for students with
learning disabilities: A disconnect with secondary schools? Journal of
Postsecondary Education and Disability, 18, 63–70.
Gregg, N. (2009). Adolescents and adults with learning disabilities and
ADHD. New York: The Guilford Press.
Gregg, N., Heggoy, S., Stapleton, M., Jackson, R., & Morris, R. (1994).
Eligibility for college learning disabilities services: A system-wide approach.
Learning Disabilities, 7, 29-36.
Gregg, N., & Scott, S. (2000). Definition and documentation: Theory,
measurement, and the courts. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(1), 5-13.
http://www.usg.edu/academic_affairs_handbook/section3/handbook/appendi
cesDH/
Ofiesh, N., & McAfee, J. (2000). Evaluation practices for college students
with LD. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(1), 14-25.

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