Students with Learning Disabilities or ADD/ADHD
Typically when documenting accommodation requests from students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorders, offices hope to find either full clinical write-ups, psycho-educational testing or both. Here are some questions that can help you gather information you can use as an approximation of what you may have received from the formal documentation.
One thing you get from the documentation is the credentials of the evaluator. So it may be helpful to ask the student about when and where they were originally diagnosed and what the most recent evaluation was like.
Did you receive services/accommodations at your last college? If so,
What was the office called?
What was it like?
How did it work?
Did your receive special education services in P-12? If so,
What was that like?
How did it work?
Did you receive service through graduation?
Do you remember when you were first diagnosed?
Who did the evaluation?
Do you recall anything about it (a particular task or how long it took?)
Have you been evaluated since then? If so,
(same as above)
Formal documentation will provide a diagnostic statement.
Did anyone give you a formal name for the condition?
How would you describe your condition?
What kinds of school-related tasks does it affect?
(reading, tests, writing, spelling, oral response ...)
Can you describe how it affects those tasks you identified?
Because diagnosis is related to impact, these question flow into the next set of information that documentation should provide, a description of the current functional limitations. Additional questions include:
Has the way it has affected you changed over time?
Is it different in different subjects?
Are there better or worse times of day?
You also get a history or a description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications from the documentation process.
What accommodations were you using at your last school?
How were they arranged?
How much did they help?
What accommodation worked best for you?
Were there accommodations you requested that were turned down?
Did they offer an alternative?
Do you know why they said no?
Do you agree?
Did you receive accommodations on the SAT, ACT, LSAT, GRE,
MCAT …? If so,
What accommodations did you receive?
What accommodations have you tried in the past (high school, work, elementary school...?)
How did they work?
Would you still like to use those accommodations?
Why or why not?
Have you used any medications?
Are you using any now?
How do they help?
Are they taken on a schedule or as needed?
Does your medication schedule affect when you should study or take classes?
Have you used accommodations anywhere other than school?
Accommodations to the side, do you have tricks or strategies you use to help you
when you are reading?
study for tests?
write an essay?
work on math?
keep focused or stay on task
How many hours per day/week do you typically study?
Student won't be able to answer all of the questions in detail but their responses should give you a good sense of what their disability is and how pervasive it is. It should also give you a gauge on how familiar students are with the system to see if the information rings true.
Compiled by Scott Lissner, The Ohio State University, with input from Ruth Fink, University of Colorado (retired)