Testing for School Accommodations

School accommodations are changes to materials or procedures that enable students with disabilities to access grade-level learning and testing. If your child has a documented disability, you may be eligible for accommodations. Accommodations are not intended to change or lower the standards of the content being assessed. They are used to reduce or eliminate the effects of a student’s disability.

The law that guides who gets accommodations is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504. This section of the law protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. Students with disabilities may receive special education services during the K-12 years as defined in a “504 Plan”. Accommodations can be given for timing, presentation, response, setting, test scheduling or for others such as proving special test preparation or focusing prompts.

There are many different kinds of learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit problems that can require testing accommodations, but the four most common forms are reading disabilities, written language disabilities, math disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Nationally standard tests and a DSM-IV-TR identified learning disability are required to obtain accommodations. Generic diagnoses such as “learning disability” and “auditory processing disorders” are not considered recognized diagnoses. The report obtained from the specialist should be around 15–25 pages long, with supplemental forms, and it should take at least two weeks for the professional to complete it.

It is especially important to be tested by an expert in the area of accommodations. As once a committee has denied an applicant for insufficient evidence the chances of actually being able to reapply for accommodations and get them accepted is reduced significantly. So it’s critical for you to conduct your research before choosing a professional.