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Office of Disability Services
Georgia Southwestern State University
800 Georgia Southwestern State University Drive
Americus, GA 31709
Evelyn Oliver M.P.A.
Director of Disability Services and Testing
Disability Services Assistant
When should I submit documentation verifying a disability to The Office of Disability Services?
Documentation should not be submitted before receiving a letter of acceptance from Georgia Southwestern's Office of Admissions.
Where should I send documentation verifying my disability?
Documentation can be brought to the Office of Disability Services, which is located on the first floor of Sanford Hall or mailed to:
Office of Disability Services
Georgia Southwestern State University
800 Georgia Southwestern State University Drive
Americus, GA 31709
Is my Individual Education Plan (IEP) appropriate documentation?
No. A complete psychological or educational evaluation must be submitted to obtain accommodations.
How do I receive accommodations/services?
To receive accommodations, a student must complete an application to participate in the Office of Disability Services program and submit documentation verifying a disability to the Disability Services Coordinator. The documentation must be on letter head and signed by a licensed professional.
What is considered current documentation?
Since reasonable accommodations are based upon the current impact of the disability, the documentation must address the current level of functioning and the need for accommodations. For a graduating high school senior, testing should have been conducted within the past three years. For all other students, testing should have been conducted within the past five years. For students with psychological disorders, testing should have been conducted with the past year.
Who should I contact if I need accommodation on a standardized test (PRAXIS, COMPASS, GRE, Regents, etc...)?
Contact the Disability Coordinator at (229) 931-2661 or visit the Office of Disability Services on the first floor of Sanford Hall, Room 101.
What should I do if I believe that I have a disability?
Students who believe they have a disability should stop by the Office of Disability Services and speak with the Disability Coordinator. If testing is necessary, the Disability Coordinator will provide the student with a packet to complete for testing at Georgia State University's Regents Center for Learning Disabilities or refer the student to a local diagnostician. Testing at the RCLD will only be conducted with a letter of referral from the Disability Services Coordinator.
How much does it cost to have an evaluation completed?
An evaluation can cost as much as $2000. An evaluation completed at the Regents Center for Learning Disabilities costs only $500. Cost depends on whose conducting the evaluation.
Are temporary accommodation provided?
Temporary accommodations are provided with appropriate documentation.
What accommodations are provided to students with disabilities?
Accommodations are determined by the documentation received and the diagnosis. The most commonly used accommodations are extended time on tests, testing in a distraction reduced environment, note-taker, reader, scribe, use of tape recorder during lecture and preferential seating.
The Office of Disability Services at Georgia Southwestern State University coordinates all services for students who have identified themselves as having a disability. Some of the accommodations provided are as follows:
This website is updated regularly to reflect the most current Board of Regents policies and information about the Regents Centers. If you are viewing a printed copy of this guide, please refer to the website (http://www.gsu.edu/rcld/BORWEB/introduction.htm) to be sure that you are accessing current and accurate information.
The University System of Georgia created three centers to help provide services to students with learning disorders, such as learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, acquired brain injury, and related conditions. We provide specialized assessments for these students, serve as a resource in identifying appropriate accommodations to meet their educational needs, and conduct research to increase knowledge about these disorders.
This information has been designed for the purpose of providing general information about the Regents Centers for Learning Disorders. We hope the information will be helpful to you in understanding what services the Centers provide and how those services can be accessed.
1. What is the mission of the centers?
The Regents Centers for Learning Disorders were established and funded in 1993 by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
The three centers (located at Georgia Southern University, Georgia State University, and the University of Georgia were established to provide comprehensive evaluations for students with possible learning disorders who are attending schools within the University System of Georgia. Their mission also includes consultation, research, and training focused on the needs of college students with learning disorders.
2. Who is eligible for evaluation at a center?
To be referred to a center for evaluation, a student must be currently enrolled in one of the public colleges or universities in Georgia, or admitted for enrollment. Under some circumstances, a student may also be referred to a center as part of a special review during the admissions process.
3. How are students referred?
Students are referred to a center by the disability services office at the institution to which they’ve been admitted. The disability service provider will give the student a referral packet to be completed by the student. The student should return the completed packet to the disability service provider, who will forward it to the appropriate center. After receiving the packet, the center will contact the student to schedule an appointment.
4. Where are the centers located?
Each college or university in the University System of Georgia is assigned to one of three centers.
Regents Center for Learning Disorders
Regents Center for Learning Disorders
Regents Center for Learning Disorders
|Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College||229-391-5160||Atlanta Metropolitan College||404-756-4783||Augusta State University||706-737-1471|
|Albany State University||229-430-4667||Clayton State University||770-961-3719||Fort Valley State University||478-825-6202|
|Armstrong Atlantic State University||912-927-5271||Columbus State University||706-568-2330||Gainesville College||770-718-3855|
|Bainbridge College||912-248-2579||Dalton State College||706-272-4547||Georgia College & State University||478-445-5331|
|Coastal Georgia Community College||912-264-7220||Georgia Highlands College||706-802-5003||Macon State College||478-471-2714|
|Darton College||229-430-6867||Georgia Institute of Technology||404-894-2564||Medical College of Georgia||706-721-2201|
|East Georgia College||912-289-2035||Georgia Perimeter College||678-407-5146||The University of Georgia||706-542-8719|
|Georgia Southern University||912-871-1566||Georgia Southwestern State University||229-931-2661||E-Core|
|Middle Georgia College||912-934-3023||Georgia State University||404-413-1560|
|Savannah State University||912-356-2203||Gordon College||770-358-5221|
|South Georgia College||912-389-4231||Kennesaw State University||770-423-6443|
|Valdosta State University||229-245-2498||North Georgia College & State University||706-867-2782|
|Waycross College||912-285-6012||Southern Polytechnic State University||678-915-7244|
|University of West Georgia||678-839-6428|
5. What is contained in a referral packet?
Students can obtain a referral packet from a disability service provider at their institution. The packet contains both information about the center and several questionnaires that should be filled out by the student. Questionnaires ask about current academic strengths and weaknesses, historical information (e.g., early development, school, medical and work histories), and about past and current behaviors that can affect learning (e.g., trouble paying attention, anxiety, depression). Students may need to consult parents to answer some of the questions about early childhood. The packet also contains questionnaires to be filled out by a person who knows the student well, to provide an independent view of the student's functioning. The student may obtain assistance in completing the packet from the disability service provider
Students will also be asked to include transcripts from their current institution and/or previous institutions, a recent hearing screening, samples of their written work, and any previous psychological or medical evaluations related to their learning difficulties.
6. Will the information provided to a center be kept confidential?
All information gathered and sent to a center will be kept strictly confidential. Information about the student will not be released to any person or institution without the student's written permission.
The student, if 18 years or older, must also give permission in writing to be evaluated and for any information about the evaluation process or results to be shared with parents.
7. How much does an evaluation cost, and what forms of payment are accepted?
The fee for the evaluation is $500.00. Methods of payment include:
- Cash, check, money order, credit card
- Financial aid—The cost of the evaluation may be included in a student's financial aid package. The center will accept a letter from the institution's financial aid office guaranteeing payment in the following semester, if it is too late to include the funds in the current semester's package.
- Insurance—The center does not file for insurance payments, but will provide students with the necessary documentation so that they may file with their insurance carrier after they have made full payment. Full insurance details are provided in the packet in a letter to the student.
- Third party payments (e.g., Department of Labor Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans Affairs, private foundations)—The client must supply the center with an official letter (on letterhead), or a voucher from the third party, giving promise of payment and detailed payment information.
- Payment arrangements—Alternate payment arrangements may be made in extenuating circumstances, and must be authorized by the center director.
8. How long does it take to get an appointment?
An appointment is scheduled at one of the centers after the student's packet is received. The packet must be complete. If important information is missing, the center will contact the student, prior to scheduling the appointment, seeking additional information. Time until the next available appointment varies across centers and at different times of the year. If the designated center cannot provide an appointment within one semester, the student may have the option of being referred to one of the other centers to receive an earlier appointment.
9. How long will the evaluation take?
The typical evaluation takes approximately eight hours, usually scheduled over two days. Some students may require additional time to complete the testing to fit their work speed and need for breaks, or to gather additional test data to better understand their learning difficulties.
10. What does the evaluation involve?
The evaluation includes a clinical interview, and a battery of educational, psychological and cognitive tests to assess a student's intellectual ability, academic achievement in core areas, (i.e., reading, math, and written language), strengths and weaknesses in processing information, and emotional state.
11. How will the student find out the results of an evaluation?
After the standardized testing is complete, each student is scheduled for an individual feedback session at the center. The session typically lasts from one to two hours. In this session, the test results will be reviewed, recommendations for academic accommodations and other support services will be made, and any questions answered.
The student may bring anyone to the session. All feedback sessions may be audio taped so that the student can take home a recording of the discussion to listen to again or share with others.
Following the feedback, the student will receive a written report that describes all the tests that were administered and the scores obtained. This report will also document the presence of any disability that warrants academic accommodation and list appropriate accommodations and other recommendations. This report will not be shared with anyone else without the student's written permission. (See Question 6 for information regarding confidentiality.)
12. Is it necessary to be evaluated at a center to receive accommodations?
Evaluation at a center is not required. An evaluation performed by any qualified professional can serve as documentation of a disability. This documentation must be presented to the disability services office at the student's college or university, and be reviewed to insure that it contains the information required by the Board of Regents. It is important to be sure that the professional who will perform the evaluation is aware of the Board of Regents policy, so that all the necessary information can be included in the written documentation.
If the student is requesting a Regents level accommodation (see Question 17 for a list of Regents level accommodations), a center must review the student's documentation and approve the accommodation. If a center needs to review the documentation, the disability service provider will obtain the student's written permission to send a copy of the documentation to the center. The center will notify the disability service provider in writing of the results of this review, and will provide detailed information about the reasons for any disapprovals. Most disapprovals occur because the report does not contain all of the information required by the Board of Regents for documentation of a disability.
13. What are the Board of Regents criteria for documentation of a specific learning disability?
(Academic Affairs Handbook: Section 2:22:03: Criteria for Outside Evaluations: Georgia Board of Regents Criteria for Accepting Outside Evaluations Documenting Learning Disabilities)
CRITERIA FOR OUTSIDE EVALUATIONS
The Board of Regents endorsed criteria for the evaluation of learning disabilities in September, 1991. All System institutions should be reviewing outside evaluations for students with learning disabilities based on these criteria. These criteria were established in an effort to assure that all institutions of the University System employ the same definition and evaluation model. Following is a simplified and updated version of the criteria for use by System institutions and professionals conducting private evaluations who request the criteria. In addition, clinicians might also review the Association of Higher Education Administrators of Disabilities (AHEAD) publications (http://www.ahead.org) or the Guidelines and Questionnaire for Test Accommodations for Examinees with Disabilities prepared by the United States Medical Licensing Examination Board (http://www.nbme.org), as they provide similar but more detailed guidance regarding the criteria used for evaluating outside evaluations for these organizations. The Regents policies are generally consistent with these other nationally recognized general guidelines, although specific criteria within the Regents policy may differ.
Secondary education eligibility reports, individualized educational plans and provision of special education services in and of themselves are not sufficient documentation for college-level accommodations, although this information should be included with reports from any comprehensive evaluation. If no prior services or accommodations have been provided, this needs to be carefully explained as learning disabilities and related disorders are not typically newly identified in adulthood.
GEORGIA BOARD OF REGENTS CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTING OUTSIDE EVALUATIONS DOCUMENTING LEARNING DISABILITIES
- Documentation must be within 3 years of the student's application for assistance. (The exception to this guideline in some instances is if the evaluation was completed after the student was 18 years of age and the evaluation utilized appropriate adult standardized tests and is still considered by an RCLD to adequately represent an individual's current functioning.) Documentation must be comprehensive, including history, diagnostic interviews, test results (including standardized test scores when available), differential diagnosis, details regarding a student's functional limitations, and recommendations for accommodations which are appropriate in college, graduate or professional educational settings.
- A diagnosis of a specific learning disability must be stated within the documentation submitted. The student must exhibit academic deficit(s) in one or more, but not all, areas of academic achievement; a correlated cognitive or information processing deficit; and average intellectual ability. There must be documentation of both an academic deficit and a correlated processing deficit. Documentation of only academic deficit(s) or only processing deficit(s) is not sufficient. If another diagnosis is applicable, it should be stated. The evaluation must be signed by a professional with expertise in evaluating adolescent and/or adult populations and appropriately certified and/or licensed by the state.
- One of the following individually administered general intelligence tests must have been utilized.
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III)
- Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV)
- Stanford Binet V
- Kaufman Adult Intelligence Test (KAIT)
- Differential Ability Scales (DAS)
- Woodcock-Johnson-III – General
- Intellectual Ability (Standard or Extended)
- Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS)
- Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC-II)
The test edition current at the time of evaluation meets Regents criteria. However, there may be extenuating circumstances associated with administering and interpreting new and/or revised tests. If an older test edition was administered at the time of evaluation, contact one of the Regents Centers for Learning Disorders to determine if that edition meets criteria.
Please list subscale scores and, where available, index or cluster scores.
Average intellectual abilities will be defined as the student’s best verbal/nonverbal or best fluid/crystallized domain score on a standardized global measure of intelligence. A standard score of 90 or above will be considered in the average range.
- Achievement assessment in the following areas is required:
- Reading (decoding, rate, and comprehension)
- Mathematics (calculations, reasoning, and algebra)
- Written Language (spelling and written expression) If available for review, a written language sample is most helpful.
To be considered an area of academic deficit, a student's individually administered standardized achievement test results must fall at least a standard deviation below the student's intellectual abilities, or a standard deviation below the student's other academic abilities as assessed by the same measures.
- There must also be evidence of correlated cognitive processing deficits and processing strengths identified on measures other than those used to obtain the global IQ score:
- There must be processing deficit(s) identified in one or more of the cognitive processing areas listed below. Oral language must be assessed. The deficit must represent a logical basis for the academic deficit. For example, one would not expect a specific fine motor deficit to be directly linked to a reading disability. Processing deficits must be evident on multiple measures and not based on a single discrepant score on an individual test or subtest.
- Oral Language
- Phonological/Orthographic Processing
- Memory/Learning (Working Memory, Long Term Memory, and/or Short Term Memory)
- Executive Functions
- There must also be evidence of processing strengths identified in one or more of the cognitive processing areas listed above. Processing strengths must also be evident on multiple measures and not based on a single discrepant score on an individual test or subtest.
- Social-emotional status must be assessed and discussed. Formal assessment instruments and/or clinical interview are appropriate.
- Assessment instruments must have age appropriate norms for high school seniors/college freshmen or older non-traditional students. All standardized measures must be represented by standard scores and percentile ranks based on published norms. These certainly can be supplemented by informal assessment. If scores based on specialized norms are used (e.g., two year or four year college norms), it will also be necessary to provide scores based on general population norms, if those scores are available in the manual.
14. What kinds of tests can be used to document a specific learning disability?
For a list of suggested measures to meet the Board of Regents criteria for assessing academic achievement and cognitive processing skills, please refer to Suggested Assessment Measures.
15. What are the Board of Regents criteria for documentation of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
(Academic Affairs Handbook: Section 2.22.04: Accommodation of Students with Other (Non-LD) Disabilities: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD)
- Developmental history that is documented, using independent sources, of appropriate symptoms and problem behaviors across multiple settings (e.g., past evaluations, school records, teacher report).
- Documentation of current symptoms that meet diagnostic criteria (clinical interview, behavior rating scales).
- Documentation of both childhood and current adult behavior on rating scales of ADHD symptoms that have appropriate age norms (Norms-based behavior rating scales -- actual data required).
- Corroboration of current ADHD symptoms across multiple settings by two independent observers with knowledge of the student's functioning (e.g., parent, spouse, teacher, supervisor, co-worker, relative, and/or clinician observation).
- Clear evidence and documentation of interference with developmentally appropriate academic, social, or vocational functioning.
- All other psychiatric or medical disorders which may cause inattention are differentially evaluated, documented, and considered in the differential diagnosis. This is particularly important when mood, anxiety, or substance abuse disorders are involved. Other causes of problems with attention and concentration must be considered and discussed (e.g., test anxiety). A positive response to medication is not by itself considered diagnostic.
- Assessment on which the documentation or evaluation is based must have been completed no more than three years prior to the student's application for academic assistance, OR must have been completed as an adult (18 years old or older) and still be considered current.
All documentation must include a specific diagnosis of ADHD and provide the evidence used to meet the above seven criteria. It is important for all evaluations to state clearly how ADHD functionally impacts the student's life across settings, and creates a substantial limitation in learning, and to provide a clear rationale why specific accommodations are needed to mediate its impact.
16. What kinds of accommodations are available?
A college or university is required to make reasonable accommodations to students meeting the University System criteria for a disability that impacts learning. However, a diagnosis of a specific learning disability or ADHD does not automatically provide students with accommodations. There must be evidence that the disability is interfering with academic performance. Any accommodations provided must be appropriate for a specific student's strengths and weaknesses. Services to students with disabilities must be individualized, but must also be consistent across students with similar evaluation results.
Few University System policies may be waived for students with a disability. Means should be sought to assist students in meeting all academic requirements through accommodations and modifications of instructional techniques and testing procedures.
Examples of classroom accommodations that can be provided if justified by documentation include:
- Extended time on exams
- A quiet place for taking tests
- Permission to record lectures and/or have note taking assistance
- Use of a non-programmable calculator
- Use of computer based technologies for written work
- Use of texts in alternative format
17. Who decides which accommodations will be provided to an individual student?
Eligibility for accommodations at a state college or university is determined by the University System. Accommodations approved previously at the high school level, or at a non-University System of Georgia institution, may or may not be granted.
If a student has been evaluated at a center, the center’s written report will include a list of recommended accommodations that are consistent with University System policy. If the student has been evaluated elsewhere, the disability service provider may choose to seek consultation from a center to identify appropriate accommodations based on that student's specific needs.
For a smaller group of accommodations, referred to as Regents level accommodations, a center must approve the accommodation, based on either the center's evaluation of the student, or a review of the student's documentation from another professional.
Regents level accommodations include:
- A course substitution for the high school College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) foreign language requirement
- Additional semesters in Learning Support
- Regents Test, Collegiate Placement Exam (CPE) or COMPASS modifications other than those specified in the Regents Testing Program Administrative Procedures
18. Must students with learning disabilities meet all of the College Preparatory Curriculum admission requirements?
Applicants with disabilities are expected to have completed the College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) with the appropriate instructional accommodations. The Core Curriculum of each college requires students to complete college-level courses in English, mathematics, social science, and science, and no exemptions or substitutions are permitted for these required college courses. Students who are unable to complete the high school college preparatory courses in these areas are unlikely to succeed in college courses and will not be provided with CPC exceptions in the admissions process.
An additional CPC requirement is two years of a foreign language. Because foreign language is not required in college for all majors, students with learning disabilities that preclude acquisition of a foreign language may petition for admission without completing this CPC requirement.
19. What is required for students with learning disabilities, who have not completed the College Preparatory Curriculum foreign language requirement, to petition for admission?
There are currently two mechanisms in place for students with learning disabilities who have not completed the College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) foreign language requirement to petition for admission :
- For admission to a university, a student must submit documentation of learning disability to an RCLD for approval. To ensure consideration under this provision, students should apply for admission AND contact the Office of Disability Services at that institution to request an RCLD review, no later than six months before the admissions decision is to be made. The documentation submitted must be consistent with BOR criteria for documentation of learning disabilities, and must also document the significant impact of the disability on the ability to acquire a foreign language. Students who are admitted after approval by an RCLD must then satisfy the CPC foreign language requirement by substituting another type of course determined by the institution.
Students applying to two-year colleges should also apply and request an RCLD review at least six months in advance of the admissions decision, but may be admitted in the "limited" category if they meet other admission requirements. Those admitted without RCLD approval must request an RCLD review and submit documentation of learning disability during their first semester of enrollment. Students who are approved for substitution of the CPC foreign language requirement by an RCLD may then satisfy this requirement by substituting another type of course determined by the institution.
- Students who have received a College Preparatory diploma from a Georgia public school, and who have a letter from the State Board of Education (SBOE) approving a waiver of the CPC foreign language requirement at the secondary level based on learning disability, may be admitted without RCLD approval. To be considered for admission under this provision, students should follow standard admission procedures and submit a copy of the SBOE approval letter along with the application for admission.
Students admitted with the SBOE waiver will be required to apply for any other requested accommodations following the standard procedures outlined in the Academic Affairs Handbook Section 2.22.
20. Does approval of a CPC foreign language substitution guarantee a similar substitution for any foreign language courses that are required in the student's chosen major or program of study?
The CPC foreign language substitution is for admission purposes only; it does not guarantee a substitution for a foreign language requirement in the student's chosen major. Students may petition to a designated committee at each institution for a substitution of any foreign language course(s) required for the major. In some fields of study, the institution may decide that the foreign language requirement is an "essential course/program requirement" which cannot be substituted, regardless of a documented disability.