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Learning Disorders

To obtain the Verification Form for Learning Disorders, please click on the following link: Learning Disorders Verification Form. Professionals conducting the assessment, rendering a diagnosis, and providing recommendations for reasonable accommodations must be qualified to do so (e.g., psychologist, neuropsychologist). Please note that a comprehensive neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation should accompany the Verification Form for Learning Disorders when submitted to ODS.

Penn State University has adopted guidelines for documenting learning disorders from the fifth edition of theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).  Individuals with learning disorders have persistent difficulty learning or performing academic skills at a level commensurate with their intelligence and age, and this should be reflected in the documentation submitted to ODS by addressing all of the following:

  • Evidence of persistent learning difficulties causing academic performance below expectations despite targeted intervention.
  • Diagnosis of learning disorder occurring after onset of school years even if learning difficulties were apparent prior to school-age.
  • Documented areas of academic skills difficulties as measured by objective and statistically sound aptitude and achievement assessments that are reported in terms of specific subtests and standard scores (a full neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation should include this information and supplement the Verification Form for Learning Disorders).
  • Learning difficulties must interfere with or reduce the quality of functioning, whether academically, socially, occupationally, or other area of functional impairment.
  • Learning difficulties cannot be attributed to or better explained by another diagnosis or environmental factor, including but not limited to intellectual disability, mental disorder, sensory impairment, neurological disorder, psycho-social difficulty, language difference, or lack of access to adequate instruction.
  • Learning difficulties and associated functional limitations in the academic environment and possibly other settings should warrant reasonable accommodations, which are presented in terms of a summary and recommendations (i.e., learning difficulty and suggested reasonable accommodation to mitigate learning difficulty).