Testing Accommodations

Dr. Petrosky has evaluated clients for possible testing accommodations for many years. See answers to common questions about testing accommodations below.

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What are testing accommodations?
People with documented disabilities, such as dyslexia, another learning disability, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, depression, and other disabilities may qualify for testing accommodations on school exams as well as standardized tests like State and Citywide tests as well as the SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, and others.
What types of accommodations are there?

There are multiple potential accommodations available depending on the nature of an individual’s disability and how and to what degree it affects the person. Some of these test accommodations include: extended time, extra breaks/shorter testing intervals, use of a scribe, testing in a location with minimal distraction, increased spacing between test items, waiving of spelling and/or punctuation requirements, and use of a spell-check and/or grammar-check device.

Can college and graduate students get test accommodations?

Yes. Although Special Education services (e.g. Resource Room) end after high school, test accommodations are provided to students and adults after high school under the auspices of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Are there other types of accommodations besides test accommodations college and graduate students can get?

Yes. Depending on the nature of the disability and its impact, the person may qualify for classroom accommodations like a notetaker. Some students may have disabilities that create scheduling needs that warrant priority registration. Also, some colleges have special programs, services, and supports (e.g. tutoring) for students with documented learning disabilities.

How do people with disabilities qualify for test accommodations?

The exact procedure will vary depending on who is administering the test for which the person wishes to receive accommodations. The first step is to contact the agency or institution administering the test (e.g. the College Board for the SAT) and review their procedure and policies.

The above being said, generally speaking to get accommodations, the individual must demonstrate that he or she has a disability and that that disability “substantially limits” his or her ability to complete tests in a standardized fashion. “Substantially limits” can mean things like, for example, because of dyslexia, ADHD, or anxiety the person reads more slowly than the typical person and therefore needs extra time to take the test.

How does a neuropsychological evaluation help a person get testing accommodations?

If a person has a disability that substantially limits his or her ability to complete tests and examinations in a standardized fashion, a neuropsychological evaluation can provide documentation of two key elements needed to get accommodations – evidence that the person has a disability and evidence that that disability substantially limits (i.e. significantly negatively impacts) the person’s ability to complete standardized tests and examinations. In short, an in-depth comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation can provide a person with objective data demonstrating and documenting his or her disability and how it impacts him or her.

The above being said, there are some important clarifications to be made. Firstly, it is of course impossible for Dr. Petrosky to say in advance, before doing the evaluation, whether or not he will be recommending accommodations since that is the reason for doing the evaluation in the first place. So, it is possible to get an evaluation and have the evaluation not find a need for accommodations. However, neuropsychological evaluations provide a lot of other useful information, so if the above should happen, Dr. Petrosky still provides detailed recommendations on how to optimize school or work performance and strategies for managing weaknesses the person may have. Secondly, when Dr. Petrosky does recommend accommodations, he does not decide whether or not a person is to receive accommodations – he determines if there is evidence of a disability and then makes recommendations for a person to receive accommodations. However, it is the agency or institution from which the person is seeking accommodations who decides if the client is to receive accommodations

Lastly, before getting a neuropsychological evaluation, Dr. Petrosky recommends that you first check with the agency / institution from whom you are seeking test accommodations to verify that they require testing. Although in many cases they do, this may not always be the case. For example, there may be instances in which a prior evaluation or educational records (e.g. old IEP’s) may be sufficient to get accommodations.

6 students of all ages

There are many potential accommodations available depending on an individual’s disability and how it affects her or him.