It can be incredibly confusing for parents to figure out how to get ACT and SAT Accommodations for ADHD, but Judith Bass makes it seem clear and (almost) easy in this two part series.
Now that you know what accommodations are available on the SAT and ACT, let’s address the process needed to obtain them. The following information should assist you in requesting accommodations for both the SAT and ACT.
Psychological Testing: What is required?
Both the College Board (SAT) and the ACT require documentation of ADHD from a qualified mental health professional. It is not enough to state that the student has ADHD. The tester must describe the functional limitations to the student.
On both the College Board and ACT websites, there is a list of the documentation and specific tests needed to qualify for accommodations. These are generally the same as what colleges look for in a psycho-educational report. A good psychologist will do more than the basics of a WAIS-IV and a test of academic achievement, such as the Woodcock-Johnson IV. Based on the results of these two assessments, the psychologist should conduct further testing to try to clarify any weaknesses suggested from the WAIS-IV and WJ-IV.
Does my Child Need Updated Testing?
The ACT requires a psycho-educational report that is no more than 3 years old at the time of registration. The SAT will accept a report that is 5 years old. If your testing needs to be updated for college, it is better to wait until your child is 16 years old, so that the WAIS-IV can be given as part of the full battery of tests being administered by the psychologist. (The WAIS-IV is the adult-normed version of the WISC-IV, which tests cognitive ability, and is preferred by most colleges).
While you might be able to request that your public school do the testing, be aware that school evaluations are not as comprehensive as private evaluations, so even with the school testing, you might need to also get outside testing from a licensed psychologist. Typically, students in private schools pursue private evaluations from licensed psychologists.
How do you Apply?
For the SAT: The SSD (Services for Students with Disabilities) coordinator at your child’s school will apply online for accommodations for your child, and will provide supporting documentation on file at school. Once approved, the parent or student registers for a specific test date, using the SSD number received on the approval letter. The approval remains valid until one year after graduating high school.
For the ACT requesting 50% extended time: The student first registers for the ACT online and prints out the admissions ticket. Parents should then print and fill out their part of the Application for ACT Extended Time National Testing. They should take the form to the school counselor, who will fill out the school section and include the documentation on file at the school. The Application is sent along with the student’s admissions ticket to ACT Special Testing.
For the ACT requesting multiple day testing and/or 100% extended time: On the ACT website, there is a separate form to download, “The Request for ACT Special Testing,” that serves as both the registration and request for accommodations. Parents should take this form to the school counselor, who will fill out the school section and include the documentation on file at the school. A letter of approval or denial will be sent to both the parent and the school counselor.
When is the best time to apply?
Students planning to take the ACT during junior year should apply for accommodations during the summer prior to junior year. Each July, a new application comes out with the test dates for the upcoming school year. It is important to submit the request for accommodations as early in the junior year as possible, in case further documentation is required. This also allows time for an appeal if the first request is denied. Most students receive a response within 4 – 6 weeks.
For the SAT, it is strongly recommended that you apply as early as possible, even at the end of 10th grade, if you want your child to have accommodations for the PSAT. It takes 7 weeks to receive a decision, and if further documentation is needed, it will take an additional 7 weeks from the time you submit the additional documentation to receive a decision.
Seek out the assistance of your child’s school counselor to make sure that you understand what part you are expected to play in the process. Some counselors are more hands-on than others, so you may need to do more of the “leg work” in gathering all the required documents. The help desks for both the ACT and SAT are also good resources for answering questions and explaining what you need to know.
Now that you know what to ask for when you try to get ACT and SAT accommodations for ADHD for your child, let’s address the process needed to obtain them. The following information should assist you in requesting accommodations for both the SAT and ACT.
Getting ACT and SAT accommodations ADHD allows children with documented learning disabilities to compete fairly with their peers to demonstrate their academic abilities. Without appropriate accommodations, students are unable to adequately show what they know. With the proper accommodations in place, they are able to perform in a way that shows their strengths, and reinforces their self-esteem.
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