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Testing Accommodations

How Do I Get Accommodations on Testing?

That is the question. If you child is in high school and has a 504 plan or an individualized education program (IEP), your public high school guidance counselor should submit the paperwork for accommodations for you automatically. Please be sure to check with them to ensure this occurs. If your child attends private school and has a disability, ask your school to seek accommodations on your child’s behalf.

If your school submits a request and your child does not receive accommodations, you can appeal the decision. Our firm handles these appeals and it is important that you gather all information submitted to the respective testing agency and the reason for denial. A careful analysis as to the real reason for the rejection will need to occur and additional information is generally needed, in addition to an appeal letter that sets forth a legal argument with supporting evidence as to why your child should receive the needed accommodations/modifications under the law.

Testing accommodations are a common way to level the playing field so that a student’s disability is taken into consideration in such an essential part of the educational process. Denial of testing accommodations can have a negative impact on your student’s educational process.The best way to handle the denial and the subsequent appeal is to hire counsel that has experience dealing with the process of appealing an educational institution’s denial of testing accommodations. One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is to attempt to handle the process without an attorney.

If your child is out of high school and looking to take the GRE, GMAT, LSAT or a professional exam, and has applied but been rejected for accommodations due to a disability, please contact our office as soon as possible. We will review the documents submitted and help you figure out what additional information is needed to support your need for accommodations in light of your student’s disability.

Section 504 and the ADAAA

Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are federal laws that apply to programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, including college testing and postsecondary testing, such as the PSAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, and vocational/technical certifications for nursing, cosmetology, electrical and EMT. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) reiterates that Congress intends that the scope of the American with Disabilities Act to be broad and inclusive.  

Section 504 and the ADA protect any person who:

  1. Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  2. Has a record of such impairment, or
  3. Is regarded as having such an impairment.

The ADAAA does not alter these three elements of the definition of disability under the ADA, rather the ADAAA significantly changes how the term disability is interpreted. The term “disability” is to be construed broadly and the determination of whether an individual has a disability should not demand extensive analysis. Additionally, the ADAAA specifies that impairment need not prevent or severely or significantly restrict a major life activity to be considered substantially limiting.

The ADAAA provides examples of major life activities in two non-exhaustive lists. The first list expands the examples set forth in ADA regulations and includes, but is not limited to:

  • Caring for oneself
  • Performing manual tasks
  • Seeing
  • Hearing
  • Bending
  • Learning
  • Reading
  • Concentrating
  • Thinking
  • Communicating
  • Standing

The second list provides examples of major bodily functions that are now considered major life activities under the law and include, but are not limited to:

  • Functions of the immune system
  • Normal cell growth
  • Digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions

Piper Paul Law prides itself on helping to level the playing field for persons with disabilities. We welcome the opportunity to work with your children and give them the opportunity to show their true abilities and knowledge on standardized tests and assessments.


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Westport, CT 06880

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