picture of a stop watchTiming and scheduling accommodations change how much time a child has to complete a task or assignment. Examples of these include giving a student extended time to take a test or complete an assignment, allowing a student to take frequent breaks, or breaking up a test or assignment into different sections completed at a different pace. These accommodations can help a student perform better and turn in a better assignment.


Another form of accommodation corresponds to the setting in picture of a boy taking a test in an empty roomwhich the child works. A common example of this is having a student complete a test or other in-class individual assignment in a separate, quiet room with fewer distractions. This can also be as simple as assigning a seat that is in a part of the room that will allow the student to learn best without distraction, like away from the window or next to the teacher. Setting accommodations allow students to better focus on what they are learning.

Litigation: Accommodations for High Stakes Testing


By: Matthew Dietz   Many desks in rows where students are taking tests.

Academic success is often measured by a score on a test. A test score can make the difference in being accepted into a desired school or in obtaining a professional license. However, a learning disability of a mental illness or disorder, or other disability, can derail a person’s career or learning goals when an accommodation is not given to level the playing field. In fact, all schools, testing organizations and professional licensing organizations should (and usually do) provide for testing accommodations.

Is it fair?
A professional boxer could usually beat an amateur with one hand behind her back but you would never be able to measure the boxer’s ability when her hand is tied behind her back. In the same way, a test should be designed to test the test taker’s intelligence or mastery of the subject and not how quickly a person completes a test or the person’s skills in blocking out extraneous noises. For years, accommodations have been denied to those who are intelligent, based on the rationale that accommodations were not needed due to their intelligence. When the ADA was amended in 2008 to clarify that impairments in the major life activities of learning, reading, concentrating, and thinking were disabilities, the Congressional drafters of the law commented as follows:
When considering the condition, manner, or duration in which an individual with a specific learning disability performs a major life activity, it is critical to reject the assumption that an individual who has performed well academically cannot be substantially limited in activities such as learning, reading, writing, thinking, or speaking.
The Committee believes that the comparison of individuals with specific learning disabilities to ‘most people’ is not problematic unto itself, but requires a careful analysis of the method and manner in which an individual’s impairment limits a major life activity. For the majority of the population, the basic mechanics of reading and writing do not pose extraordinary lifelong challenges; rather, recognizing and forming letters and words are effortless, unconscious, automatic processes. Because specific learning disabilities are neurologically based impairments, the process of reading for an individual with a reading disability (e.g. dyslexia) is word by word, and otherwise cumbersome, painful, deliberate and slow throughout life.
How does a person get a testing accommodation?
Most test providers have forms where a request can be made. An accommodation should be provided where the applicant has documentation that demonstrates a consistent history of a diagnosis of a disability, with a recent evaluation by qualified professional who has made a face to face evaluation. The earlier and more consistently an evaluation is provided, the better likelihood of the approval of the accommodation request, however, there are methods to demonstrate the existence of a disability without early evaluations, such as observations by parents or educators and a series of psycho educational testing. Under the new ADA regulations, once a test taker receives accommodations for post secondary school testing, such as the SATs or the ACTs, those accommodations should be presumptively accepted by other testing agencies.

Update on the Settlement between the Department of Justice and the Law School Admission Council


By: Rachel Goldstein   

In Volume 5 of DIG’s newsletter, Litigation Director Matthew Dietz, discussed the Department of Justice’s May 2014 announcement of a settlement with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the administrators of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act for denying disability accommodations for test takers.

The settlement provides damages to the class, as
a $6,730,000 nationwide compensation fund was established
for individuals who requested testing accommodations for the LSAT between January 1, 2009 and May 20, 2014.
This amount will be split equally between all persons who timely notify the class administrator and submit a claim. There are
approximately 6,000 people who are eligible to receive funds from the class settlement.
If you applied for testing accommodations on the LSAT between January 1, 2009 and May 20, 2014 you may be eligible for a monetary award. To be considered for payment from the compensation fund, you must submit completed claim forms
within one hundred and eight days from the time
that the claims administrator sends notice to all persons on
a list of potential claimants provided by LSAC. If you applied for testing accommodations for the LSAT and believe you may be eligible for damages, you may obtain information on how to submit a claim by:
     1.Sending an email with your name, address and telephone number to or
    2.Calling the Claims Administrator at 1-855-382-6399 or 1-844-553-1378 (TTY).
For more information on the settlement agreement between the Department of Justice and the Law School Admission Counsel

Settlement between the Law School Admission Council and the Department of Justice will set the Benchmark for testing accommodations



On May 20, 2014, the Department of Justice announced a settlement with the administrators of the LSAT, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), for alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for denying disability accommodations for test-takers.   For the past twenty years, testing agencies, schools, and the Florida Bar have applied different standards prior to allowing or denying testing accommodations. As a result, the person would need to re-establish the fact that they have a disability and produce ever-shifting amounts of proof, sometimes from preschool, to establish a disability. (click here to read more) 




“Why?” is the most common question asked when I said that I was going to  change my practice into a non-profit disability rights advocacy center. My reasons are each and every person with a disability that I have represented over the past eighteen years. With every single person, the issue was not about money, but about the dignity of being a human being, and having the same ability to enjoy life as any other person. Even when I was not successful, I was always able to give my clients the power and dignity to fight for their equality and humanity.
This is a new era where people with disabilities eschew labels and demand their rights. Those who are Deaf or who have vision impairments demand equal access to information, those with depression and anxiety demand emotional support animals, those with disabilities demand the right to have their own families
and make their own decisions regarding independent living, and those with learning disabilities demand testing and course accommodations. Disability Independence Group or DIG is an invitation for persons with disabilities to declare their independence from antiquated notions of a second class existence.
Disability Independence Group will be a center where people with disabilities can learn how to enforce their rights and a training center for future lawyers to learn how to enforce the rights of persons with disabilities. It will advocate for a definition of diversity and integration that includes persons with disabilities. DIG will be a hub for the growing internationalization of disability
rights in Central and South America. We have a big job and big dreams. Matt Dietz with Parrot