I requested ACT accommodations for my 18 year old son. I was quite surprised when accommodations were denied. It sounds like he was denied because he doesn't have a "paper trail" of receiving support at school over the years. He was not diagnosed with a reading learning disability until he was in high school. He managed to "get by" and was assessed only when I took him to an outside psychologist.

He is currently a senior and is living away from home. He is finishing school online. He has taken the ACT once and scored a 17. He feels like he would do better if he had more time to complete the test. I am not sure how he should advocate for himself at this point and if it is a waste of time.

Luckily, my youngest son was identified in second grade and is now in seventh grade. He has received years of support, so I anticipate he will not have a problem applying for accommodations when it comes time for him to take the ACT.

I am hopeful for both of my children to attend and graduate from college.

I appreciate your time and expertise.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

It is true that the testing services want to see a history, which is why I tell clients it is important to get a diagnosis as early as possible and to have that documentation. If your son has a recent assessment by a psychologist, then I don't understand why he wasn't given the necessary accommodations as recommended. I understand that the testing service just doesn't want kids asking at the 11th hour, so to speak, but I have not heard before that when a child has a current evaluation, he or she hasn't been able to get the accommodations.

I went right to the source.

"The summary Guidelines for Documentation on page 3 and the detailed information on www.actstudent.org reflect professional standards. ACT reviewers are looking for objective evidence that demonstrates impairment as recognized by the ADA." It seems to me that a psychological report is objective evidence.

I'm not sure what to tell you to do -- appeal somehow? I think you should contact the folks here. I am sure that they've had this question before.

I saw where someone was advised to apply for accommodations for the SAT and to take that test instead. Those regulations got a lot easier effective this year.

I hope these suggestions help. Let me know the outcome.