Extended Time for Dysgraphia/Other Disabilities

shewhobabbles
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Extended Time for Dysgraphia/Other Disabilities

Postby shewhobabbles » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:15 am

I'm in my second year of undergrad, and have begun seriously considering law school. I have mild cerebral palsy and was diagnosed with a set of related learning disabilities last year (dysgraphia and a visual processing problem that makes it a bit difficult to track words on a page). I got extended time on the ACT and AP exams in high school, and currently get double time on exams in college, but I've done some digging and know LSAC can be quite touchy about ET on the LSAT. I'm wondering if they're going to try and deny me accommodations, even though I have documentation up the wazoo, had an IEP in HS, and am registered with disability services at my college. I would definitely need extra time on the essay as it would be illegible written in 35 minutes, and the reading/bubbling just physically takes me longer. Is asking for double time too much? Does "great sensitivity and flexibility" undermine the impact of the score to law schools? I've only done a few practice Qs so far and the logic of the test comes easily, but if I do really well would schools assume it was because of the ET? Should I prepare to take the test under regular time-constraints? Any help or insight into the accommodations process would be most appreciated, thanks all :)

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Sloth Hero
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Re: Extended Time for Dysgraphia/Other Disabilities

Postby Sloth Hero » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:19 am

I'll assume you feel you can competently practice law given your disability. I have little knowledge of your conditions.

I'm wondering if they're going to try and deny me accommodations, even though I have documentation up the wazoo, had an IEP in HS, and am registered with disability services at my college.


The tricky thing here, is that if you do get accommodations, you are going to have to disclose this to the schools you apply to. I mean, you probably would have to disclose it anyways, but given that you are requesting accommodations, it could be interpreted that you are admitting your disability makes it harder for you to perform. This in turn could be looked upon negatively from an admissions perspective.

I would definitely need extra time on the essay as it would be illegible written in 35 minutes, and the reading/bubbling just physically takes me longer.


This is probably not a huge deal, since law schools don't place a huge weight on the written essay (as I understand from this website). If you can display competent writing ability in your personal statement, that should mitigate a decent amount of the concern.

I have little technical knowledge of LSAT disability policy, I am just covering the general analytics that you will probably encounter in this thread.

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suspicious android
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Re: Extended Time for Dysgraphia/Other Disabilities

Postby suspicious android » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:12 pm

This is not really a great forum for this sort of information. The accommodations process is fairly opaque and the only people who know much about it are those that have been through it. It's tough to get an LSAC accommodation, but it can be done. People with a documented history of accommodations have a easier time of it, but nothing is guaranteed.

Try to ignore the passive aggressive bullshit a question like this generally engenders, there are a lot of neurotic people on boards like these who worry about anyone getting an edge over them in the competition for law school and legal jobs. Just talk to LSAC.

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Jeffort
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Re: Extended Time for Dysgraphia/Other Disabilities

Postby Jeffort » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:00 pm

You should definitely apply for special accommodations if you need them and have been getting them for other tests in the past. Apply as soon as possible with all the required documentation LSAC requires. It usually takes a long time to get them granted if they say yes, especially if you have to appeal an initial denial or if they ask for more documentation later. I've heard of some cases where it took 6 or more months of back and forth stuff to get it granted or ultimately denied after appeals. The LSAC accomodations packet is here: http://www.lsac.org/JD/LSAT/accommodated-testing.asp

Since schools will see on your score report that you received special accommodations, it will influence how they interpret your score. Unfortunately there really is no way to know how much though (like, do they subtract a certain number of points off your reported score to compare it to other applicants?) . Beyond just how much weight they put on the score itself, since such applicants have disabilities which will somehow be stated in the application materials, the admissions committees will be taking that into account as a significant factor when evaluating your application and deciding whether or not they think you would succeed and perform well in law school in addition to putting a lot of weight on your GPA and LSAT score.

How friendly or unfriendly LS's are to disabled people probably varies by school but is something not that much is publicly known about, except when a disabled student sues LSAC or some law schools for discrimination and then news articles pop up about the cases.

shewhobabbles
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Re: Extended Time for Dysgraphia/Other Disabilities

Postby shewhobabbles » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:35 am

Thanks for your input everyone. Thinking about registering for the Feb 2012 LSAT so I have time to get the accommodations appealed if needed. I'm not too concerned about schools knowing about my disabilities, the LD stuff will likely be a main theme of my app as it was something I struggled with my first year of college and will need to address to explain my GPA (hard at work on that upward trend :wink: ) The experience is also partly why I want to go to law school. I'm more concerned about them looking at the score differently, but I suppose it's not worth me not performing to my potential on the test.

Jeffort wrote:.
How friendly or unfriendly LS's are to disabled people probably varies by school but is something not that much is publicly known about, except when a disabled student sues LSAC or some law schools for discrimination and then news articles pop up about the cases.

I'm extremely fortunate that my disabilities are mostly physical and self-manageable (I've mentioned my CP to good friends and they had no idea) so I'm not too concerned with not being accommodated or being unable to handle the workload. I think the way LSAC treats accommodations, particularly extended time is problematic but maybe I can help change that one day 8)




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