Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

swimmer10000
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Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby swimmer10000 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:04 pm

Hello,

I am a retired Veteran on permanent disability due to a stress injury caused by a Tour of Duty in Afghanistan and Special Forces training seven years ago.
My injuries are psychological but not easily categorized. Panic/Anxiety Disorder,PTSD, Bipolar, ADHD have all been applied to my situation. In the end my difficulties are in the executive functioning arena: working memory, reading speed, concentration etc. and anxiety and none of the above labels accurately define my difficulties.

I have undergone LSAC's requirements of the battery of psychological/IQ testing and the psychologist recommended 50% additional time along with a quiet work environment and breaks between each section.

I have already been given accommodation at my school but this is a recent development as I have only recently restarted my education.
I have attained a 4.0 GPA and LSAT scores under standard conditions are 148 and 153 respectively.

The results of the testing LSAC requested mirror testing done three years ago by a neuropsychologist to rule out any organic brain injury: while intelligent I have difficulty with executive functioning. I scored in the 91st percentile in scholastically related intelligence and in the 9th percentile for working memory. Also, the testing among other things showed that I had a 53% chance of not having ADHD.

With hard work and now accommodation I have been able to overcome these difficulties to achieve the 4.0 GPA.

LSAC's position: "LSAC has an obligation to determine if your
disorder limits a major life activity involved in taking the LSAT. If it does, then we must also determine
whether the accommodations requested are warranted." and "We are not able to grant your request since the documentation provided does not demonstrate that you
have a limitation of a major life activity which affects your ability to take the LSAT under standard
conditions. You remain registered to test as a standard test taker."

Can anyone give any advice as to what I have to provide to LSAC to show them that my disorder/s have limited a major life activity? I am not going to pursue this legally but feel that in my case an accommodation is warranted but am unsure of how to proceed. My psychiatrists, psychologists etc. are all willing to provide letters on my behalf showing how this has affected a major life activity and affects my ability to take the LSAT under standard conditions but I am getting the feeling that LSAC has made up their mind on this case. They have asked for more testing and information which has been provided but have denied my application 6 times.

Can anyone shed any light on their thinking and requirements?

I would be willing to provide more information, reports, recommendations, etc.
Any direction would be appreciated.

Thank you,

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Philosopher King
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby Philosopher King » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:08 pm

Wow, this sucks. You are in a very similar situation to me. I got a 155 and I plan to retake in June with accommodations but now I'm not so certain tat I will get them despite having all the necessary proof. I don't know what to tell you. LSAC violates the ADA and they seem to get away with it.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:58 pm

One very unfortunate thing about LSAC is that they tend to want a history of a disability. This means that they want documented proof that you have had a disability for your whole (or nearly your whole) life. Here are the documents I submitted to get approved for 50% more time.

1. Five separate cognitive evaluations taken throughout my life (including one conducted last year).
2. Letters from ACT confirming accommodated testing conditions.
3. Letters from all my universities and high schools confirming accommodations.
4. Essay written describing my disability.
5. Medical documentation substantiating claims to a disability.

All in all I sent LSAC over eight pounds worth of documentation. Having a 4.0 GPA hurts your case. Also, LSAC regularly denies people with emotional and attention deficit disorders for accommodations. My disabilities include disabilities in reading, writing, math, and processing speed. I'm sorry they dicked you over. I was so worried when I was waiting to be approved due to all the horror stories I've heard about LSAC. Sorry about your situation and hopefully they can reconsider your case.

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buck
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby buck » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:05 pm

Which major life activity has it affected exactly? Note how the poster who was granted more time can specify that his reading and writing were affected among other things. Does the medical documentation you provided say how exactly your disability affects your ability to perform a major task like reading?

swimmer10000
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby swimmer10000 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:21 pm

Hi Buck, I am new on here so I am still trying to figure how to reply.

The reports clearly documented that reading speed, cognitive speed and functioning, working memory, have all been affected and don't accurately reflect my ability intellectually. Yes the battery of tests show this clearly. This has had major impact on my life in that I have been determined to be permanently disabled and previously no longer to work. The military released me and I have been determined to be unemployable. Pretty major life activity.

The anxiety disorder which is well documented as well but not necessarily measurable by a test was what I thought would be the no brainer. I have a stress injury and having to go through the LSAT under normal conditions is pretty stressful for anyone but for me it was extremely difficult. Even without the extra time I would have thought that the quiet room and breaks would have been approved.

I don't think LSAC considers reading to be a major life activity. If it was then I have shown with the documentation that I qualify.

Nice Sibe btw

swimmer10000
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby swimmer10000 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:34 pm

I just pulled out the recent report. Here is the conclusion.

"Overall,--- meets diagnostic criteria for a Reading Disorder (particularly as it relates to reading rate). Although his math and writing skills are also good, processing speed problems are relevant.
Processing speed abilities are a normative weakness and, in combination with his executive functioning difficulties and his struggles with selective attention and working memory, are indicative of an executive functioning impairment. However, since this impairment cannot be traced back to childhood, he meets the criteria for diagnosis of ADHD Not Otherwise Specified."

"...will require accommodations in any testing or examination setting to ensure that tests results are a valid reflection of his actual ability and knowledge, instead of inadvertant measurements of his disabilities. Given his difficulties with immediate visual and verbal memory, his processing speed deficits, and his symptoms of anxiety which "flare up" in stressful situations, he is likely to struggle significantly when testing is given under any time pressure."

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lrslayer
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby lrslayer » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:38 pm

just my experience:
i'm also a combat vet with well documented ptsd and pretty much same story as yours minus the medical discharge (finished my enlistment and then got disability through v.a)....
the problem i think you have and that i had as well is that you already have two scores that are in the average range of average testers. lsac views this as your ability to take the test. they don't give you the benefit of a doubt that maybe you are above average. i had panic issues in all three of my takes. luckily for me, familiarity helped mitigate it on the third take enough so i could do well. another thing i did to help was that i stopped using my schools disabled services (extra time and private room). these were acting as a crutch for me, i figured i would not get it for lsat or law school tests so i broke the habit.

tl;dr: due to your two previous average scores lsac assumes you don't need accommodations.

swimmer10000
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby swimmer10000 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:40 pm

Hmmm...I hadn't considered that. It actually makes sense. Not really fair but at least it helps me to understand their viewpoint.

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lrslayer
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby lrslayer » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:42 pm

swimmer10000 wrote:Hmmm...I hadn't considered that. It actually makes sense. Not really fair but at least it helps me to understand their viewpoint.

it really sucks. had i known the policies before, i would have not tested at all without accommodations :(

swimmer10000
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby swimmer10000 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:46 pm

Agreed. Still digesting that. That really sucks!!! lol.

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Philosopher King
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby Philosopher King » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:48 pm

lrslayer wrote:just my experience:
due to your two previous average scores lsac assumes you don't need accommodations.


His average score was a 150.5, why would they assume he doesn't need accommodations?

MrAnon
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby MrAnon » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:48 pm

I think a lot of flame threads are being started by xoers on this site. But putting that aside and assuming this is not flame, I will say that you should really look into a profession that is going to complement your abilities better than law. I would think you would wish to avoid a highly stressful career like law. And I would think you would wish to avoid a highly stressful endeveavor like law school. If I have panic/anxiety disorder, PTSD, bipolar and ADHD, or any mix thereof, I'm looking to do something else besides attend law school. You will be shelling out a lot of money to attend and at the end of it, all the accomodations that got you into the school and got you through the school will disappear, and you'll have to make a career out of it, without any accomodations. How on earth are you going to manage the career aspect if you can't even deal with the schooling aspect without special considerations.

swimmer10000
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby swimmer10000 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:07 pm

Dear Mr. Anon,

Firstly, I am not looking for career nor life advice, simply those who have experience with the accommodation process so as to educate myself and my decisions regarding that specific process.

Secondly, there are many ways for those of us that are disabled to overcome our disabilities and lead a normal, fulfilling life. Law schools have acknowledged this in many ways by embracing students with accommodations in testing and offering half time studies to complete the Law degree in a more manageable time frame for those disabled, students with children, etc.

As to a career as a lawyer being highly stressful, I am looking at positions that are not highly stressful such as working for Veterans Affairs or working as a rural lawyer in a much slower paced environment. While I don't expect to charge by the hour, that just wouldn't be fair ;) I really do feel that I can be of benefit to the profession and to future clients.

Black and white thinking can be useful but in terms of humanity I always try to look more into the grey as to people's situations.

Thanks for your concern.

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lrslayer
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby lrslayer » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:25 pm

Philosopher King wrote:
lrslayer wrote:just my experience:
due to your two previous average scores lsac assumes you don't need accommodations.


His average score was a 150.5, why would they assume he doesn't need accommodations?


here's a link about it.
http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/lsat-extended-time-accommodations.html

"Factors in LSAC's Decision to Grant Extra Time / Accommodations:

Scored Decently in the Past
if you've demonstrated that you're capable of scoring better than average (an LSAT score of approximately 150), LSAC is very unlikely to give you extra time due to ADD / ADHD.

Even if you suffer from severe ADD/ADHD and would score 175+ with a bit of extra time, LSAC won't care about that if you've demonstrated that you can score decently without accommodations.

However, LSAC's definition of "scoring decently" is scoring 150+. For many test-takers, "scoring decently" means 160+ or 165+ because these are the sorts of scores required for their goal law schools.

This suggests that if you intend to apply for accommodations, you should do so before you ever get an official LSAT score on your report. Any decent score you receive can (and will) be used against you in LSAC's decision."

eta: @PhilosophyKing - many people on this site are in the same opinion that you are about the accommodated practices of LSAC being unfair; you should probably stop attacking everyone just to be argumentative. its dickish and your shitting up everyone's threads!

swimmer10000
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby swimmer10000 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:37 pm

Thanks lrslayer! Excellent resource. Going to move on from here and work on improving the LSAT for next year. I am applying for a regional school as I have small children and need to be close by and my scores should get me in.

But that is exactly what I was looking for as I can now focus on what I can effect change on and not what I cannot.

Thanks everyone,

Much appreciated.

MrAnon
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby MrAnon » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:27 pm

You should know that schools base their accommodation decision very often on whether you got extra time from LSAC. "No extra time for LSAC? Why should WE accommodate." They will in some cases make a different decision, but its a safe out for them and good evidence in their mind. I find it funny that you say schools make such great efforts to accommodate, yet here you are, asking us why you can't get extra time on the admissions test. You aren't even in school yet and the system is giving you a hard time. Moreover, the schools are not looking out for your interest. What I mean by that by way of extreme example is that a school will fill its entire class with extra time seekers as long as the school gets paid. Is that good for students in the short of long term? No, but the school could not care less. I wish you luck but as someone who had some physical issues that impacted his own exam taking ability, I wouldn't advise anyone with similar issues to go down this path. Its like trying to play major league baseball with one arm. can you do it? yes. Has it been done successfully? Yes. Based on the odds is it a very smart path to take?

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buck
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Re: Accommodated Testing Denied: Advice Needed

Postby buck » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:46 pm

Thanks for clarifying. From your earlier posts it seemed quite general but I see that the documentation does specifically address the issues of reading and memory.


swimmer10000 wrote:Dear Mr. Anon,

Black and white thinking can be useful but in terms of humanity I always try to look more into the grey as to people's situations.




You have a great attitude and I wish you the best.




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