Referrals for diagnosis of suspected learning disabilities
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Referrals for Diagnosis of Suspected Learning Disabilities:. Suggestions for Practitioners . Table of Contents. Getting ready for testing Working with the diagnostician The teacher observes a student that fails to make effective progress. Is the student 16 to 21?

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Table of Contents

  • Getting ready for testing

  • Working with the diagnostician

  • The teacher observes a student that fails to make effective progress.

    • Is the student 16 to 21?

    • Does the student have an employment or job improvement goal?

    • Does the student receive a cash benefit from DTA?

    • Is the student enrolled in a college or university ABE transition program?

    • Does the student have private insurance?


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Getting ready for testing

  • Rule out any medical reason for why a student is not learning. Medical, audiological, and vision examinations should be done before a referral for diagnostic testing.

  • If the student has academic records, or has been screened or tested before, the student might want to share this information with the diagnostician. If so, get permission from the student to share this information with the diagnostician.

  • If the teacher has specific questions that he/she would like to ask the diagnostician, the teacher should put his/her questions in writing. Get permission from the student to share these questions with the diagnostician.


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Working with the diagnostician

  • A diagnostician who has experience in testing adults is highly recommended.

  • A diagnostician who has experience with or has knowledge about learning disabilities is an asset to the student and teacher.

  • The diagnostician should explain to the student, in lay-language, what his or her learning disabilities are and how this might affect how he or she learns and functions in the classroom, workplace, and community.

  • The diagnostician should put in writing the accommodations the student will require in the classroom, workplace, and community.


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The teacher observes a student who fails to make effective progress in class.

  • Is the student is 16 to 21? If so:

  • With the student’s permission, the teacher or counselor makes a referral to Program Quality Assurance (PQA) at the Department of Education.

  • 781-338-3000 or www.doe.mass.edu


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The teacher observes a student who fails to make effective progress in class.

  • Does the student have an employment or job improvement goal? If so:

  • With the student’s permission, the teacher or counselor makes a referral to Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC).

  • 617-204-3600 or www.mass.gov/mrc


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The teacher observes a student that is failing to make effective progress in class.

  • Does the student receive a cash benefit from DTA? If so:

  • With the student’s permission, the teacher or counselor contacts the student’s Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) counselor to schedule an appointment for an assessment.

  • 617-348-8400 or www.mass.gov/dta


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The teacher observes a student that is failing to make effective progress in class.

  • Is the student enrolled in a college or university ABE transition program? If so, the student may be eligible for services.

  • With the student’s permission, the teacher or counselor makes a referral to Student Disability Services at the college or university.


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The teacher observes a student that is failing to make effective progress in class.

  • Does the student have private insurance? If so:

  • The teacher or counselor might refer the student to one of the following:

    • Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Learning Disorders Unit

      • 617-726-2664

    • International Dyslexia Association (IDA) of Massachusetts

      • 617-650-0011 or www.interdys.org

    • Teaching Hospital

      • Neuropsychology Department


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