Learning Needs Evaluation Center
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I have been diagnosed with a disability and need accommodations?
Students who have been previously diagnosed with a disability condition should register with the LNEC by presenting documentation of their condition(s) for review. Copies of the LNEC’s written guidelines for documentation can be obtained at LNEC or online. Pending review of this documentation, appropriate accommodations will be provided.
How do I find out what accommodations I am eligible for?
If you submitted documentation to LNEC for consideration of accommodations, an LNEC staff member will contact you to set up an appointment to review what accommodations are most appropriate. If you go through the LNEC evaluation process and are ultimately diagnosed with a disability requiring accommodations, we ask that the report of this evaluation be submitted to LNEC for review. Following this review, you will have a second feedback session with an LNEC clinician to discuss accommodations.
What If I want to request an accommodation for which I am not initially approved?
You can request additional accommodations via the accommodation request form ("green sheet") and/or through making an appointment with one of the LNEC clinicians. The appropriateness of this request will then be reviewed.
I receive accommodations in my classes. Will this be on my transcript?
While student’s academic/Association Deans will be informed that a student receives accommodations, this is not documented on academic transcripts. The exception to this is in the case of a modification of a core requirement. For example, in the case of a modification of the foreign language requirement, the transcript reads "Foreign Language requirement modified."
How are professors informed of my need for accommodations? Will they know my diagnosis(es)?
Recommendations for accommodations in specific courses are generally described in letters to faculty which are delivered by the student. Students are encouraged to discuss their needs with faculty as early as possible in the semester so that sufficient time is available to arrange for the requested accommodations. Specific diagnoses are not listed in the accommodation letters; however, general descriptors about the student’s difficulties are offered.
I am nervous about talking to my instructors. How should I approach them about my need for accommodations?
The vast majority of professors at UVa are used to the accommodations process and have seen accommodation memos before. Most students find it helpful to approach them immediately after class or in office hours, which affords them more privacy to discuss their needs. Right before class and/or during class are generally not good times in that the professors are usually busy preparing for the day’s work. If one of your professors is unfamiliar with the accommodations process, explain that you have documentation on file at LNEC and what accommodations you are requesting. You can encourage them to call LNEC for clarification. Remember, faculty are a vital part of ensuing that accommodations process runs smoothly. It is important to give them ample notice prior to exams and to check in with them about details.
I spoke to my professor during the first week of class about my accommodations and them reminded him again a few days before the exam. However, during the test, he said I could not have the extended time that was approved. What do I do?
While it is certainly not anticipated that this type of difficulty will occur, if you do have problems with a professor providing the appropriate accommodations, please contact the LNEC Director. She will attempt to resolve the issue by making contact with the faculty member and/or other parties, as necessary.
I am receiving notes in several of my classes. How often should I check my notebook?
Students check their notebooks at different rates, but you should plan on checking yours at least once a week in order to ensure that any problems in receiving them can be straightened out well in advance of exams. Students who request notetaking, but do not pick up their notes for the entire semester will have the appropriateness of this service reconsidered for the following term.
Does receiving notes mean I do not need to go to class?
No. Notes are generally meant to be a supplement, not a substitute, for a student’s own notes. Students who do not use them in this way will have the appropriateness of the service reconsidered.
What do I do if I am not getting the notes I requested?
Contact the Notetaking Program Coordinator whenever their are problems with notetaking. However, remember that it is your responsibility to return to LNEC the volunteer sign-up sheet to ensure that we can distribute the notebooks in a timely fashion.
Can I get a foreign language waiver?
The University of Virginia does not waive the Foreign Language Requirement. The student who qualifies for the Foreign Language Memo is expected to make a good faith effort in a foreign language course with accommodations as designed by the Language Coordinator. If after a sufficient trial period, the Language Coordinator determines that even with accommodations and maximum effort by the student that the course is unworkable, the Language Coordinator may recommend in writing to the student’s Association Dean that the Foreign Language Requirement be modified allowing the student to take courses approved by the Association Dean that are taught in English. Please see the University Foreign Language Accommodation Policy for details.
I am eligible for accommodations at the University and was last evaluated my senior year in high school. Do I need to be retested during my third or fourth year to continue receiving them?
Not to continue receiving accommodations at the University. Your documentation, once approved, is good for the time you are here. You will, however, want to consider whether you will be requesting accommodations in graduate school or for different standardized tests (e.g., MCAT, LSAT, GRE). Most Universities and these testing boards also require that documentation be current (generally within 3-5 years). It is a good idea to check into what is required at the schools to which you are applying and to review the guidelines for nonstandardized testing for the relevant testing board. Most of these guidelines are available online.
What should I do if I think I may have a disability?
Individuals who suspect they have physical or medical impairments should consult with their relevant medical providers. Individuals with emotional difficulties are encouraged to contact either LNEC or CAPS for diagnostic and treatment recommendations. Individuals who suspect they have a learning disability, attentional disorder, and/or are unclear as to why they are having academic difficulty are encouraged to contact LNEC and make an appointment for an initial interview, or intake evaluation. The goal of this interview is to better assess the students’ difficulties and potential contributing factors in order to make appropriate recommendations. In some instances, neuropsychological screening evaluations may be recommended as a means to further assess the possibility of a learning disability or attentional disorder. Screenings are provided to all students as part of their student fees. If the results of the screening evaluation further support the possibility of a learning disability, attentional disorder, or cognitive weaknesses due to a medical or psychiatric condition, a more comprehensive evaluation may be recommended in order to arrive at a more definitive diagnosis and to determine appropriate academic accommodations. These evaluations are conducted at the students’ expense.
How much do LNEC services cost?
For students, the majority of LNEC services are covered by their student fees. There is no cost for intake, screening, and feedback sessions and/or the time management/study strategy workshops that are offered. However, comprehensive diagnostic testing is generally referred out into the community and is at the student’s expense. Charges may also be incurred for specific assistance (e.g., registering for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic), but there is generally no cost to the student for specific accommodations.
Will my parents know the results of my evaluation?
No. Parents will not be informed of the results of an evaluation without students’ written consent.
How can I contact LNEC?
The LNEC is located in the Elson Student Health Building at 400 Brandon Avenue across Jefferson Park Avenue from Hospital Drive. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during the Fall and Spring semesters and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during semester breaks and the summer. Appointments can be made by calling 243-5180.
I just received an accommodation letter from a student. What do I do?
Students are encouraged to meet with faculty members individually to discuss the recommended accommodations. The purpose of this meeting is to work out details regarding the provision of accommodations by discussing how they should be used (e.g., for extended test taking time – when the student should take the exam, etc.). Any changes in requested accommodations should be written on the accommodation memo and returned to LNEC. All accommodation memos should be signed and returned to LNEC. Any questions regarding how to implement or the appropriateness of certain accommodation requests should be directed to the LNEC director.
I am concerned that the requested accommodation violates the integrity of my course. What do I do?
Contact the LNEC Director as soon as possible to discuss your concerns and, if appropriate, to discuss feasible alternatives. The LNEC director and/or other clinical staff is available to meet with faculty and students as needed.
A student presented me with an accommodation letter requesting extra test taking time for the first time five minutes before an exam. What do I do?
Students are encouraged by LNEC staff to be timely in their requests, but, on occasion, are unable to do so. If you are able, provide the extended test taking time, but remind the student that he/she needs to work out arrangements prior to the next exam. If you are unable to provide the time, contact the LNEC immediately to work out alternate arrangements.
I have several students with approved requests for extra test time and a private room. I don’t have the space or time to offer this.
Many professors feel comfortable having students take exams on their own accord on the honor system. However, if this is not something with which you feel comfortable, please contact the LNEC Disabilities Services Coordinator as soon as possible to work out an alternative. In some instances, we may be able to provide space at LNEC and arrange to pick up and/or drop-off completed exams. In other instances, we can work with your department to potentially schedule an alternate test time/place with a proctor.
A student presented me with a letter that says she has "test anxiety" and "weaknesses in attention and concentration." Don’t all students struggle with this?
The difficulties you mentioned are on a continuum. While many students struggle with some facet of them, they do not typically rise to the level of a disability condition. All students who receive accommodations through LNEC have had their documentation reviewed to ensure that (a) they have a disability – i.e., they suffer from significant functional limitations in major life activity; and (b) accommodations are appropriate. For these students, the difficulties listed on the accommodation memo are generally on the extreme end of the continuum.
I have a student in my class who I think has a disability. How do I refer them to the LNEC?
This can often be a sensitive topic and it is important to be attuned to the student’s needs. For students who continue to struggle despite what appears to be their best effort, you may simply want to refer them to LNEC as a means of determining whether their study habits are appropriate. They are also welcome to take part in our time management/study strategy workshops offered each term. It is generally not advisable to say " I think you have a learning (or other) disability." The best approach is more typically to be supportive, in private, and non-directive, such as simply informing the student of the existence, academic services offered by, and location of the LNEC.
Should I change my grading requirements for students with disabilities?
The purpose of accommodations is to "level the playing field" versus provide an advantage. What that means is that the accommodations provided are to ensure that a student has equal access within the educational environment; accommodations are tailored to their specific needs. Thus, extra time is afforded to a student who takes longer to read the test to ensure he/she has the same opportunity to take in the material as a student who does not have a disability in this area. What this does not mean is that the student who receives the extra time should be automatically awarded an "A" or that a faculty member should change how he/she grades the content of the exam. The student’s responses should be graded on their own merit, in the same manner in which other students are graded in the class. If you have concern about grading and/or how a specific accommodation will affect the integrity of your course, please call the LNEC Director for consultation.
Will I still be able to be as involved in my student’s accommodation plan as I was in high school?
Likely not. Once a student is 18 years old and in college, they are generally considered an adult, and all services provided by LNEC (including evaluations) are considered confidential. This means that they generally cannot be discussed without the student’s express written consent. If you are concerned about your student’s accommodations, you are welcome to let us know and we can contact the student (or encourage you to have him/her contact us) to discuss them. We also always welcome comments and/or feedback.
Will you automatically know if my student is having difficulty in his/her classes?
No. Unlike teachers and counselors in high school, we are unable to track student’s progress in every class. While we are happy to assist them when they are having difficulty, we leave it up to the student to request such intervention. As a parent, the best thing you can do is to encourage your son/daughter to maintain contact with the LNEC before problems arise. However, be aware that some students prefer to go about the process on their own.