Learning Disability Assessment for College
Advice, discussions, and reviews from the
Parents of Teens weekly email newsletter.
Berkeley Parents Network >
Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults >
Learning Disability Assessment for College
We are considering UC Berkeley Psychology Clinic for a learning
assessment for our high school senior. The assessment is needed
in order to qualify for disability services at college. The
testing is conducted by graduate students under the supervision
of UC faculty. I am wondering if we will get as comprehensive a
report and recommendations as we would, if we chose a licensed
psychologist experienced in the field. There is a significant
cost savings if we choose UC.
A few years ago, I worked with the UC Berkeley Psychology Dept. for my
daughter. She had a graduate student who was supervised by the best in the
field (cognitive behavioral therapy for panic disorder in our case), a top
guy in Berkeley. We never met or heard about him, but the counselors she had
- 2 over the course of 3 semesters - were excellent. They were clear in
their diagnoses, flexible and allowing choice in ideas for further
treatment, and totally positive and forward looking about my daughter's
future. And they were supportive of her place in her family, her
relationship with me and respectful of me in their general attitude while
allowing the experience to be her own confidential thing, she was 16-17.
This was important because bonding with a girl that age over her natural
developmentally appropriate rejection of her mother would be an easy cheap
trick and they didn't do it. (Not all that can be said for a supposedly
experienced therapist she saw later.) Their age actually made them more
approachable for her. What she learned there was the foundation for further
self examination. That was our experience.
My daughter was evaluated by the UC Berkeley clinic in 2006 when she was in
high school. The report was extremely helpful to us as parents and to the
staff of the high school as well. I am a professional in the field of LD,
have seen many reports and appreciated how the UC report not only gave
results but also gave the observations of the process as my daughter was
We had our son evaluated by a grad student at the UCB clinic and got a
thorough evaluation and helpful report. We needed it for services in high
school and we'll use it now for college support. The grad students are
supervised and a licensed psychologist signs the report as well. I've seen
other reports via my work and they are all solid.
My daughter presently has a 504 plan due to ADD and dyslexia at her
public HS. UC Irvine is requesting a whole new battery of testing by
a psychologist or neurologist. Has anyone used private insurance for
testing? I'm hoping if I find a neurologist my insurance will cover
most of it. Right now the well known psychologists are going for
$4200 to $6000 for the testing battery.
Anyone been there done that? Advice? I'm thinking of going with
Dr.Grandison if I choose a psychologist.
Try the UC Berkeley School of Psychology Clinic or the Ann Martin Center in Oakland
(www.annmartin.org) both provide the sort of testing you are looking for and are much less
expensive than the price you mentioned.
My daughter was tested at the Ann Martin Center and I know someone who used the UC
Berkeley Clinic. Both are in high demand and may not be able to accommodate you right
away but are very competent and well worth the savings.
I also have a high schooler with a 504 plan due to health issues and
ADD. I'd love to hear more from the parent whose child received a
request from UC Irvine for additional testing. Could you please
elaborate on what kind of accommodations college students would be
eligible for? Also, how did UC know about your child's circumstances?
Is this something you are required to reveal in the application
process? Does it help/hurt in terms of admissions?
I had been told that assessments are valid for three years. Therefore
if your child is a sophomore, you would need to have a fresh
assessment to see you through the rest of high school and to be
eligible for accommodations on the standardized tests. What I don't
know is what happens once the child starts college. Do you need to
get yet another assessment to have on file with the college? If so,
who do you meet with and get help from? Anyone with experience on
this care to weigh in?
I have heard college admissions folks from Stanford, UC Davis, and
St. Mary's all say that they really want to know when students who
are applying have learning issues, but then they also all went on to
say that admission to their respective institutions was based on high
test scores, high gpa, etc. The impression they left with me was
that, yes, they want to know, but no, such students don't receive any
special consideration. If anything, such students are expected to do
just as well as their peers despite having additional challenges to
overcome. I'd love for parents of college-aged students who have
learning issues to share with us what their experiences with these
issues have been. What advice can you share with the rest of us?
I have had a lot of experience with both the testing process and the
local testers. I've never been able to get insurance to pay for it
although some companies will depending on your child's diagnosis. I
strongly recommend Dr. Jack Davis (510)693-8439 whose office is in
Lafayette. He is simply the best and most thorough I've met and he is
more reasonable than most. I'd be glad to talk about specific testers
if you e-mail me
Hopefully, the psychologist has recommended an Individual Education
Plan (IEP) because your son appears to have a disability interfering
with his education. You have the legal right to request it if not. As
soon as you notify the school of a suspected disability, a series of
legal protections kicks in for your kid, including required
psychoeducational testing at the school's expense. Because this
focuses only on education, I recommended more comprehensive
psychological testing in addition. We did this with my daughter after
she was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. The terrific psychologist
who did hers is Dr. Richard Pollack at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley.
We paid only $1400, part of which was reimbursed by our private
health insurance (he submitted a claim for us). It was worth every
penny. He really got to know her and his insights, diagnoses and
recommendations were tremendously helpful. You can reach him by
calling his Walnut Creek office (925-945-1355) or Herrick Hospital's
Adolescent Psych unit and asking how to reach him. Another option is
the public UC Psychology Clinic in Berkeley (510-642-2055), which
offers detailed psychological testing for only $20!
Our son was tested by a pediatric neuropsychologist, Dr. Alex
Peterson, last year when he was 13. The testing revealed a diagnosis
of ADHD. The cost was around $4000 and much to my surprise and
delight, our insurance (Anthem Blue Cross) covered most of it. It
sounds like your child will be tested a 2nd time and the purpose of
the testing is not medical management, so the coverage in your
situation may be different. Dr. Peterson was recommended by our
pediatrician and I recommend him without hesitation--he is pleasant,
appropriate, knowledgable, and has gone out of his way to help with
our school and teachers--in a word, fantastic.
His office is in the Montclair area and his # is 510-531-0500.
Re-testing is required for accommodations in college because the
original tests are usually normed for youngsters, and colleges
require testing results that are normed for adults.
My son had a double diagnosis of a learning disability and ADHD. As
it turned out, accommodations based on the ADHD required only
documentation from the psychiatrist. Accommodations based on the
learning disability would have required re-testing. (There is an
explanation for the difference -- I wish I could remember it...)
All my son needs is extra time on tests, so the simple way worked out
perfectly for us. If he had needed more complex accomodations, there
would have been no way out of the re-testing. (For example: a person
to take notes for him, or recorded textbooks, or other things I'm not
really familiar with.)
One last thing -- especially if re-testing turns out to be
necessary. Reading the other posts, and the amounts that people have
paid for testing leaves me a bit breathless. We went to the UC
Berkeley Psychology Clinic and, for almost nothing, received the most
careful, caring, and comprehensive testing imaginable. It is
definitely an option to explore.
this page was last updated: Sep 30, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network