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I AM: Monday, August 16, 2021

On August 16th, we showcased the 2021 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Paralympics is the third largest world participation event. Physically challenged athletes compete in 22 different sports against others with similar disabilities. We had 6 hometown-based Maryland US Paralympians who competed.

We were honored to have Ms. Deanna Ballard, a Baltimore-based Personal Trainer located at UnderArmor, who trained three of our USA Tokyo Paralympians. Go USA!!!

Recording of the Independence Amplified Maryland event from August 16, 2021.

Don’t forget to visit our registration website to donate to support these events or register for upcoming calls!

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Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Educational Resources Series: Start Now, August 2021

Testing Accommodations for ACT®

Start Now: Read below to learn how to request accommodations for the ACT® college admission exam.

What Kinds of Accommodations May I Request?

Students may request accommodations from the ACT to make the testing experience accessible to them. Examples of potential accommodation requests include braille tests, tactile graphics, the use of a scribe, accessible assistive technology, and extended time. Read more about the types of requested accommodations in the ACT® WorkKeys® Accessibility Supports Guide.

Timing of ACT® Accommodations Requests

In order to receive testing accommodations for the ACT®, an individual must submit a written request for those accommodations as well as documentation of the individual’s need for those accommodations.

The ACT® requires that accommodation request submissions be made well before the testing date, and no later than the late registration deadline. However, please note that submitting accommodations requests as soon as possible will increase the likelihood that you will secure all needed accommodations because it will provide time for any advocacy that may be required to secure and implement needed accommodations. You may view the test dates and registration deadlines here.

How to Request ACT® Exam Accommodations

There are multiple steps for requesting ACT® testing accommodations:

  • Test Registration: A student may begin the accommodations process by registering for the test and indicating during registration that the student is requesting testing accommodations. ACT® will then send an email that must be given to the school, along with a release form.
  • Required Documentation: The student may then work with the school to submit relevant documentation, such as an IEP or 504 plan, to the ACT® through its online portal system.
  • Accommodations Approval: Requests for accommodations are normally approved within 10 and 14 business days, and the approval will be sent directly to the school. Once the request is approved, the student will need to submit photo identification either to the school as a special testing center or the national testing center as assigned.
  • If not testing through or working with the school, the student and the family will need to fill out an application independently. Find out more about the independent application process here.

Recent Announcement about ACT® Testing Accommodations

Recently, the ACT® announced that any accommodation request that is documented on a student’s IEP or 504 Plan is “allowable” as an ACT® testing accommodation. If a student is requesting an accommodation that is not documented on the IEP or 504 plan, the student may still request that accommodation but must provide additional documentation to certify the need for the accommodation. Examples include an accommodations plan used by the school outside of an IEP or 504 plan or a former IEP or 504 plan that details that the student has benefited from the specified accommodation in the past. The ACT® also has an exception request form that individuals may use if they are unable to provide these documents to demonstrate the use of the requested accommodation. Read more about ACT® testing accommodations documentation and access the exception request form.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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I AM: Monday, August 9, 2021

Problem gambling is a public health concern and is comprised of a spectrum consisting of multiple levels of gambling problems, from at-risk gambling to gambling disorders. Research suggests that individuals with a disability may be at increased risk of having or developing a gambling problem. It is important that those who have a disability, their family members, and professionals working with this population be aware of warning signs of problem gambling (PG) and the resources available for help. There are positive and significant associations between disordered gambling and substance use, mood, anxiety, and personality disorders.

Recording of the Independence Amplified Maryland event from August 9, 2021.

Don’t forget to visit our registration website to donate to support these events or register for upcoming calls!

Categories
Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Educational Resources Series: Start Now, August 2021

Testing Accommodations for College Board Tests (PSAT®, SAT®, AP®, CLEP®, Accuplacer®)

Start Now: Find out how to get started with requesting accommodations for College Board exams, including the PSAT®, SAT®, AP®, and CLEP®, and Accuplacer®

What Kinds of Accommodations May I Request?

Students may request accommodations from the College Board to make the testing experience accessible to them. Examples of potential accommodation requests include braille tests, tactile graphics, the use of a scribe, accessible assistive technology, and extended time. Read more about the types of requested accommodations here.

How Do I Request Accommodations?

Most students request accommodations through their Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator. Usually, SSD coordinators are special education staff or guidance counselors. These individuals have access to a portal on the College Board’s website that allows them to submit accommodations requests on the student’s behalf. The SSD coordinator will have the student’s parent or guardian fill out the parent/guardian consent form (or the student will fill it out themselves if the individual is 18 years or older). The SSD coordinator will then enter details about the student’s disability as well as the accommodations needed/requested. The SSD will also provide supporting documentation, such as the student’s IEP or 504 Plan. The online portal will alert the SSD coordinator if any additional documentation is needed and will provide the family with information about the status of the accommodations request. Read more about requesting accommodations with your SSD coordinator here.

May I Submit an Accommodations Request Without the SSD Coordinator?

If a student is homeschooled, the school does not have an SSD coordinator, or the family chooses to request accommodations outside of the school, they may elect to submit an accommodations request independent from the school and without the assistance of the SSD coordinator. These requests cannot be processed online, must be conducted through mail or fax, and always require additional documentation. Documentation may involve doctors’ notes which specify the medical need for a particular accommodation, teachers’ surveys, or other documents. Read more about submitting accommodations independent from the school here.

When Do I Submit My Accommodations Request?

Whether you are submitting through the school or separately, it can take up to seven weeks to process an accommodations request, so almost all of the accommodations request deadlines are roughly two months before the test date. That said, a good rule of thumb is, the earlier, the better! This is especially true if you need an alternative formatted test, such as hard copy braille. View all of the 2021 and 2022 testing dates and the corresponding accommodations request deadlines at this link.

What about CLEP® and Accuplacer® exams?

  • CLEP® exams are similar to AP® exams and scores can earn college credit at many schools.
  • Accuplacer® exams are used by many community colleges and four-year colleges and universities to determine placement in entry-level classes in English, writing, science, and mathematics.
  • The College Board does not administer either the CLEP® exam or the Accuplacer® exam. For this reason, SSD approval is not required, but the student will need to communicate with the entity administering the exam to secure needed accommodations. Read more about accommodations on CLEP® and Accuplacer® exams here.

Additional Tips for Requesting Accommodations

  •  When requesting the use of accessible assistive technology, be as specific as possible in the accommodations request. Each software or device must be requested separately. Be sure to include exact product names and any software version numbers.
  • Remember that requesting accommodations does not also register a student for the test in question. Once accommodations are approved, students will be given an accommodations eligibility code, which must be entered when registering for the test.
  • Be sure to contact the test center or school before the testing date to clarify that the student will be receiving accommodations. If the student will be testing on a date separate from the specified test date, be sure to clarify this as well.
  • If a student is taking the CLEP® exam, this exam is not administered through the College Board and thus SSD approval is not required. Read more about CLEP® exams here.

* Acronyms Used

AP® = Advanced Placement®

CLEP® = College-Level Examination Program®

PSAT® = Preliminary SAT®

SAT® = Nothing anymore, used to stand for “Scholastic Aptitude Test”

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.