Learning Disabilities and the ADA: Licensing Exam Accommodations in the Wake of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008
This Article argues that the courts must be cognizant of Congress' intention to broaden the scope of the ADA, especially in regard to reading impaired individuals who request reasonable accommodations on licensing exams. Part I examines the ADA's protections for individuals with learning disabilities. Part II discusses the applicability of the ADA to licensing exams, including state bar exams. Part III examines case law over the past twenty years pertaining to learning impaired individuals who have requested accommodations on licensing exams. Part IV analyzes the ADAAA and focuses on its potential to change the status quo for learning impaired individuals who request accommodations on licensing exams. Finally, Part V puts forth recommendations for the courts to provide appropriate standards for individuals requesting accommodations on licensing exams under the amended ADA. Specifically, this Article suggests that: (1) courts should no longer foreclose the finding of a substantially limiting impairment in regard to the major life activity of reading due to an individual's academic success; (2) "working" should be recognized as an appropriate major life activity under which to evaluate claims for accommodations on the bar exam (and possibly other licensing exams), with such evaluations involving a comparison to most people having comparable training, skills, and abilities; and (3) reading disabilities should be recognized not only by psychometric tests that show a substantial limitation in comparison to most people, but also by test scores that indicate a significant discrepancy between an individual's intellectual capacity and actual reading ability. By following these recommendations, the courts will be able to evaluate future claims for accommodations on licensing exams with standards that reflect Congress' intention to provide a broad scope of protection under the ADA.
M. Patrick Yingling,
Learning Disabilities and the ADA: Licensing Exam Accommodations in the Wake of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008,
59 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol59/iss3/3