If your child has a learning disability, they may be eligible for SAT and ACT testing accommodations. When testing accommodations were added to standardized tests, the goal was to “level the playing field” for students with disabilities, and encourage them to pursue a college education. If you believe your child is one of the many students who can benefit from a quieter room, addition breaks, a testing aid, or a number of other services, this is how you can apply for them.
What are the SATs and ACTs?
Both the SATs and ACTs are standardized tests taken by high school aged students, and used for college admissions. The tests are designed to assess a student’s preparedness for college.

SAT and ACT Accommodations
The SATs and ACTs offer numerous accommodations, however these are the most popular:
  • Extended time
  • The use of a computer for essays
  • Extra or extended breaks
  • Reading accommodations
  • The use of a calculator for math sections
  • Multiple-day testing

Applying for SAT Accommodations Through Your Child’s High School
  1. First, you and your child should decide on a test date. The SATs are offered multiple times a year, so you should decide on a date that will allow your child adequate time to prepare. You should apply for accommodations before registering for the SATs.
  2. Contact your child’s special education guidance counselor or caseworker and tell him/her that your child wishes to take the SATs. Then, discuss which accommodations would be the best for your child.
  3. Make sure that the school has a record of your child’s special needs history, including previous testing accommodations they have received, and any special education classes they were enrolled in.
  4. Ask your child’s caseworker to fill out an online application for SAT accommodations on the College Board’s Service for Student’s with Disabilities (SSD) website.
  5. Within a few weeks, you should receive an approval letter in the mail. In addition to the approval letter, you will receive an SSD number. Make sure to provide that number when asked if you would like to receive special accommodations.

Applying for ACT Accommodations
There are three different ways you can apply for different accommodations, however this is how to apply for the most common one – National Extended Time.
  1. Unlike for the SATs, you should register for the ACT exam first, before requesting special accommodations.
  2. Print out the admission ticket you receive after registering for the exam.
  3. Contact your child’s high school or special education case worker and gather the appropriate documentation.
  4. Fill out the Request for ACT Extended Time National Testing and submit it to ACT for approval.


Are you or someone you know looking to find your path on the way to success, while having a learning disability? Debra Solomon of Spectrum Strategies helps young adults with autism and other learning disabilities identify their strengths and challenges to help find a job, vocational program, or college that best fits them!