January 24, 2018

Documentation Guidelines

Purpose

The Student Disability (SDC) reserves the right to request appropriate documentation from a student who self-identifies as having a disability/impairment or chronic physical or mental health condition to confirm:

  • the presence of a specific disability (impairment) or physical or mental health condition,
  • the disability/impairment or physical or mental health condition substantially limits a student in this academic environment, and/or
  • a particular accommodation is required in order to ensure an equal opportunity to participate in, or benefit from, a university program.

Verification of the presence of a disability (impairment) or physical or mental health condition is one of the first step in determining a student’s eligibility for accommodations and/or support from SDC. It is also used to help determine what may be the most appropriate accommodation for a particular need. All accommodations requested and provided must be consistent with the type of disability/impairment or physical or mental health condition presented.

Requirements

Documentation must be from a professional, unrelated to the student, who is trained and qualified (i.e. certified and/or licensed) to evaluate/diagnose/assess the particular disability or health condition. These professionals include, but are not limited to, medical doctors, psychologists, audiologists, ophthalmologists, and educational diagnosticians.

Documentation must include the letterhead of the professional providing the evaluation/diagnosis/assessment and include the name, address, and qualifications of the professional.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or Section 504 Plans from K-12 institutions may be submitted providing they include a specific identified disability (impairment) or chronic physical or mental health condition. Statements regarding current functional abilities are also preferred if a disability/impairment is likely to impact a student’s academic performance.

General Guidelines

Depending upon the disability/impairment or chronic physical or mental health condition, documentation should be as current as possible. In addition, assessments and evaluations of functional limitations should be age appropriate (e.g. for learning disabilities).

Documentation for any disability/impairment or chronic physical or mental health condition should include as much of the following as possible:

  • diagnosis of disability/impairment or physical or mental health condition, including clinical history that establishes the onset, or date of diagnosis
  • duration and/or prognosis
  • procedures used to diagnose/evaluate/assess the disability (impairment) or physical or mental health condition
  • description of any medical and/or behavioral symptoms associated with the disability/impairment or physical or mental health condition
  • identification of medications, and side effects, that could significantly impact the student in an academic environment
  • statement specifying functional limitations caused by the particular disability/impairment or physical or mental health condition
  • any recommended accommodations, including rationale, associated with the identified functional limitations (note: recommendations are not considered mandatory).

Disability Specific Guidelines

In addition, it is helpful if documentation for students with specific non-apparent disabilities/impairments includes as much of the following as possible:

For Specific Learning Disabilities:

  • Current aptitude, as derived from a recognized intellectual assessment, including scores of subtests
  • Current academic achievement, as derived from a recognized battery of achievement tests, including the current levels of functioning in areas such as: reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written expression
  • Current ability to process information, including short- and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed, executive functioning, and motor ability, as appropriate to the specific learning disability

For Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD):

  • Procedures used to diagnose the disability, including a list of all assessment instruments
  • Discussion of testing results and behavior, including the symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis (if medication was a factor in the assessment, please indicate the effects it may have had on performance)
  • DSM-IV or V, including all five axes
  • Summary statement addressing substantial limitations caused by this condition, recommended medications for the student, and recommended accommodations in an academic environment

For Mental Heath Conditions:

  • Current treatment program, if any, including current medications and on-going support
  • DSM-IV or V diagnosis, including all five axes
  • Summary statement that includes a description of how the condition substantially limits the student (especially in an academic environment), potential effect of medications on performance, recommended accommodations in an academic environment, and other support that might be required for the student to function in an academic environment

For Other non-apparent Disabilities:

  • Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing: 
    • A current audiogram
  • Visual impairments:
    • The most recent assessment of visual acuity
  • Ambulatory mobility conditions (e.g. injuries to back and other conditions that may impede the ability to move from place to place): 
    • A current functional diagnosis
  • Food intolerance (e.g. celiac) and other health conditions (e.g. epilepsy, severe allergies, etc.) that impact a student’s life: 
    • Verification from appropriate medical professional
  • Any other type of disability (impairment) or chronic physical health condition not covered above:
    • verification of the significant limitations caused by a particular disability (impairment) or physical or mental health condition, as needed to assess individual need