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Disability Services

Documentation Requirements

Documentation should verify the substantial limitation of a major life activity and support requests for accommodation, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids. Student Development regards disability-related information in its possession as educational records and as such recommends that any information provided be limited to that necessary to establish the disability and the right to an academic accommodation. Sufficient documentation varies according to the specific disabling condition. However, general guidelines include: recency of documentation, appropriate clinical documentation to substantiate the condition, evidence to establish a rationale supporting the need for accommodation, and qualifications of the evaluator.

Note that federal law states that a student is not required to submit written documentation of a disability if its effects are visible to the Student Development staff and if the need for all accommodations being requested is readily evident on the basis of those visible effects. These are the only circumstances under which the requirement for written documentation of disability may be waived.

The provision of all reasonable accommodation and services is based upon the assessment of the impact of the functional limitations. So that accommodations are most appropriate to the student's learning environment, documentation should be recent and validate the need for services based on the individual's current level of functioning in the educational setting. A school plan such as an individualized education program (IEP) or a 504 accommodation plan is not sufficient documentation on its own but may be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery.

Should initial documentation not be available, the University has the right to request disability related documentation from the appropriate licensed professional. The Director may also request additional information if initial documentation is either insufficient or incomplete. This information will be used to document a student's functional limitations in the educational setting and to determine reasonable accommodations. The cost of the documentation is the responsibility of the student. Information regarding specific requirements for evaluation and documentation is provided below. The University reserves the right to deny accommodation pending receipt of the documentation.

Accommodation
Receiving accommodations should not be regarded as giving the student "special privileges," but rather as minimizing the impact of the disability to the greatest extent possible. It is important to remember that the professor expects the same academic performance from all students regardless of disability. The ADA and Section 504 did not intend that universities pass students because of a disability.

Decisions regarding appropriate accommodations are based upon the particular facts of each case, including the student interview, documentation, and other information relevant to the disabling condition. An accommodation plan is developed between the Director and the student. The recommended accommodations are written on a service contract and a letter of verification. It is the responsibility of the student to deliver letters of verification to the appropriate faculty/staff. Failure to notify the appropriate persons in a timely manner may result in the delay or interruption of services. Once notified, it is the responsibility of the student and faculty to work together in carrying out the recommended accommodations.

Accommodations may include physical adaptations and classroom modifications. Physical adaptations include classroom arrangements, preferential seating, and accessible parking. Classroom modifications may occur in one or more of the following areas: environment, presentation, materials, requirements, and testing. Academic assistance is also available through general campus resources, such as the Writing Center, the Math Help Lab, and adaptive technology.

Documentation for students with ADHD should:

  • be from a qualified professional (e.g., physician, licensed psychologist or neuropsychologist);
  • include a comprehensive social history as well as an educational and psychological assessment;
  • identify an actual diagnosis of impairment according to DSM-IV-TR; discuss functional limitations in an academic environment which are caused by the impairment;
  • recommend accommodations to compensate for identified functional limitations; and
  • list current medication, dosages, and existing side effects.

Documentation for students with hearing impairments should:

  • be from a licensed audiologist;
  • discuss the functional limitations in an academic environment which are caused by the impairment; and
  • describe accommodations to compensate for identified functional limitations.

Documentation for students with a specific learning disability should:

  • be from a qualified professional (e.g., licensed psychologist, neuropsychologist, or certified educational diagnostician);
  • identify an actual diagnosis of impairment;
  • include a thorough diagnostic interview, including developmental, psychosocial and academic histories, a discussion of the absences of medical basis for the symptoms, and a discussion of dual diagnoses where indicated;
  • consist of a comprehensive neuropsychological or psycho educational evaluation resulting in the diagnosis of a specific learning disability, including an assessment of aptitude, achievement, and information processing;
  • address current limitations caused the impairment; and
  • suggest reasonable accommodations to compensate for the limitations and which are supported by the diagnosis.

Documentation for students with physical impairments should:

  • be from a qualified professional (e.g., physician, licensed psychologist, or neuropsychologist);
  • identify an actual diagnosis of impairment;
  • discuss the functional limitations in an academic environment which are caused by the impairment;
  • recommend accommodations to compensate for identified functional limitations, and
  • list current medication, dosages and existing side effects.

Documentation for students with psychological impairments should:

  • be from a qualified professional (e.g., psychiatrist, licensed professional counselor, board certified social worker);
  • identify an actual diagnosis of impairment according to the DSM-IV-TR;
  • discuss functional limitations in an academic environment which are caused by the impairment;
  • recommend accommodations to compensate for identified limitation; and
  • list current medication, dosages, and existing (not possible) side effects.

Documentation for students with visual impairments should:

  • be from a qualified professional (optometrist, ophthalmologist);
  • discuss functional limitations in an academic environment which are caused by the impairment; and
  • recommend accommodations to compensate for identified functional limitations.