Documentation Requirements

It is illegal for an institution to inquire about disability prior to admission. In postsecondary education, it is the responsibility of the student to identify him/herself to the Disability Services Office should he/she need any kind of accommodation. Students generally will not receive accommodations until their documentation of disability is on file in the Disability Services Office. As the law allows, students undergoing evaluation or awaiting transmittal of their documentation may also receive services and accommodations. Acceptable documentation of disability includes: medical report, physician's statement, psychological evaluation, or psycho-educational evaluation. This list is not meant to be totally inclusive but establishes the tone of accepted documentation. The only exception to this requirement is what is called the "reasonable man rule." That is, if any reasonable person were to see a given student, they would concur that he was disabled.

The links below contain more detailed descriptions of appropriate documentation for specific disabilities.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.” A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major activities as walking, seeing, hearing, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the college in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations. (A school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan is insufficient documentation.) Recommended documentation includes:

  1. Evaluations must be comprehensive. Documentation must show that DSM-IV criteria for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder have been met.
  2. Information and/or test scores to rule out possible diagnoses including medical and psychiatric disorders as well as educational and cultural factors which impact the individual and may result in behaviors mimicking ADHD/ADD.
  3. Documentation must give clear and specific evidence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. A brief statement on a prescription form or letterhead is not acceptable.
  4. The process of diagnosis should be reported, providing test scores and/or appropriate data.
  5. Documentation should reflect the current level of functioning and is dependent on the condition, the current status of the student and the student’s request for reasonable accommodations.
  6. If medication is recommended, this should be noted.
  7. Professional conducting assessment and rendering diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder must be qualified to do so. The person who signs the report must be the one who conducts the evaluation and writes the report. (Documentation by family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable.)

All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center
Room 101

The above example is adapted from:

 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.” A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major activities as walking, seeing, hearing, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the college in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations. (A school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan is insufficient documentation.) Recommended documentation includes:

  1. A clear and current statement of the vision related disability with supporting data (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the condition, the current status of the student and the student’s request for reasonable accommodations).
  2. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and the summary of results including standardized scores.
  3. A summary of present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  4. Medical information relating to the student’s needs and the status of the student’s vision (static or changing) and its impact on the demands of the academic program.
  5. Narrative or descriptive text providing both quantitative and qualitative information about the student’s abilities including the use of corrective lenses and ongoing visual therapy (if appropriate).
  6. Suggestions of reasonable accommodation(s), which might be appropriate at the postsecondary level, are encouraged. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis.

All Documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center

The above example is adapted from:

 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.” A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major activities as walking, seeing, hearing, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning. Chronic health impairments (such as, but not limited to, AIDS, arthritis, Chrohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, respiratory conditions) are considered disabilities under ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the college in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations. (A school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan is insufficient documentation.) Recommended documentation includes:

  1. A clear and current statement of the medical diagnosis of the condition with supporting data (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student, and the student’s request for reasonable accommodations).
  2. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable.
  3. A description of present symptoms, which meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  4. Medical information relating to the student’s needs should include the impact of treatments, medications, devices or services currently prescribed.
  5. Suggestions of reasonable accommodation(s), which might be appropriate at the postsecondary level, are encouraged. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis.

All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Cente

The above example is adapted from:

 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.” A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major activities as walking, seeing, hearing, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the college in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations. A school plan, such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan, is insufficient documentation. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. A clear statement of deafness or hearing loss, with a current audiogram. (The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the condition, the current status of the student, and the student’s request for reasonable accommodations.)
  2. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a narrative summary of evaluation results, if appropriate.
  3. Medical information relating to the student’s needs and the status of the individual’s hearing (static or changing) and its impact on the academic program.
  4. A statement regarding the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants (if appropriate).

Documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Cente

The above example is adapted from:

 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.” A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major activities as walking, seeing, hearing, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning. Head injuries are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. Head Injury or Traumatic Brain Injury is considered a medical or clinical diagnosis.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the college in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations. Documentation from family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable. A school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan is insufficient documentation. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. A clear statement and classification of the head injury or traumatic brain injury including date of injury and classification, and dates pertaining to history of multiple concussions (as applicable).
  2. Documentation should reflect the current level of functioning and is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student’s request for reasonable accommodations.
  3. A summary of cognitive and achievement measures used and evaluation results (neuropsychological report) including standardized scores or percentiles used to make the diagnosis.
  4. A summary of current residual symptoms and cumulative damage (as applicable and as a result of repeated injuries), which meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  5. Medical information relating to the student’s needs should include the impact of treatments, medications, devices or services currently prescribed.
  6. Suggestions of reasonable accommodation(s), which might be appropriate at the postsecondary level are encouraged. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis.

All Documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Cente

The above example is adapted from:

Introduction

In response to the expressed need for guidance related to the documentation of a learning disability in adolescents and adults, the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD) has developed the following guidelines. The primary intent of these guidelines is to provide students, professional diagnosticians and service providers with a common understanding and knowledge base of those components of documentation, which are necessary to validate a learning disability and the need for accommodation. The information and documentation that establishes a learning disability should be comprehensive in order to make it possible for a student to be served in a postsecondary setting.

The document presents guidelines on four important areas:

  1. Qualifications of the evaluator
  2. Recency of documentation
  3. Appropriate clinical documentation to substantiate the learning disability
  4. Evidence to establish a rationale supporting the need for accommodations

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with learning disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and rights of equal access to programs and services; thus the documentation should indicate that the disability substantially limits some major life activity. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that LD documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and to support requests for accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids.

  1. Qualifications of the Evaluator

    Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses of learning disabilities, and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. Comprehensive training and direct experience with an adolescent and adult LD population is essential.

    The name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification (e.g., licensed psychologist) as well as the area of specialization, employment and state/province in which the individual practices should be clearly stated in the documentation. For example, the following professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities provided they have additional training and experience in the assessment of learning problems in adolescents and adults: clinical or educational psychologist, school psychologist, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, medical doctors, and other professionals. Use of diagnostic terminology indicating a learning disability by someone whose training and experience are not in these fields is not acceptable. It is of utmost importance that evaluators are sensitive and respectful of cultural and linguistic differences in adolescents and adults during the assessment process. It is not considered appropriate for professionals to evaluate members of their families. All reports should be on letterhead, typed, signed and otherwise legible.

  2. Documentation

    The provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the impact of the student’s disabilities on his or her academic performance at a given time in the student’s life. Therefore, it is in the student’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation relevant to the student’s learning environment.

    Flexibility in accepting documentation is important, especially in settings with significant numbers of non-traditional students. In some instances, documentation may be outdated or inadequate in scope or content. It may not address the student’s current level of functioning or need for accommodations because observed changes may have occurred in the student’s performance since the previous assessment was conducted. In such cases, it may be appropriate to update the evaluation report, since the purpose of the update, conducted by a qualified professional, should include a rationale for ongoing services and accommodations.

  3. Substantiation of the Learning Disability

    Documentation should 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 plan is insufficient documentation, but it can be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A comprehensive assessment battery and resulting diagnostic report should include a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, information processing and a diagnosis.

    1. Diagnostic Interview

      An evaluation report should include the summary of a comprehensive diagnostic interview. Learning disabilities are commonly manifested during childhood, but not always formally diagnosed. Relevant information regarding the student’s academic history and learning processes in elementary, secondary and postsecondary education should be investigated. The diagnostician, using professional judgment as to which areas are relevant, should conduct a diagnostic interview which may include: a description of the presenting problems(s); developmental, medical, psychosocial and employment histories; family history (including primary language of the home and the student’s current level of English fluency); and a discussion of dual diagnosis where indicated.

    2. Assessment

      The neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation for the diagnosis of a specific learning disability must provide clear and specific evidence that a learning disability does or does not exist. Assessment, and any resulting diagnosis, should consist of and be based on a comprehensive assessment battery that does not rely on any test or subtest.

      Evidence of a substantial limitation to learning or other major life activity must be provided. A list of commonly used tests is included in Addendum B. Minimally, the domains to be addressed must include the following:

      1. Aptitude
        A complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported.
      2. Academic Achievement
        A comprehensive academic achievement battery is essential with all subtests and standard scores reported for those subtests academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written language.
      3. Information Processing
        Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed, executive functioning and motor ability) should be assessed.

      Other assessment measures such as non-standard measures and informal assessment procedures or observations may be helpful in determining performance across a variety of domains. Other formal assessment measures may be integrated with the above instruments to help determine a learning disability and differentiate it from co-existing neurological and/or psychiatric disorders (i.e., to establish a differential diagnosis). In addition to standardized tests, it is also very useful to include informal observations of the student during the test administration.

    3. Specific Diagnosis

      Individual “learning styles,” “learning differences,” “academic problems,” and “test difficulty or anxiety” in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability. It is important to rule out alternative explanations for problems in learning such as emotional, attentional, or motivational problems that may be interfering with learning but do not constitute a learning disability. The diagnostician is encouraged to use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a learning disability, avoiding the use of terms such as “suggests” or “is indicative of.”

    4. Test Scores

      Standard scores and/or percentiles should be provided for all normal measures. Grade equivalents are not useful unless standard scores and/or percentiles are also included. The data should logically reflect a substantial limitation to learning for which the student is requesting the accommodation. The particular profile of the student’s strengths and weaknesses must be shown to relate to functional limitations that may necessitate accommodations. The tests used should be reliable, valid, and should document both the nature and severity of the learning disability. Informal inventories, surveys, and direct observation by a qualified professional may be used in tandem with formal tests in order to further develop a clinical hypothesis.

    5. Clinical Summary

      A well-written diagnostic summary based on a comprehensive evaluation process is a necessary component of the report. Assessment instruments and the data they provide do not diagnose; rather, they provide important elements that must be integrated by the evaluator with background information, observations of the client during the testing situation, and the current context. It is essential, therefore, that professional judgment be utilized in the development of a clinical summary. The clinical summary should include:

      1. Demonstrations of the evaluator’s having ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems as a result of poor education, poor motivation and/or study skills, emotional problems, attentional problems, and cultural/language differences

      2. Indication of how patterns in the student’s cognitive ability, achievement, and information processing reflect the presence of a learning disability

      3. Indication of the substantial limitation to learning or other major life activity presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested

      4. Indication as to why specific accommodations are needed and how the effects of the specific disability are accommodated.

      The summary should also include any record of prior accommodation or auxiliary aids, including any information about specific conditions under which the accommodations were used (e.g., standardized testing, final exams, licensing, or certification examinations).

  4. Recommendations for Accommodations

    It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process. Conversely, a prior history of accommodations does not, in and of itself, warrant the provision of a similar accommodation.

    The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations for accommodations as well as an explanation as to why each accommodation is recommended. The evaluators should describe the impact the diagnosed learning disability has on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual. The evaluator should support recommendations with specific test results or clinical observations.

    If accommodations are not clearly identified in a diagnostic report, the disability service provider should seek clarification and, if necessary, more information. The final determination for providing appropriate and reasonable accommodations rests with the institution.

    In instances where a request for accommodations is denied in a postsecondary institution, a written grievance or appeal procedure should be in place.

  5. Confidentiality

    The receiving institution has a responsibility to maintain confidentiality of the evaluation and may not release any part of the documentation without the student’s informed and written consent

Addenda A and B of this document are attached.

Addendum A

Recommendations for Consumers

  1. For assistance in finding a qualified professional
    1. Contact the disability services coordinator at the institution you attend or plan to attend to discuss documentation needs: and
    2. Discuss your future plans with the disability services coordinator. If additional documentation is required, seek assistance in identifying a qualified professional.
  2. In selecting a qualified professional:
    1. Ask what his/her credentials are
    2. Ask what experiences he/she has had working with adults with learning disabilities
    3. Ask if he/she has ever worked with the service provider at your institution or with the agency to which you are sending material.
  3. In working with the professional:
    1. Take a copy of these guidelines to the professional
    2. Encourage him/her to clarify questions with the person who provided you with these guidelines
    3. Be prepared to be forthcoming, thorough, and honest with requested information
    4. Know that professionals must maintain confidentiality with respect to your records and testing information.
  4. As follow-up to the assessment by the professional:
    1. Request a copy of the assessment report
    2. Request the opportunity to discuss the results and recommendations;
    3. Request additional resources if you need them
    4. Maintain a personal file of your records and reports.
Addendum B

Tests for Assessing Adolescents and Adults

When selecting a battery of tests, it is critical to consider the technical adequacy of instruments including their reliability, validity, and standardization on an appropriate norm group. The professional judgment of an evaluator in choosing tests is important.

The following is provided as a helpful resource, but it is not intended to be definitive or exhaustive.

Aptitude

  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Revised (WAIS-R)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability
  • Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (4th ed.)

(The Slosson Intelligence Test – Revised and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test are primarily screening devices which are not comprehensive enough to provide the kinds of information necessary to make accommodation decisions)

Academic Achievement

  • Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA)
  • Stanford Test of Academic Skills
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery
    Revised: Tests of Achievement
  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)

Other Specific Achievement Tests

  • Nelson-Denny Reading Skills Test
  • Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test
  • Test of Written Language – 3 (TOWL-3)
  • Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests - Revised

(Specific achievement tests are useful instruments when administered under standardized conditions and interpreted within the context of other diagnostic information. The Wide Range Achievement Test – 3 (WRAT-3) is not a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore is not useful if used as the sole measure of ]achievement.)

Information Processing

Acceptable instruments include the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude – 3 (DTLA-3), the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude – Adult (DTLA-A), information from subtests on WAIS-R, Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery – Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability, as well as other relevant instruments.

All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center

The above example is adapted from:

 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who, with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.” A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major activities as walking, seeing, hearing, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning. Physical disabilities (such as, but not limited to, mobility impairments, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, chemical sensitivities, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, and spinal bifida) are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the college in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations. Documentation from family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable. A school plan such as an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan is insufficient documentation. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. A clear and current statement of the medical condition/disability with supporting data (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student, and the student’s request for reasonable accommodations).
  2. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable.
  3. A description of present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  4. Medical information relating to the student’s needs should include the impact of treatments, medications, devices or services currently prescribed.
  5. Suggestions of reasonable accommodation(s), which might be appropriate at the postsecondary level, are encouraged. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis.

All Documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center

The above example is adapted from:

 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who, with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.” A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major activities as walking, seeing, hearing, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning. Psychiatric disabilities (such as, but not limited to, depressive, anxiety, and bipolar disorders) are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the college in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for accommodations. Documentation from family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable. A school plan such as an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan is insufficient documentation. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. A clear statement of the disability, including the DSM-IV diagnosis, and a summary of present symptoms.
  2. Documentation should reflect the current level of functioning dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student, and the student’s request for reasonable accommodations.
  3. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results including standardized or percentile scores.
  4. Medical information relating to the student’s needs should include the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.
  5. Suggestions of reasonable accommodation(s) that might be appropriate at the postsecondary level are encouraged. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis.

All Documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center

The above example is adapted from:

 

Some disabilities are temporary and may require accommodations for a limited time. Each case is considered individually. The following documentation is required:

Letter on letterhead from a qualified professional stating diagnosis, functional limitations necessitating the accommodations, and estimated length services will be needed.

Services will be provided for 10 number of working days pending receipt of documentation. If documentation is not received by that time, services will be cancelled.

All Documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
Disability Services Office
K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center

The above example is adapted from:

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