All students who register with the Accessibility Resources and Services (ARS) are required to meet individually with ARS to create an accommodation plan based on the type of disability the student has and to review the student’s documentation. Students have a responsibility to provide appropriate and timely disability-related to ARS in order to establish eligibility for accommodations.
ARS recognizes barriers exist and can create hardship with regard to presenting third-party documentation. Please do not delay submitting an application for services out of concern for not having appropriate paperwork. Any information/documentation that students can readily share before the first meeting is helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Types of Documentation
ARS recognize that documentation of a student’s disability, history of experiences, and history of accommodations may come in a variety of forms. To help provide clarity, and ease of access for the student and the healthcare provider, the Disability Documentation Form can be completed in its entirety. For Learning Disability (LD) diagnosis, please see the Additional Information for Learning Disabilities page. If the Disability Documentation form may not be completed, a supporting documentation from the medical provider/clinician can be used following the guidelines below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at email@example.com.
Notice to Health Care Providers
Please provide a brief narrative report which addresses the template items below and either scan/email your report to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please know that any documentation faxed or mailed to our office will have a delay in processing because our office is currently remote. We highly recommend scanning and emailing documentation to email@example.com for faster confirmation of receipt. Documentation should be type-written on your letterhead and must be completed in the 7-item format as seen below.
Supporting documentation should generally include the following:
- A qualified evaluator is considered a health care professional who is licensed to treat the condition being assessed.
- Be current (Testing and evaluation should have been conducted within the past three years for LDs and ADHD or ADD and within the last 6 months to a year for physical and mental health related disabilities.) In some cases, older documentation may be accepted if you have been evaluated as an adult.
- If you are asked to submit updated documentation, it will be processed when it is received. Failure to provide updated documentation in a timely manner can limit or delay your access to accommodations. Updated documentation should conform to the same elements required for your original documentation; a simple letter confirming ongoing treatment is not sufficient.
- The documentation contain specific recommendations for accommodations that are tied to the current functional limitations of the student. Each accommodation recommended by the evaluator include a rationale. Recommended accommodations should be pertinent to the anticipated academic environment.
- Should not be provided by someone who is related to the student, even if an appropriately licensed professional.
7 Guiding Principles for Documentation from AHEAD
- The credentials of the evaluator/s
The best quality documentation is provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. An appropriate match between the credentials of the individual making the diagnosis and the condition being reported is expected (e.g., an orthopedic limitation might be documented by a physician, but not a licensed psychologist).
- A statement identifying the disability
Acceptable documentation includes a clear diagnostic statement that describes what the condition is and how it was diagnosed. While diagnostic codes from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM) or the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) of the World Health Organization are helpful in providing this information, a clinical description will also convey the necessary information.
- A description of the diagnostic methodology used
Quality documentation includes a description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results. Where appropriate to the nature of the disability, having both summary data and specific test scores (with the norming population identified) within the report is recommended. Diagnostic methods that are congruent with the particular disability and current professional practices in the field are recommended. Methods may include formal instruments, medical examinations, structured interview protocols, performance observations and unstructured interviews. If results from informal, non-standardized or less common methods of evaluation are reported, an explanation of their role and significance in the diagnostic process will strengthen their value in providing useful information.
- A description of the current functional limitations
Information on how the condition(s) currently impacts the individual provides useful information for both establishing a disability and identifying possible accommodations. A combination of the results of formal evaluation procedures, clinical narrative, and the individual’s self-report is the most comprehensive approach to fully documenting impact. The best quality documentation is thorough enough to demonstrate whether and how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s). While relatively recent documentation is recommended in most circumstances, common sense and discretion in accepting older documentation of conditions that are permanent or non-varying is recommended. Likewise, changing conditions and/or changes in how the condition impacts the individual brought on by growth and development may warrant more frequent updates in order to provide an accurate picture. It is important to remember that documentation is not time-bound; the need for recent documentation depends on the facts and circumstances of the individual’s condition. In most cases, documentation should be current within the past 3- 5 years; however some documentation that is older may also be relevant. In some cases, previous or more recent documentation may be requested to draw connections between the student’s condition and the accommodation being requested.
- A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability
It is helpful when documentation provides information on expected changes in the functional impact of the disability over time and context. Information on the cyclical or episodic nature of the disability and known or suspected environmental triggers to episodes provides opportunities to anticipate and plan for varying functional impacts. If the condition is not stable, information on interventions for exacerbations (including the individual’s own strategies) and recommended timelines for re-evaluation are most helpful.
- A description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications
The most comprehensive documentation will include a description of both current and past medications, auxiliary aids, assistive devices, support services, and accommodations, including their effectiveness in ameliorating functional impacts of the disability. A discussion of any significant side effects from current medications or services that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance is helpful when included in the report. While accommodations provided in another setting are not binding on the current institution, they may provide insight in making current decisions.
- Recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, and/or support services
Recommendations from professionals with a history of working with the student provide valuable information for review and planning process. It is most helpful when recommended accommodations and strategies are logically related to functional limitations; if connections are not obvious, a clear explanation of their relationship can be useful in decision- making. While the College has no obligation to provide or adopt recommendations that would fundamentally modify the course or degree requirements. Those accommodation recommendations that are congruent with the programs, services, and benefits offered by the College may be appropriate.