Disability Documentation Guidelines

General guidelines

Your official diagnostic documentation must be from a licensed practitioner eligible to diagnose and treat your disability. It should include diagnosis, prognosis, and impact on academic performance.

Specific guidelines, by disability

Attention deficit/hyperactive disorder

A practitioner documenting AD/HD must be trained in the assessment of AD/HD and experienced in assessing the needs of adult learners. The diagnostician should be impartial individuals who are not a family member of the student. This includes:

  • Developmental pediatricians
  • Neurologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Licensed clinical or educational psychologists
  • Family physicians
  • A combination of such professionals

Document guidelines (in addition to general guidelines)

  • Demonstrate the condition has existed since childhood and causes impairment in at least two settings – school and work, for example.
  • Include a clear statement of ADD or AD/HD with the DSM-IV diagnosis and a description of supporting past and present symptoms.
  • Be current, preferably within the last three years. (The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student, and the student's specific request for accommodations).
  • Include a summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis.
  • Include the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.

Deaf or hard of hearing

A physician (i.e., otologist) or audiologist can document that a student is deaf or hard of hearing.

Document guidelines (in addition to general guidelines)

The age of documentation depends on the condition, the current status of the student, and the student's request for accommodations.

In addition, be sure your documentation includes the following:

  • A clear statement of deafness or hearing loss.
  • A current audiogram and an ENT report of hearing loss, deafness, tinnitus, or Menier’s disease.
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a narrative summary of evaluation results, if appropriate.
  • Medical information on the student’s needs, status of hearing (static or changing), and its impact on the demands of the academic program.
  • A statement regarding the use of hearing aids, if applicable.

Learning disabilities

A licensed psychologist, licensed specialist in school psychology, or an educational diagnostician can document learning disability.

Document guidelines (in addition to general guidelines)

  • Provide documentation with psychological and/or neuro-psychological reports demonstrating a significant discrepancy between measured mental ability and achievement.
  • Provide a narrative summary that includes all scores from a typical test battery, such as IQ tests, individually administered achievement test, and personality tests.

Emotional/psychological

A mental health professional licensed to treat mental disorders (i.e., physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist) can document that a student ha emotional or psychological disabilities, such as severe depression, panic disorder, or thought disorder.

Document guidelines (in addition to general guidelines)

Provide a clear statement of the disability, including the DSM-IV-TR diagnosis and a summary of present symptoms. Also describe the significant impact of this disability on any daily life activity (functional limitations).

Requirements:

  • Documentation for eligibility should be current, preferably within the last three years; (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations)
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results, including standardized or percentile scores
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs to include the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the specific demands of the postsecondary environment
  • Include the license number of the mental health professional making the diagnosis.

Speech

A speech pathologist can document that a student has a speech disability.

Traumatic brain injury

A neurologist or neuro-psychologist can document that a student has a traumatic brain injury.

Visual

An ophthalmologist can document that a student is blind or has low vision.

An optometrist can provide information regarding visual acuity measurements as well as tracking and fusion difficulties that may include eye movement disorders, inefficiency in using both eyes together, misalignment of the eyes, lazy eye, focusing problems, visual sensory disorders, and motor integration.

A fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development also may provide therapy in treating the above optometric conditions.