General documentation policies
In order to establish that an individual is covered under the guidelines of the ADA and ADAA, documentation must indicate that the disability substantially limits a major life activity. Examples of major life activities include walking, sitting, standing, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, communicating, thinking, concentrating and other similar activities. Quality disability documentation has the following essential elements:
- Testing is relevant and comprehensive.
- If applicable, contains test scores and interpretation (learning disability report, audiogram, etc.).
- Shows a substantial impact on one or more major life activities.
- Indicates whether the impact is current and stable or fluctuating.
- Fluctuations may require updated documentation of the condition.
- Effectively confirms the nature and extent of the disability based on current professional standards and techniques.
- Effectively validates the need for accommodations.
- Evaluation is provided by a licensed clinical professional familiar with the history and functional implications of the impairment(s) who is not a member of the student’s family.
- Evaluation shows the official letterhead of the professional describing the disability with the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator.
- Report is dated and signed by the evaluator.
- Report includes all documentation for multiple disabilities disclosed.
Incomplete or insufficient documentation of disability
If a student submits incomplete or inadequate documentation for determining the extent of the disability or reasonable accommodations, we have the right to request further documentation with the student bearing the cost of the evaluation.
Note: SDS does not do any diagnostic evaluation of disabilities but can provide students with testing resources.
Guidelines for specific conditions
Documentation guidelines can be found for the more common conditions served by Student Disability Services. In order to meet the needs of individuals with documented disabilities, we have identified the following categories of disabilities for which specific documentation is required in order to register with SDS:
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD and ADD)
- Blindness or visual impairment
- Brain injury
- Medical conditions
- Deafness/hearing loss
- Learning and cognitive disabilities
- Physical dexterity/mobility disabilities
- Psychological disabilities
- Temporary disabilities and other conditions
Student Disability Services (SDS) follows strict standards of confidentiality in the management of student disability information. We are the sole holder of disability documentation and it is kept separate from other records.
- Accommodations provided do not appear on the academic transcript.
- The disclosure of any information to a faculty or staff member is decided on a case-by-case basis.
- It may be necessary to discuss the nature of the disability and its relationship to the course with a faculty member in order to implement the appropriate accommodations.
- Student Disability Services has an obligation to confirm disability status in order to issue appropriate accommodations.
- When students register with SDS and sign the accommodation form, they are acknowledging that some level of disclosure to a faculty or staff member may be necessary in order to implement requested accommodations.
- Disability documentation records are not shared directly with any faculty or staff member outside of SDS.
- In the event that a registered student seeks a course waiver, it may be necessary to submit documentation of the disability during the General Educational Adjustment request process.
- To ensure confidentiality, all accommodation letters faculty receive from a student in a given semester are destroyed once the student has completed or officially withdrawn from a course.