Documentation of Disability

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Every individual situation is unique; regardless of what medical documentation you may or may not have, please come by our office to have a discussion about how we may be able to support your academic goals.

As part of the eligibility process, the student is responsible for providing documentation. The documentation must be a clear, objective medical/clinical evaluation of the disability. This evaluation must reflect the functional limitations the disability presents in the educational setting. Our Contact page explains how to submit documentation.

We will look for the following information when establishing your eligibility for services. Please share this list with your physician or the professional who can document your disability.

With supporting documentation, suggestions regarding academic adjustments and auxiliary aids may be included. However, the final determination rests with the Disability Resource Center.

ADD/ADHD

ADD/ADHD Documentation Must:

  1. Be prepared by a professional who has comprehensive training in differential diagnosis and direct experience working with adolescents and adults with ADD/ADHD, which may include: clinical psychologists, neuropsychologist, psychiatrist, and other relevantly trained medical doctors.
  2. Be current. The provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon the assessment of the current impact of the disability on academic performance. The diagnostic evaluation should show the current level of functioning and impact of the disability.
  3. Be comprehensive. Minimally, areas to be addressed should include:
    • Evidence of early and current impairment. Diagnostic assessment should consist of more than a self-report. A diagnostic feature presented in the DSM-IV is that ADD/ADHD is first exhibited in childhood, and manifests itself in more than one setting. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment typically includes a clinical summary of objective historical information garnered from sources such as transcripts, report cards, teacher comments, tutoring evaluations, psycho-educational testing, medical history, employment history, family history, and third party interviews when available.
    • Alternative diagnosis or explanations should be ruled out. Possible alternative diagnoses including medical, psychiatric disorders, and educational or cultural factors affecting the individual that may result in behaviors mimicking ADD/ADHD should be explored.
    • Testing information must be relevant. Test scores or subtest scores alone should not be used as a sole measure for the diagnostic decision regarding ADD/ADHD. Selected subtest scores from measures of intellect ability, memory function tests, attention or tracking tests, or continuous performance tests do not in and of themselves establish the presence or absence of ADD/ADHD. Check lists and/or surveys can serve to supplement the diagnostic profile, but are not adequate for the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD.
  4. If applicable, present a specific diagnosis of ADD/ADHD based on the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. The diagnostician should use direct language in the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, avoiding the use of such terms as: “attention problems”, “suggests…”, or “is indicative of…”.
  5. Provide a comprehensive interpretive summary synthesizing the evaluator’s judgment for the diagnosis. The report should include: all quantitative information in standard scores and/or percentiles, all relevant developmental, familial, medical, medication, psychosocial, behavioral and academic information; and a clear identification of the substantial limitation of a major life function presented by the ADD/ADHD.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

ASD Documentation Must:

  1. Be prepared by a professional who has comprehensive training in differential diagnosis and direct experience working with adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which may include: clinical psychologists, neuropsychologist, psychiatrist, and other relevantly trained medical doctors.
  2. Be current. The provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon the assessment of the current impact of the disability as it relates to academic performance. The diagnostic evaluation should show the current level of functioning and impact of the disability. However, since the diagnosis of ASD is often made during childhood and is lifelong, it may be appropriate to use a diagnosis that was made using the DSM-IV-TR (i.e. Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).
  3. Be comprehensive. Minimally, areas to be addressed should include:
    • Evidence of early and current impairment. Diagnostic assessment should consist of more than a self-report. A diagnostic feature presented in the DSM-5 is that ASD is first exhibited in childhood, and manifests itself in more than one setting. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment typically includes a clinical summary of objective historical information garnered from sources such as transcripts, report cards, teacher comments, tutoring evaluations, psycho-educational testing, medical history, employment history, family history, and third party interviews when available.
    • Alternative diagnosis or explanations should be ruled out. Possible alternative diagnoses including medical, psychiatric disorders, and educational or cultural factors affecting the individual that may result in behaviors mimicking ASD should be explored.
    • Testing information must be relevant, if used. Test scores or subtest scores alone should not be used as a sole measure for the diagnostic decision regarding ASD. Check lists and/or surveys can serve to supplement the diagnostic profile, but are not adequate for the diagnosis of ASD.
  1. If applicable, present a specific diagnosis of ASD based on the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. The diagnostician should use direct language in the diagnosis of ASD, avoiding the use of such generic and subjective terms as: “suggests…,” “is indicative of…” etc.
  2. Provide a comprehensive interpretive summary synthesizing the evaluator’s judgment for the diagnosis. The report should include: all quantitative information in standard scores and/or percentiles, all relevant developmental, familial, medical, medication, psychosocial, behavioral and academic information; and a clear identification of the substantial limitation of a major life function presented by the ASD diagnosis.

Blind or Visually Impaired

Blind Or Visually Impaired Documentation Must:

  1. Reflect the date of the most recent visit, diagnosis of the eye disorder, and its pathology specific to the individual.
  2. A brief description of the severity of the vision loss, and current impact or limitations.
  3. Include any medically relevant testing results.
  4. Include a description of assistive devices or services currently prescribed or in-use, including the possible effectiveness of these devices or services in an educational setting.
  5. Include a description of the expected progression or stability of the vision over time.

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing Documentation Must:

  1. Include a copy of the audiology report.
  2. Include a brief description of the severity of the hearing loss.
  3. Describe the assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in-use, including the possible effectiveness of these devices or services in an educational setting.
  4. Describe the expected progression or stability of the hearing loss over time.

Health and Physical Disability

Health And Physical Disability Documentation Must:

  1. Include a clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the disability or systemic illness and information regarding how the disability limits a major life activity.
  2. Describe the type and severity of current symptoms.
  3. Provide a summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable.
  4. Provide information regarding existing side-effects of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the post-secondary environment (physical, perceptual, behavioral, or cognitive).
  5. Describe the treatments, medications, assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use.
  6. Describe the expected progression or stability of the disability over time.

Learning Disability

Learning Disability Documentation Must:

  1. Be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose a learning disability. This might include, but not be limited to: A licensed Neuropsychologist, Psychologist, or school Psychologist.
  2. Be comprehensive. One test alone is not acceptable for the purpose of diagnosis. The test report shall include a DSM-IV (or subsequent edition) notation based on an intake interview and testing results. Minimally, areas to be addressed must include, but not be limited to:
  3. Be current. Testing must have been administered at the adult learning level. Since assessment constitutes the basis for determining reasonable accommodations, it is in a student’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation to serve as the basis for decision-making about a student’s needs for accommodation in an academically competitive environment.
    • Aptitude. Testing must have been administered at the adult-learning level. The Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) with sub-test scores is preferred. In lieu of a WAIS-R (or subsequent WAIS), two Weschler Intelligence for Children-III (WISC-III) tests correlated within 15 IQ points of each other may be acceptable.
    • Achievement. Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics, and written language are required. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised is preferred. The WRAT-R and the WRAT-III (Wide Range Achievement Test) are NOT comprehensive measures of achievement and, therefore, are not appropriate for documentation purposes.
    • Information Processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short and long-term memory, auditory and visual perception processing; processing speed) must be assessed
  4. Present clear and specific evidence, which identifies a specific learning disability and reflects an individual’s present (adult) level of functioning. That is, processing and intelligence, as well as achievement in written expression, writing mechanics, vocabulary, grammar and spelling, reading comprehension and rate. (Individual “learning styles” or “learning differences” in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.)
  5. Include the exact instruments used and procedures followed to assess the learning disability. Report shall include: test results (including sub-test score data); a written interpretation of the results by the professional doing the evaluation, name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator, and date(s) of testing.
  6. Provide sufficient data to support the request for the particular academic adjustment. Requests which are not supported by documentation may not be provided without additional adequate verification.

Psychological/Emotional Disability

Psychological/emotional Documentation Must:

  1. Specify the nature, severity, current impact, and anticipated duration of the disability.
  2. State the diagnosis in the nomenclature used by the DSM-IV, or successive editions.
  3. Address the student’s current ability to function in the college environment (e.g. ability to focus, organize one’s time, attend class, work in groups or alone, etc).
  4. List medication and any current side-effects that may impact the student in an educational setting.

All documentation guidelines were developed by the Washington Association of Post-Secondary Education and Disability (WAPED).

Last Updated March 11, 2016