Documentation of Disability

In order to establish that an individual is covered under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, documentation provided to the Office of Academic Accessibility must indicate that the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities.  The purpose of documentation is to assist the university in understanding the nature of the disability, its connection to a barrier and to full participation in university courses, programs, services, or activities, and how accommodations may mitigate barriers.

In order to aid the office in determining student eligibility, documentation should be recent and include relevant information of current functional impact or expected barriers to full access and/or participation in the university’s courses, programs, services, or activities. If you or your clinician have questions after reviewing our documentation guidelines, please contact the Office of Academic Accessibility for additional information or clarification.

To assure services can be provided in a timely manner, disability documentation and requests for academic adjustments and/or reasonable accommodation(s) should be received 3 weeks or more in advance, although they may be submitted at any time. All information provided to the office is protected by FERPA.

Guidelines for Documentation

Documentation from professional clinicians should be typed, printed on letterhead and include:

  • Clinician’s signature, clinician license or certification information, and date of evaluation.  Clinicians must be appropriate to the diagnostic area and cannot be family members of the student.
  • Diagnostic statement identifying the disability including ICD or DSM classification along with any relevant personal, educational, psychosocial, medical and/or developmental history.
  • Description of the current functional impact the student experiences.  This should include academic, residential and/or other settings as appropriate and current relevant expected or experienced medication side effects.
  • Assessment method(s) used and assessment score reports used in the determination of the diagnosis, when applicable.
  • Summarized statement of findings and interpretations.
  • Recommendations for accommodation(s). When there is no clear link between functional limitation and recommended accommodation an explanation of the link should also be provided.

Documentation that is often helpful for the office, but typically not sufficient in and of itself:

  • A 504 Plan and/or IEP.
  • List(s) of accommodations that were available to or used by the student at a previous school, college or university.
  • Additional information and prior evaluations may also be presented, along with contextualization from other sources such as teachers, family members, etc.
  • Medical records relating to the disability or accommodations.

Documentation for an Emotional Support Animal:

Please view our Emotional Support Animal Page to ensure complete understanding of the procedure regarding ESA requests.

A student requesting an Emotional Support Animal should submit the Emotional Support Animal Documentation Form by June 1 for consideration for Fall Semester or by December 1 for consideration for Spring semester.

The Emotional Support Animal Documentation Form should be completed by a qualified professional with direct experience working with the student and has been involved in ongoing treatment sufficient to determine that an ESA will substantially relieve one or more symptoms of the student’s condition while living in the residence halls, which are otherwise pet-free.

If the need for the accommodation arises when an individual already resides in University housing, the student should complete the Online Student Application as soon as practicably possible and submit the above linked documentation form to should be completed by a qualified professional with direct experience working with the student. Please be aware that the OAA cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the accommodation needs during the semester or term in which the request is received.