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Student Accessibility Services

Documentation Guidelines

General Documentation Guidelines

Generally, for SAS to determine appropriate and reasonable accommodations, the student should submit documentation which clearly states a disability-related diagnosis and fully describes the current functional limitations that impact the student in an academic setting. Documentation, along with information obtained directly through an interactive process, serves as the basis for decision-making about a student’s needs for accommodations in a challenging and competitive academic environment. Occasionally, provisional accommodations may be granted on a case-by-case basis without third-party documentation.

Documentation that is of a high quality, relevant, useful and thorough is the most helpful. The outline below has been developed to assist students in working with the treating or diagnosing professional(s) to obtain the specific information necessary to evaluate eligibility for accommodations. Students requesting accommodations for multiple disabilities may need to provide documentation for each condition.

Third-Party Documentation

Students should provide third-party documentation from a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has appropriate and comprehensive training, relevant experience and no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. A logical connection 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.). Documentation from a current treating provider should be signed and dated on letterhead and should generally include:

  • A clear diagnostic statement from a professional who is qualified to diagnose the disability
  • The date of the diagnosis
  • An indication of how the professional arrived at the diagnosis (e.g. clinical interview, medical history, continuous performance assessment, psychological assessment, behavior rating scales, etc.). Diagnostic tests should be based on adult norms.
  • Support for the diagnosis and how it meets the definition of a person with a disability under the ADA/§504
  • A description of how this impairment substantially limits a major life activity/activities in general and in an academic setting
  • Relevant information relating to the impact of medication and/or treatment on the student’s ability to participate in all aspects of the university environment (classroom, housing/dining, extracurricular activities, etc.)

Because some conditions vary, guidelines may differ from case-to-case. View documentation guidelines by disability type for more information.

Generally, we do not expect third-party providers to recommend specific accommodations; however, any specific recommendation for an accommodation must be supported and logically connected to the student’s disability. The SAS office will still need to address whether the request is reasonable within the higher education setting and, in some instances, may have to consult with the professor or department to determine whether the requested accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration.

Documentation Checklist

For a more seamless process, please consider the following:

  • Ensure the document formatting is properly oriented and readable. 

  • Ensure the document includes a date. 

  • Verify that all necessary signatures are included on the document. 

  • Submit the document in a format that cannot be edited to prevent unauthorized changes. 

  • If the document is password-protected, provide the office with the password or encryption key.