Guidelines

Access Guidelines

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff are willing to meet with any student who wants to inquire about our services or process. The student does not have to provide documentation before scheduling a meeting with a staff member but it is often helpful for us to receive that information as early as possible.

Our Process

To request accommodations, students should schedule a Welcome meeting with a staff member in the SAS office. Eligibility for accommodations is determined by several factors which will be discussed at the Welcome meeting, and accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Occasionally, provisional accommodations may be granted on a case-by-case basis without third-party documentation. However, in most circumstances documentation from a third-party professional will be necessary to support eligibility and determine appropriate accommodations. SAS has the discretion to require additional documentation if it is determined that the existing documentation/information is incomplete or inadequate to ascertain the existence of a disability or the need for accommodation.

General Documentation Guidelines

Generally, in order 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.

Documentation that is of a high quality, relevant, useful, and thorough is the most helpful. The outline below has been developed to assist the student in working with the treating or diagnosing professional(s) to obtain the specific information necessary to evaluate eligibility for accommodations. Students requesting accommodations for the manifestations of multiple disabilities must provide evidence of all such conditions.

Third-party documentation should be provided by 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 on letterhead, be signed and dated, 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.)

Some conditions vary so guidelines will differ from case-to-case.

Generally, we do not ask 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 the reasonableness of the request 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.

Records of Past Accommodations

SAS will consider records of past accommodations when evaluating a current request for accommodation. Past information is often helpful to develop an understanding of how conditions are likely to impact the student. However, additional current documentation is also needed in most situations. Past records may include, but are not limited to:

  • A description of the student’s needs
  • Records of past accommodations and services from high school or another college/university
  • Formal psychological or medical evaluations
  • Letters from past health, education or service providers
  • A Summary of Performance (a document prepared between the high school and the student in transition planning) is generally not considered acceptable documentation in and of itself.

Any past documentation submitted should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and completed by a qualified professional (e.g. medical doctor, psychologist, counselor).

Insufficient Documentation

A general statement of symptoms or difficulties is often insufficient. SAS does not interpret a diagnosis, or the current impact and/or functional limitations from documentation; therefore, the following materials alone are generally insufficient to determine eligibility:

  • Official medical records, medical chart notes or prescription pad notations;
  • High school IEPs, 504 plans, and/or SOPs not accompanied by disability documentation
  • Documents prepared for specific non-educational venues (e.g. SSA, hospital discharge documents, letters written for off-campus housing considerations, etc.)

SAS has the discretion to require additional documentation if it is determined that the existing documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the existence of a disability or the need for accommodations.

Annual Updates

An annual update may be requested in circumstances where a student’s disability or condition is expected to change or may change over time with medical procedures, counseling, or other treatment options (e.g. anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, PTSD, head injuries, migraine headaches, etc.).

This documentation should be aligned with the documentation guidelines listed above and should also contain information relating to any changes in levels of functioning the student has encountered over the last year.


Specific Guidelines for Disabilities by Type


  • Guidelines for documentation related to ADHD

    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:

    • A clear diagnostic statement from a professional who is qualified to diagnose ADHD
    • The date of the diagnosis
    • An indication of how the professional arrived at the diagnosis (clinical interview, medical history, continuous performance assessment, psychological assessment, behavior rating scales, etc.)
    • 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.)
  • Guidelines for documentation related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:

    • A diagnosis from a psychologist, psychiatrist, developmental pediatrician, neurologist qualified to diagnose ASD
    • Evidence of a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation
    • Support for the diagnosis and how it meets the definition of a person with a disability under the ADA/§504
    • The date of the assessment, interpretation of data, history, and observations Historical perspective of academic adjustments
    • A description of how this impairment substantially limits a major life activity/activities in general and in an academic setting
    • May also include 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.)
  • Guidelines for documentation related to Medical/Health Conditions

    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:

    • A clear diagnostic statement from a professional who is qualified to make such a diagnosis
    • Test data, interpretation of data, history, and observations
    • 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 condition 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.)

    An annual update will likely be requested.

  • Guidelines for documentation related to Deaf/Hard of Hearing

    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:

    • A clear diagnostic statement from a professional who is qualified to make such a diagnosis
    • Test data, interpretation of data, history and observations
    • Relevant information relating to the impact of the disability on the student’s ability to participate in all aspects of the university environment (classroom, housing/dining, extracurricular activities, etc.)
  • Guidelines for documentation related to Visual Impairments

    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:

    • A clear diagnostic statement from a professional who is qualified to make such a diagnosis
    • Test data, interpretation of data, history and observations
    • Relevant information relating to the impact of the disability on the student’s ability to participate in all aspects of the university environment (classroom, housing/dining, extracurricular activities, etc.)
  • Guidelines for documentation related to Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)

    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:

    • A diagnosis from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other treating provider who is qualified to diagnose a learning disability
    • A detailed statement about how the student’s education is substantially impacted as well as any other aspects of the university environment (e.g. extracurricular activities, dorm life, etc.)
    • Evidence of a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation
    • Assessment date, interpretation of data, history, and observations
    • Historical perspective of academic adjustments
  • Guidelines for documentation related to Temporary Injuries

    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:

    • Diagnosis using medical criteria
    • Test data, interpretation of data, history and observations, if applicable
    • Relevant information relating to the impact of the disability on the student’s ability to participate in all aspects of the university environment (classroom, housing/dining, extracurricular activities, etc.)
    • Information on the expected duration of the injury
  • Guidelines for documentation related to Traumatic/Acquired Brain Injury

    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:

    • A diagnosis using medical criteria which includes a general assessment of cognitive abilities
    • 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.)

    An annual update will likely be requested.

  • Guidelines for documentation related to Psychological/Psychiatric Disabilities
    Documentation from a current treating provider should be on letterhead, be signed and dated, and should include:
    • The disability with an AXIS diagnosis and/or DSM code
    • 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.). If specific accommodations are being requested by the student, SAS may request that the treating provider specifically indicate that those accommodations, if approved, would not be counter to the treatment plan.

    An annual update will likely be requested.