Documentation Guidelines

Students are responsible for providing current, appropriate documentation of their disability from a qualified health services provider (i.e., physician, licensed psychologist, etc.). High School IEPs and 504 Plans alone are not sufficient documentation of a disability at the college level, although they can be helpful. Students should understand that while medical or educational documentation can establish a diagnosis, not every diagnosis rises to the level of being a disability under the law. Documentation is essential in determining the current impact of the disability on a student’s performance, and so it is important that disability documentation meet certain guidelines.

While OA may require additional information to further define needed accommodations, documentation should:

  • Address the current functional limitations (i.e. the current impact of the disability on the student) and prognosis of the condition
  • Be current – what is considered current will vary with disability, but some helpful guidelines are: within the last 3 years for learning disabilities, the last 3 years for ADHD, and the last year for psychiatric disabilities
  • Be typed or printed on official letterhead, dated, and signed by an evaluator qualified to make the diagnosis
  • Be provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional (third-party) who has appropriate and comprehensive training, relevant experience, and no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated
  • Include a clear diagnostic statement
  • Include a description of the methodology used and test scores that support the diagnosis
  • Include specific recommendations for accommodations that are related to the functional limitations

Documentation can also include:

  • Student's self-report:
    • The student is a critical source of information regarding his or her disability. A student interested in requesting accommodations must schedule an Intake Interview with OA professional staff to discuss his or her disability, including the impact of the disability, his or her experience with accommodations (effectiveness, etc.), the current need for particular accommodations, and any student questions.
  • Additional relevant medical and educational sources:
    • Documentation from additional sources helps to substantiate disability and accommodation needs. Relevant documentation may include educational records, medical records, and/or reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. IEPs and 504 Plans that reflect the student's educational and accommodation history are also helpful.
    • Documentation will vary in its relevance and value, depending on the original context, the credentials of the evaluator, and the level of detail and comprehensiveness provided.

What does "current" mean?

  • What is considered current can vary by disability. Many disabilities are stable, lifelong conditions, and thus current may not mean 'recent.' Some disabilities, however, will vary over time with changes in environment, in treatment, and/or medications. The goal of documentation is to illustrate a connection between the current impact of the disability and the requested accommodations.
  • Documentation will vary in its relevance and value, depending on the original context, the credentials of the evaluator, and the level of detail and comprehensiveness provided.

A Disability Verification Form (PDF - 628 KB) can be completed by one’s treating specialist to provide relevant and appropriate disability information to OA (Note: Do not use this form for requests for Emotional Support Animals, Housing, nor Meal Plan Accommodations. You must contact OA for forms specific to these requests).