Documentation Guidelines

Documentation Guidelines

The Office of Accessibility provides academic services and accommodations for students with diagnosed disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. In order to receive academic accommodations, the student must submit comprehensive documentation describing the current functional limitations that impact the student in an academic setting. Documentation serves as the basis for decision-making about a student's needs for accommodations in a challenging and competitive academic environment.

Documentation of a high quality is relevant, useful, and thorough. The outline below has been developed to assist the student in working with the treating or diagnosing healthcare professional(s) in obtaining the specific information necessary to evaluate eligibility for academic accommodations.

  • Documentation is 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 good match 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 includes a clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition was diagnosed, provides information on the functional impact, and details the typical progression or prognosis of the condition. The documentation should include the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results. Diagnostic tests should be based on adult norms.
  • Documentation should be relatively recent in order to provide an accurate description of current functioning. Because some conditions are permanent or non-varying, guidelines will differ from case to case. Contact the Office of Accessibility at 334-844-2096 to speak with a Accommodation Specialist to determine how current the documentation should be for your particular situation.
  • Documentation should address the major life activities (i.e., caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, learning, walking, reading, concentrating, thinking etc.) affected by the disability and how those functional limitations impact the student in an academic setting. Documentation that does not address an individual’s current level of functioning or need for accommodation(s) may warrant the need for a new evaluation.

In lieu of the forms below, other documentation formats may be sent that thoroughly address the questions in the forms. Failure to address the questions could delay the accommodation process.

For a print version of the criteria for your health care provider, choose the links below: