Documentation of Disability

Disability Services is committed to providing access for individuals with disabilities in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended in 2008 (ADAAA).

The ADAAA defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity”. Examples of major life activities are hearing, seeing, learning, reading, speaking, and walking.

Determining your eligibility for accommodations

If you’re a student with a disability seeking academic accommodations you will need to provide documentation. Reasonable and appropriate accommodations are determined on a case by case basis.

All documentation, including past accommodations and suggested accommodations, will be considered. However, the final determination of reasonable accommodations remains with the Disability Services office.

Interview and informal assessment

Students will be required to participate in an intake appointment. The Accommodation Specialist will gather information which will aid in determining eligibility for reasonable accommodations.

Self-Report

Student input is a key component when planning accommodations. The student is encouraged to share information about the nature of the disability and the functional impact experienced within the classroom and campus environment.

Written documentation from a qualified professional

Written documentation provides valuable information in determining accommodations. The documentation provided needs to include the following–

  • Specific disability diagnosis
  • Tests used and results to determine the diagnosis Signature and credentials of the qualified person conducting the evaluation (i.e. psychiatrist, orthopedic doctor, audiologist, licensed psychologist etc.)
  • Date of the evaluation

Other information which is preferred, although not necessarily required–

  • Expected progression and stability of the impairment or condition
  • Functional impact in the learning environment
  • Past accommodations
  • Suggested accommodations
  • Indication of any possible side effects from current medication

Documenting a Specific Disability

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorder is typically diagnosed at an early age through developmental screening and comprehensive assessments. Screening and assessments generally include the student’s developmental history, measures of aptitude, achievement information, symptoms, as well as functional impact on academic and other major life activities. Processing and social communication abilities and past and recommended accommodations may also be included.


Assessments may include but are not limited to–

  • A comprehensive standardized IQ test based on adult norms (including cognitive/achievement scores)
  • A communication assessment specifically addressing the use of language in a social context
  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS)
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview- Revised (ADI-R)
  • Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS)
  • Gilliam Asperger’s Disorder Scale (GADS)
  • Adult Asperger’s Assessment (AAA)

Qualified Professionals may include–

  • Licensed physician
  • Developmental pediatrician
  • Neurologist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Speech and Language pathologist

Date of Evaluation The impact of ASD may change over time and so any recent assessment information may be relevant.

Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are typically diagnosed through a neuropsychological evaluation. A comprehensive assessment is required to evaluate cognitive functioning and achievement abilities in reading, writing, and math. This assessment generally includes a clinical summary, a profile of academic strengths and weaknesses, functional impact on major life activities, as well as past and recommended accommodations.


Cognitive (I.Q.) Assessments may include but are not limited to–

  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Revised or 3rd Edition (WAIS III/IV)
  • Woodcock Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery – Revised, Standard and Supplemental Batteries (WJPEB-III)
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (4th Edition)

Achievement Tests may include but are not limited to–

  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT)
  • Woodcock Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery - Tests of Achievement
  • Stanford Test of Academic Skills
  • Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults

Qualified Professionals may include–

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Learning Disability Specialist

Date of Testing Assessments should be current and preferably based on adult norms.

ADD/ADHD

There are various evaluation methods which are used to determine ADD/ADHD. An evaluation generally includes a clinical summary, a profile of academic strengths and weaknesses, functional impact on major life activities, as well as past and recommended accommodations.


Assessments may include but are not limited to–

  • Clinical Assessment of Attention Deficit Adult (CAT-A)
  • Adult ADHD Self-Reports Scale (ASRS)
  • Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)
  • Woodcock Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery – Tests of Achievement
  • Conners Rating Scales

Qualified professionals may include–

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Clinical Neuropsychologist
  • Learning Disability Specialist
  • Licensed Psychologist
  • Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Date of Testing Assessments should be current and preferably based on adult norms.

Psychiatric Disabilities

Psychiatric disabilities are typically diagnosed through a neuropsychological evaluation or a diagnostic assessment by a psychiatric care provider. Evaluations generally include a review of personal history, strengths and barriers, symptoms, as well as functional impact on academic and other major life activities.


Assessments may include but are not limited to–

  • Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
  • Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)
  • Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A)
  • Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS)
  • Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS)

Qualified Professionals may include–

  • Licensed Psychologist (PhD, PsyD)
  • Medical Doctor with psychiatry specialization (MD)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Date of Evaluation The age of documentation which is acceptable will depend on the specific disability, its onset, and its expected progression. Many psychiatric disabilities change over time and therefore more recent evaluation may be required.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Auditory disabilities are typically diagnosed through audiometric testing. An audiogram is the most common form of acceptable documentation for disabilities in this category. If hearing loss is a symptom of a broader medical or hereditary condition e.g. Traumatic Brain Injury, documentation of that condition may be helpful in the accommodation planning process. Auditory processing disorders require additional audiological and/or neuropsychological testing.


Evaluations may include but are not limited to–

  • Pure tone audiometry
  • Auditory brainstem response audiometry
  • Otoacoustic emission audiometry

Qualified Professionals may include–

  • Audiologist (PhD, AuD, ScD)
  • Physician with Otorhinolaryngology specialization (MD, DO)

Date of Evaluation The age of documentation which is acceptable will depend on the specific disability, its onset, and its expected progression. In some cases, progressive loss of hearing may warrant more recent evaluation.

Blind and Low Vision

Visual impairments are diverse in terms of cause, onset, and progression. Often a diagnosis may be based on simple visual fields or acuity testing. If vision loss is a symptom of a broader medical or hereditary condition e.g. diabetes, documentation of that condition may be helpful in the accommodation planning process.


Evaluations may include but are not limited to–

  • Measurements, data, visual fields, and visual acuity for each eye
  • Diagnostic statement including etiology, diagnosis, symptoms, prognosis, and progression or stability

Qualified Professionals may include–

  • Ophthalmologist (MD)
  • Vision Specialist

Date of Evaluation The age of documentation which is acceptable will depend on the specific disability, its onset, and its expected progression. In some cases, progressive vision loss may warrant more recent evaluation.

Physical Disabilities

Physical Disabilities are typically diagnosed through a comprehensive medical examination and medical testing. Testing required will vary greatly by diagnosis. A clinical summary should generally include a diagnostic statement, etiology, symptoms, prognosis, and progression or stability of the condition. Additionally, information regarding functional impact on academic and other major life activities, as well as past and recommended accommodations is helpful.


Qualified Professionals may include–

  • General Practitioner (MD)
  • Medical Doctor with specialization (neurology, oncology, genecology, etc.)
  • Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LNP)

Date of Evaluation The age of documentation which is acceptable will depend on the specific disability, its onset, and its expected progression. Many physical disabilities change over time and therefore more recent evaluation may be required.


Contact Us

Salem Campus
Building 2, Room 174
Phone: 503.399.5192
Fax: 503.399.6178
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