What about documentation?
It is the responsibility of the student requesting reasonable accommodations to provide documentation of their disability to the Disability Support Services office. This documentation must:
- be current
- demonstrate existence of a disability
- support the reasonable accommodations requested
- have been written, signed, and dated by a qualified examiner.
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), 504 Plans, or Transition Plans often are not sufficient to document a disability. However, they may be useful for providing a history of accommodation and effective interventions.
Most students will need a letter from a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other licensed or certified health care professional. This letter should be on professional letterhead stationery and include:
- Current, clearly stated diagnosis
- Description of assessment to meet the diagnostic criteria
- Relevant history
- Clinical summary
The letter should validate the need for services based on the impact of the student's disability and functional limitations in an educational setting. The person writing the letter should have training and expertise with the particular medical condition identified, indicate their professional credentials, and sign and date the letter. Letters from a health care professional who is also a relative or family member of the student will not be accepted. All disability documentation is considered confidential and maintained separate from the student's regular academic record.
Students with learning disabilities should provide a psychological evaluation report to receive services. The evaluation must have been conducted by a qualified professional, such as a licensed or certified clinical or educational psychologist, school psychologist, neuropsychologist or similar professional. Documentation from a qualified examiner who is also a relative or family member of the student will not be accepted. The comprehensive assessment battery and resulting diagnostic report should be current to determine present impact, validate the need for services, and include:
- Relevant history
- A description of assessment to meet diagnosis using DSM-IV criteria
- Assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, and information processing (derived from subtests on cognitive and achievement measures) using comprehensive adult assessment tools.
- Complete standardized scores (composite and subtest scores)
- Indication of substantial educational impact using DSM-IV criteria
- Clearly stated diagnosis
- Recommendations for accommodations (what has worked, strategies, etc.)
Acceptable Cognitive Measures:
- The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
- The Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery: Tests of Cognitive Abilities
Acceptable Achievement Tests:
- Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery: Tests of Achievement (WJ-ACH)
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)
The following measures are unacceptable either because they are not adult measures or are screening tools and not comprehensive enough to provide the information necessary to make accommodation decisions.
Unacceptable Cognitive Measures:
- The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)
- The Slosson Intelligence Test
- The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test
Unacceptable Achievement Test:
- Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-R)
Adapted from AHEAD Best Practices Disability Documentation in Higher Education, 2006, www.ahead.org and endorsed by the KY Association on Higher Education and Disability, 2006.