Documenting a Disability

Documentation to support a disability should include information regarding the nature of the impairment or condition, the student’s ability to function, as well as any accommodations or modifications considered appropriate.

General documentation guidelines:

  1. Documentation must be typewritten on business letterhead from a licensed professional not related to the student who is qualified to give a psychological and/or medical diagnosis. The name, credentials and signature of the licensed professional must appear on the documentation.
  2. The documentation must include all pertinent diagnoses, clearly stated and explained.
  3. Information outlining testing/assessment tools must be included. Learning disability testing must include the actual standard test scores; student must be tested using adult measures.
  4. Documentation must include information on how the disability currently impacts the individual and document “how a major life activity is limited by providing a clear sense of severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s)".
  5. All pertinent positive and negative effects of mitigating measures must be addressed. This could include a description of treatment, medications (and potential side effects) and assistive devices with estimated effectiveness of their impact on the disability.
  6. Documentation should provide recommendations for accommodations for the individual and include the rationale for the recommended accommodations.

Depending on the disability, the documentation may be in the form of a recently dated letter from a doctor or a current psychological and/or educational report from a qualified professional. See the reverse side of the Accessibility Needs Assessment Questionnaire for elements of documentation for specific disabilities. (See Forms.)

Currency of Documentation

Accommodations are determined based on the current impact of the condition(s) and how it affects access to academics and educational activities; therefore, it is important to have recent and appropriate documentation. In general, documentation is considered current for:

  • Learning disabilities – within 5 years
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – within 3 years
  • Autism spectrum disorder/Asperger’s syndrome – within 3 years
  • Chronic illness and physical impairment – depends on condition
  • Hearing impairment – depends on whether condition is static or changing
  • Psychiatric disorder – within 6 months
  • Visual impairment – depends on condition

If a student has documentation that is outside the currency time frame above, but can provide documentation of a long-standing history of receiving accommodations or services in school, this may be considered adequate documentation.

Individual Education Programs and 504 plans are helpful and considered a source of useful information which can help provide a history. However, they may not exclusively provide sufficient documentation for approval of accommodations. Any questions about appropriate documentation should be directed to the Director of Student Accessibility Services.

Contact Information:

Barbara L. McLlarky, Director
On campus x5428, or 860-439-5428
Fax: 860-439-2003
Charles E. Shain Library, 2nd floor, Room 237

Lillian Liebenthal, Student Accessibility Coordinator
On campus x5428, or 860-439-5428
Charles E. Shain Library, 2nd floor, Room 236

Office of Student Accessibility Services
Campus Box 5264
270 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320