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Documentation Guidelines

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General Documentation Guidelines

In determining eligibility for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American's With Disabilities Act (ADA) the student must demonstrate that a qualified professional has established a formal diagnosis of a disability. However, the diagnosis alone is not enough to establish eligibility for accommodations under the ADA. There must also be evidence of a "substantial limitation" in a major fife activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, etc. These guidelines are provided to help the evaluating professional document his/her findings in a manner that meets requirements of the ADA and supports the request for accommodations.

It is the responsibility of the student to obtain his/her documentation and to present a copy to the Office of Disability Services. Any correspondence regarding adequacy of the documentation will be sent to the student. It is the student's responsibility to obtain additional information or testing when requested. The final determination of appropriate accommodations rests with Disability Services based on a review of the provided documentation as outlined below.

The Office of Disability Services is the designated service provider for students with disabilities. A prior history of accommodations, without demonstration of current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation. If no prior accommodation has been provided, the evaluator must include an explanation about why no accommodations were used in the past, and why accommodations are needed now.

All information obtained in diagnostic and medical reports will be maintained and used in accordance with applicable confidentiality requirements.

General Guidelines

Please provide a type-written report, on official letterhead, that addresses the following six elements:

1. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability, date of the most current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis.

The diagnostic systems used by the Department of Education, The State Department of Rehabilitative Services or other State agencies and/or the current edition of either the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of The American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems of the World Health Organization (ICD) are the recommended diagnostic taxonomies.

2. A description of the diagnostic tests, methods, and/or criteria used.

This description should include the specific results of the diagnostic procedures, diagnostic tests utilized, and when administered. When available, both summary and specific test scores should be reported as standard scores and the norming population identified. When standard scores are not available, the mean, standard deviation, and the standard error of measurement are requested as appropriate to the construction of the test.

3. A description of the current substantial functional impact of the disability on a major life activity. This section should include specific test results and the examiner's narrative interpretation.

The current substantial functional impact on physical, perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral abilities should be described either explicitly or through the provision of specific results from the diagnostic procedures. Currency will be evaluated based on the typical progression of the disability, its interaction with development across the life span, the presence or absence of significant events (since the date of the evaluation) that would impact functioning, and the applicability of the information to the current context of the request for accommodations.

4. Treatments, medications, and/or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use.

A description of treatments, medication, assistive devices, accommodations and/or assistive services in current use and their estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability. Significant side affects that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance should also be noted.

5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the impact of the disability over time, particularly the next five years.

This description should provide an estimate of the change in the functional limitations of the disability over time and/or recommendations concerning the predictable needs for reevaluation.

6. The credentials of the diagnosing professionals if not clear from the letterhead or other forms.

Information describing the certification, licensure, and/or the professional training of individuals conducting the evaluation should be provided.

 

Beyond the six elements expected to be included in documentation; recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services will be considered.

Based on the context of the diagnostic evaluation, recommendations for specific accommodations, adaptive devices, and/or assistive services that may ameliorate the functional impact of the disability and provide fuller access should be described. As appropriate, recommendations for collateral medical, psychological, and/or educational support services or training that would be beneficial may also be included.

Recommendations from professionals with a history of working with the individual provide valuable information for the review process. The recommendations will be included in the evaluation of requests for accommodation and/or auxiliary aids. Where such recommendations are congruent with the programs, services, and benefits offered by JMU, they will be given deference. When recommendations go beyond services and benefits that can be provided by the university they may be used to suggest potential referrals to local area services providers outside of the university.