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Documentation Guidelines

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Psychological Disability Documentation Guidelines

Students with a psychological disability are provided accommodations and coordinated support services through the Office of Disability Services. Support services and accommodations are determined by the individual diagnostic information submitted by the student.

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 learning. 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.

Because psychological disabilities can change over time, a current diagnosis is critical for determining eligibility and providing appropriate accommodations and support services. Depending on the disability, evaluations may need to be updated as often as every six (6) months.

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

Documentation Guidelines

I. Qualifications of the Evaluator

The documentation must include the following information and be typed on official letterhead, dated, and signed:

  • Names, titles, address and phone numbers of evaluator(s)
  • License/certification, area of specialization, place of employment of evaluator(s)
  • Documentation for psychological disabilities should come from primary health care professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychological nurses, and other appropriate licensed mental health professionals. Disability Services staff is available to consult with diagnosticians regarding any of these guidelines.
  • The diagnosing professional may not be a relative.

II. Diagnosis

The documentation must include a clear statement of the individual's psychological condition (DSM IV diagnosis with Axes I, II, and V), with a description of diagnostic tests, methods, and/or criteria used.

III. Evaluation and Treatment

The documentation must give dates of evaluation or treatment (from _____ to_____) in order to establish the history of the condition and recency of the evaluation (must be at least within the last year). This should include specific results and the examiner's narrative interpretation. The evaluation should include treatments, medications, or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use. In addition, please provide a description of the expected progression or stability of the impact of the disability over time, particularly the next five years.

If this person has been referred for a complete battery of testing for learning disabilities or Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder to rule out any co-morbidity, please provide a copy of the documentation and date completed.

IV. Accommodations

The documentation should indicate how the individual's condition might affect him/her in the academic/college setting. The evaluation should list functional limitations experienced by the student. This is very helpful in choosing appropriate accommodations. The attached list can be used as a checklist by the evaluator(s).

V. Recommendations

Beyond the four (4) elements needed for documentation, recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services (i.e. referral to the Counseling & Student Development Center and/or, off-campus resources for counseling, etc.) will be considered within the context of the student's program.

**Please include a completed Psychiatric Functional Limitations Checklist with this documentation.