Documentation Guidelines

Guidelines for Documentation of Learning Disabilities

1. Testing must be current: administered within the past three to five years (No earlier than 10th grade). Although learning disabilities are generally considered to be lifelong, the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student's disabilities on his/her academic performance. Therefore, it is necessary to provide current documentation.

2. Dates of testing must be included in the report.

3. Testing must be performed by a qualified evaluator who is unrelated to the student by birth or marriage: clinical or educational psychologists, neuro-psychologists, learning disabilities specialists, or physicians known to specialize in learning disabilities.

4. Relevant Testing:

  • Actual scores from all instruments must be provided with standard scores and percentile rank scores.
  • The most recent edition of each assessment instrument must be administered.
  • The report must indicate the norm-reference group. For example, the report must specifically indicate how the student performs in relation to the average person in the general population.

    5. A diagnosis as per the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - V (DSM-V) is required. Terms such as "learning problems," "learning differences," "weaknesses," etc., are not the equivalent of a learning disability.

    6. Testing must demonstrate that a learning disability substantially limits a major life activity, and indicate how the student's current participation in courses, programs, services, or any other activity of the University may be affected with or without the use of mitigating measures. Toward this end, a diagnosis of a learning disability may not sufficiently demonstrate a need for the requested accommodations.

    Please also note:

    • While a student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may be submitted as evidence of past accommodations, it alone is not sufficient documentation. An IEP is the plan that the student's high school team developed to promote the student's academic success.
      Guidelines for Documentation of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

      Neuro-psychological or psycho-educational assessments are needed to determine the current impact of the condition on the individual's academic functioning. Because of the challenge of distinguishing normal behaviors and developmental patterns of adolescents and adults (e.g., procrastination, disorganization, distractibility, restlessness, boredom, academic under-achievement or failure, low self-esteem, chronic tardiness or inattendance) from clinically significant impairment, a multifaceted evaluation should address the intensity and frequency of the symptoms and whether these behaviors constitute an impairment which substantially limits a major life activity.

      In addition, the Verification of Disability Form for Medical Providers should be completed.

      Guidelines for Documentation of Psychiatric Disabilities

      Documentation of psychiatric disabilities must include all of the following elements:

      1. The evaluation must be performed by a qualified individual: The assessment must be provided by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or clinical social worker unrelated to the student by birth or marriage. An assessment from a general physician typically will not suffice.

      2. Currency of documentation: Evaluations should be dated within 6 months of the date of ODS registration. Older evaluations will be considered if submitted with more recent supplemental documentation. In addition, documentation will need to be updated at the beginning of each academic year in order to assess up-to-date accommodation needs. ODS reserves the right to adjust these time lines based on the nature of the student's disorder and request for accommodation.

      In addition, the Verification of Disability Form for Medical Providers should be completed.

      Guidelines for Documentation of All Other Disabilities

      The Verification of Disability Form for Medical Providers should be completed. Please submit this form to your medical provider for completion.