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Policy on Psychological/Psychiatric Disorders Documentation

1)   The evaluation must be done by a qualified professional.  Psychiatric disabilities comprise a range of conditions characterized by emotional, cognitive, and/or behavioral dysfunction.  Appropriately qualified professionals include those licensed as: psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, other relevantly trained medical doctors, clinical social workers, counselors (health services providers), and psychiatric nurse practitioners.

A.  This documentation can be prepared only by a person who is not a family member of the student and who is qualified by professional training and practice to diagnose, treat, and recommend accommodations for the visual disability.

B.   The evaluator must include credentials, licensure/certification information, address and phone number. 

C.  The evaluation must be typed on professional letterhead, signed, and dated.  Handwritten notes on prescription pads or handwritten treatment records will not be accepted. 

2)   Evaluation documentation must be current so as to address the current level of functioning and need for accommodations.  An updated evaluation may be required if observed changes may have occurred in the student’s performance or new treatments have been prescribed or discontinued.  The update should then include an assessment of functioning and accommodations, and be related to the previous diagnostic report.  Individualized Educational Plans (IEP) and Section 504 plans are valuable sources of information but are not sufficient for documentation of a disability and establishment of accommodations.

3)    Recommended documentation includes: 

A. A clear statement of the disability, including the diagnosis according to the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and a summary of present symptoms.  A diagnosis in and of itself does not automatically establish disability or warrant approval of requested accommodations.  The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current functional status of the student, and the student's request for accommodations. 

B. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results, including standardized scores if applicable.

C. Descriptive information stating the functional impacts or limitations of the disability upon learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning environment for which accommodations are being requested.  This may include a history of significant features of the disorder, duration and severity of the disorder, and relevant historical psychosocial information. 

D. Treatment information relating to the student's needs, including the functional impact of medications or other treatments upon the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary academic environment.  This may include the current medication/treatment regimen and any relevant side effects.  Also needed is information pertaining to the expected progression or stability of the disability’s impact. 

E. Suggestions of reasonable accommodations that might be appropriate at the postsecondary level are encouraged.  These recommendations should be directly related to the functional limitations of the disability, as supported by the documentation, and what the student needs to best function in an academic environment.  

4)   The Office of Accessibility and Disability Services will make the final determination of eligibility for accommodations and reserves the right to deny services or reasonable accommodations while the receipt of appropriate documentation is pending.  Students must complete the application process, submit disability documentation and bring a current detailed schedule before they can receive accommodations and services.  All documentation is confidential and on file only at the Office of Accessibility and Disability Services.