Physical and Systemic Disability

Documentation Guidelines

Physical and Systemic Disabilities

Physical and systemic disorders include, but are not limited to orthopedic impairments or injuries (recovery from ankle surgery, broken hand, etc.), all chronic health conditions (asthma, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, etc.), neurological or other condition which substantially limits a student's participation academically. 

I. The evaluation must be done by a qualified professional. Any physical disability or systemic illness is considered to be in the medical domain and requires the expertise of a physician, though other qualified professionals may provide relevant supplemental information. 

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 medical disability.

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

II. 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.

III. Recommended documentation includes: 

A. A specific diagnostic statement along with information identifying the disability, date of the current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis. 

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

C. Documentation must be recent in order to assess the current impact on academic functioning. Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the physical disorder or systemic illness has on the student's functioning. The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the student's request for accommodations, and the current functional status of the student. Therefore, disabilities that are sporadic, progressive, or otherwise change so as to alter necessary accommodations may require more frequent and recent documentation.

D. Documentation must be comprehensive and establish clear evidence of the condition and a significant impact on academic functioning. Needed is a description of the current functional impact of the disability upon learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it limits the individual in the learning environment for which accommodations are being requested. Additionally needed is information pertaining to the expected progression or stability of the disability's impact over time. 

E. Medical information relating to the student's needs to include the impact of treatments (e.g. medications) and assistive devices upon the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment. 

F. Documentation must be relevant to requested accommodations. 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. 

IV. 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.