Documentation Guidelines for Disability Resources

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and University policy, students must submit appropriate documentation to the Disability Resources (DR) office in a timely manner before they qualify for accommodations. Documentation, prepared by a qualified evaluator, must at minimum substantiate the student’s disabling condition and verify the student’s current need for accommodations in order to have equal access to learning or housing environments or activities. Parents are not appropriate evaluators, even if they are otherwise qualified.

Documentation of a student’s disability is not part of the student’s academic record. All information related to a disability is treated as confidential and may be disclosed only with the student’s written consent or to those with a genuine “need to know,” consistent with the University’s policy and federal laws.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Students seeking accommodations for ADHD must provide documentation that establishes that the ADHD is significant enough to be a disabling condition. This means that the student is substantially limited in one or more major life activities compared to most people and that reasonable accommodations are necessary to ameliorate the impact of the disability. Typically, a complete psychoeducational assessment that includes the elements outlined below is necessary to demonstrate that the student has a disability and that accommodations are necessary to allow the student equal access to the University.

  1. Documentation should be current, based on an adult-normed assessment, and the last date of assessment should be stated.
  2. Documentation should be typed, signed by a qualified professional* and submitted on official letterhead. Professionals providing documentation should include information concerning their credentials.
  3. The report should include a specific diagnosis of ADHD using DSM-V or equivalent criteria.
  4. The evaluation should include a thorough clinical interview and developmental history, rating scales, checklists (both self-report and collateral sources), medication history, and childhood school information. An interpretative summary of all evaluations should be included.
  5. The report should state the functional limitations to the student’s major life activities that are indicated by these assessments. Describe the current impact of the ADHD on the student academically. The results of a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation should be submitted, including an aptitude assessment (e.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III), an achievement battery (e.g., Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III: Tests of Achievement) and an information processing assessment (e.g., Wechsler Memory Scale-III). Additionally, evaluators are encouraged to include additional assessments that, based on their knowledge of the student, would provide objective data that highlights the impact of the ADHD on the student’s functioning. Some examples of helpful assessments might include a Connors Continuous Performance Test or a Nelson-Denny Reading Test.
  6. Based on test and other assessment data, the qualified professional should offer specific recommendations for accommodations and a detailed explanation as to why each accommodation is needed.
  7. The report should include the results of other appropriate assessment measures to support a differential diagnosis, to rule out medical and/or psychiatric factors or to disentangle the ADHD from co-existing disorders should be provided.

Students or evaluators who have any questions about what type of evaluation is required are encouraged to call and speak with Disability Resources. We recognize that evaluations are expensive and time-consuming, and we regularly work with students and their evaluators to identify the most efficient evaluation possible.

Many Washington University students also take other standardized exams during their time at the University, such as the MCAT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, State Bar exams, MPRE, etc. When seeking testing for Washington University, Students are strongly encouraged to also look at the requirements of those standardized exams that the student is reasonably likely to take. Many testing agencies have requirements more stringent than Washington University, but with some planning, students can obtain an evaluation that will cover all their needs while at the University.

* The following professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate and diagnose ADHD provided they have comprehensive training in the differential diagnosis of ADHD and direct experience with an adolescent or adult ADHD population: clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, relevantly trained physicians or relevantly trained licensed professionals.

Autism Spectrum (ADHD)
Students who have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder have diverse profiles and needs. For this reason, students on the spectrum are asked to provide documentation that supports their requested accommodations. While confirmation of the diagnosis is important, the University’s focus in seeking documentation is on the impact of the diagnosis and what accommodations are necessary. In many cases, students may request academic accommodations such as extra time on exams. In these situations, the University would expect an educational assessment similar to what is required to document a learning disorder. Some students might find that they do not need any classroom accommodations at all, but would benefit from a housing accommodation. In these situations, a letter from a physician or therapist who knows the student well might adequately document the requested accommodation. If you are a student who is on the spectrum and you have been admitted to Washington University, you are invited to contact Disability Resources to discuss the types of accommodations that might be appropriate for you, as well as the documentation necessary to support the accommodations.
Hearing

The following documentation must be provided. The report must be typed, signed by a qualified professional, and submitted on official letterhead. Professionals providing documentation must include information concerning their credentials.

The following documentation must be provided. The report must be typed, signed by a qualified professional, and submitted on official letterhead. Professionals providing documentation must include information concerning their credentials.

  1. Documentation must be current (within three years). Date of the most recent assessment must be stated. If the condition involves progressive loss, more frequent updates may be required.
  2. Provide a current diagnosis of hearing impairment. Include level of severity and date and age of onset of hearing loss.
  3. Provide pertinent history.
  4. State what assessment procedures (e.g., audiogram, speech recognition or discrimination evaluations) were used to make diagnosis and include all scores.
  5. State whether the hearing loss is stable or progressive.
  6. Explain whether assistive devices such as hearing aids, FM systems, or cochlear implants are used and how effective they are.
  7. Describe the student’s functional limitations in an educational setting and how the hearing loss may affect class participation.
  8. Based on the information provided, offer specific suggestions for accommodations and a detailed explanation as to why each accommodation is needed. If evaluative information to justify a specific accommodation is inadequate, additional evaluations may be required prior to accommodation approval.
  9. The results of other appropriate assessment measures to support a differential diagnosis or to disentangle the hearing disability from co-existing disorders should be provided.
Learning
Students seeking accommodations for a Learning Disorder must provide documentation that establishes that the condition is significant enough to be disabling. This means that the student is substantially limited in one or more major life activities compared to most people and that reasonable accommodations are necessary to ameliorate the impact of the disability. Typically, a complete psychoeducational assessment that includes the elements outlined below is necessary to demonstrate that the student has a disability and that accommodations are necessary to allow the student equal access to the University.

  1. Documentation should be current, based on an adult-normed assessment, and the last date of assessment should be stated.
  2. Documentation should be typed, signed by a qualified professional* and submitted on official letterhead. Professionals providing documentation should include information concerning their credentials.
  3. The report should include a specific diagnosis of DSM-V or equivalent criteria.
    The evaluation should include a thorough clinical interview and developmental history, rating scales, checklists (both self-report and collateral sources), medication history, and childhood school information. An interpretative summary of all evaluations should be included.
  4. The report should state the functional limitations to the student’s major life activities that are indicated by these assessments. Describe the current impact of the learning disorder on the student academically. The results of a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation should be submitted, including an aptitude assessment (e.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III), an achievement battery (e.g., Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III: Tests of Achievement) and an information processing assessment (e.g., Wechsler Memory Scale-III). Additionally, evaluators are encouraged to include additional assessments that, based on their knowledge of the student, would provide objective data that highlights the impact of the learning disorder on the student’s functioning. One example of helpful assessments might include a Nelson-Denny Reading Test.
  5. Based on test and other assessment data, the qualified professional should offer specific recommendations for accommodations and a detailed explanation as to why each accommodation is needed.
  6. The report should include the results of other appropriate assessment measures to support a differential diagnosis, to rule out medical and/or psychiatric factors or to disentangle the learning disorder from co-existing disorders should be provided.

Students or evaluators who have any questions about what type of evaluation is required are encouraged to call and speak with Disability Resources. We recognize that evaluations are expensive and time-consuming, and we regularly work with students and their evaluators to identify the most efficient evaluation possible.

Many Washington University students also take other standardized exams during their time at the University, such as the MCAT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, State Bar exams, MPRE, etc. When seeking testing for Washington University, Students are strongly encouraged to also look at the requirements of those standardized exams that the student is reasonably likely to take. Many testing agencies have requirements more stringent than Washington University, but with some planning, students can obtain an evaluation that will cover all their needs while at the University.

*The following professionals would generally be considered to be qualified: clinical or educational psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disability specialists and medical doctors who specialize in specific learning disabilities.

Physical or Chronic Health Conditions

The following documentation must be provided. The report must be typed, signed by a qualified professional and submitted on official letterhead. Professionals providing documentation must include information concerning their credentials.

  1. State the most recent date of assessment. The report must be current. If the condition is progressive, updated documentation may be required periodically.
  2. The report must include a specific diagnosis of a disability using ICD-9-CM codes or equivalent criteria.
  3. Include a review of pertinent history and the date of first diagnosis.
  4. Provide a description of the current symptoms, fluctuating conditions/symptoms, and prognosis.
  5. Summarize any assessment procedures used to make the diagnosis.
  6. Provide medical information that should be considered in a college/university environment, including medication/therapeutic needs. State whether there are side effects of the prescribed medication/therapy, whether the student is still adjusting to the medication/therapy, and comment on the student’s medication/therapy compliance history. State whether there are crisis episodes associated with the disability.
  7. State what substantial limitations to this student’s major life activities are indicated by the evaluation.
  8. Based on the information provided, offer specific suggestions for accommodations and a detailed explanation as to why each accommodation is needed. If evaluative information to justify a specific accommodation is inadequate, additional evaluations may be required prior to accommodation approval.
  9. The results of other appropriate assessment measures to support a differential diagnosis or to disentangle this disability from co-existing disorders should be provided.
Psychiatric

The following documentation must be provided. The report must be typed, signed by a qualified professional and submitted on official letterhead. Professionals providing documentation must include information concerning their credentials.

  1. The most recent assessment must be current and must state the last date of assessment. State the most recent date of assessment (or reassessment).
  2. The report must include a specific diagnosis using DSM-IV or equivalent criteria.
  3. Include a review of pertinent history and the date of first diagnosis.
  4. Provide a description of the current symptoms, fluctuating conditions/symptoms, and prognosis.
  5. Summarize the assessment procedures used to make the psychiatric diagnosis.
  6. Provide medical information that should be considered in a college/university environment, including medication/therapeutic needs. State whether there are side effects of the prescribed medication, whether the student is still adjusting to the medication, and comment on the student’s compliance history. State whether there are crisis episodes associated with the diagnosis.
  7. State what substantial functional limitations to this student’s major life activities are indicated by the evaluation.
  8. Based on the information provided, offer specific suggestions for accommodations and a detailed explanation as to why each accommodation is needed. If evaluative information to justify a specific accommodation is inadequate, additional evaluations may be required prior to accommodation approval.
  9. The results of other appropriate assessment measures to support a differential diagnosis, to rule out medical or other factors or to disentangle the psychiatric disability from co-existing disorders should be provided.
Temporary Injuries
Temporary injuries are not recognized as disabilities by the Americans with Disabilities Act. At the same time, students who experience injuries might reasonably struggle to perform as they might when well.

In some circumstances, Disability Resources may be able to provide limited “courtesy accommodations” to students on a short-term basis. For example, Disability Resources may be able to provide a student who has broken their dominant hand with notes from classes where Disability Resources has already hired note takers for students with disabilities. Disability Resources is not able to provide injured students with formal accommodations such as extended time on exams; however, when possible, Disability Resources will work with professors to assist them as they make modifications for students.

Students with injuries that affect mobility are encouraged to contact Parking and Transportation Services. Students may request that they be approved for the Medical Escort Service. Additional information about this service can be found on the Physical Accessibility on Campus post on this website.

Vision

The following information must be provided. The report must be typed, signed by a qualified professional, and submitted on official letterhead. Professionals providing documentation must include information concerning their credentials.

  1. Documentation must be current, and the date of the most recent assessment must be stated. If the condition involves progressive loss, updated documentation may be necessary.
  2. The report must include a specific diagnosis of blindness or a low vision disability. Provide a summary of assessment procedures and scores used to make the diagnosis.
  3. Provide a statement of present visual functioning and whether the visual deficits are progressive or stable.
  4. State how the visual deficits substantially limit the student’s functioning in a college/university setting.
  5. Based on the information provided, offer specific suggestions for accommodations and a detailed explanation as to why each accommodation is needed. If evaluative information to justify a specific accommodation is inadequate, additional evaluations may be required prior to accommodation approval.
  6. The results of other appropriate assessment measures to identify co-existing disorders should be provided.

Questions?

Contact us at 314-935-5970 or by email

Location: Ground floor of Gregg House, South 40

Office hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.