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Documenting a Disability
To receive accommodations through our office, you must provide documentation establishing the presence of a substantially limiting condition and describing its current impact on the your academic success. This information is necessary for identifying possible accommodations. A clinical diagnosis is not synonymous with a disability. Evidence sufficient to render a clinical diagnosis may not be adequate to determine if an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity.
Documentation will be reviewed in the order it is received; therefore it is recommended that it is submitted in advance of any accommodation needs.
To meet DSS’s general criteria, all documentation must:
- Be prepared by a professional (unrelated to the student) who is licensed to practice within a field directly related to, and associated with, the student’s condition.
- Be printed on either official stationery or the appropriate DSS form and include printed name, contact information, and signature of the provider.
- Include a clear statement of diagnosis identifying the disability and describe by what means the condition was diagnosed.
- Meet specific guidelines as outlined on the DSS website for: learning disabilities; attention deficit/hyperactive disorder; autism spectrum disorder; psychological, mobility, hearing, vision, neurological, or medical impairment/ disorder.
- Be completed within the last five years. Conditions subject to episodes of progression or improvement may require updated documentation every six to twelve months. Sensory and/or mobility conditions unlikely to change significantly over time, provided the documentation adequately establishes the presence of significant limitations, may be acceptable if over five years old. For conditions in which diagnosis is dependent on results obtained from standardized testing, the adult versions of all instruments must be used.
- Contain information supportive of the student’s request for specific academic supports, auxiliary aids, and accommodations.
- Contain a clearly defined logic relating provider recommended accommodations/strategies to specific functional limitations.
DSS does not accept the following documentation:
- Handwritten letters from licensed professionals
- Handwritten patient records or notes from patient charts
- Documentation provided by a member of the student’s family
- Diagnoses on prescription pads
- Research articles
- Correspondence from educational institutions or testing agencies not directly addressed to DSS
- Individual Education Program (IEP) and 504 Plans
- A possible exception would be an IEP, CER, or 504 Plan that meets all of the requirements defined by the above guidelines.
For additional guidance regarding documentation for a specific disability, please review the documents below:
- Acquired Brain Injury
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Learning Disabilities
- Chronic Health Conditions
- Mobility Impairments
- Neurological Disorders
- Psychological Conditions
- Temporary Impairments
- Visual Disorders
The form will allow you to attach documentation to your online request for services. You may also submit your documentation by fax to (812) 855-7650 or by mail to our address listed on the home page of our website.