Student Success Center

Disability Services / Documentation Guidelines


Riverland Community College is asking you to provide private information in order to process your request for disability services.  The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility for disability services.  You are not legally required to provide this information; however, the college may not be able to process your request if you do not provide sufficient information.  Access to this information will be limited to school officials. Under certain circumstances, federal and state laws authorize release of private information without your consent to state and federal agencies or as otherwise permitted by other state and federal laws.


These guidelines will assist you in providing the appropriate documentation based on your specific disability. You are encouraged to share these guidelines with the appropriate high school or medical professional.

 

Blind and Low Vision Documentation Guidelines

Ophthalmologists are the primary professionals involved in diagnosis and medical treatment of individuals who are blind or experience low vision. Optometrists provide information regarding the measurement of visual acuity as well as tracking and fusion difficulties. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student.
The following guidelines are provided to assist the Disability Service Office in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of vision-related disability with supporting numerical description that reflects the current impact the blindness or vision loss has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations),
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results including standardized scores,
  • Present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis,
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs the status of the individual's vision (static or changing), and its impact on the demands of the academic program,
  • Narrative or descriptive text providing both quantitative and qualitative information about the student's abilities that might be helpful in understanding the student's profile including functional limitation, the use of corrective lenses and ongoing visual therapy (if appropriate),
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the Disability Service Office collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.
Source: The Policy Book, LRP Publications, 2000
 

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Documentation Guidelines

Physicians, including otorhinolaryngologists and otologists, are qualified to provide diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders. Audiologists may also provide current audiograms. The diagnostician should be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student.
The following guidelines are provided to assist the Disability Service Office in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of deafness or hearing loss, with a current audiogram that reflects the current impact the deafness or hearing loss has on the student's functioning, (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations),
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a narrative summary of evaluation results, if appropriate,
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs, the status of the individual's hearing (static or changing) and its impact on the demands of the academic program,
  • A statement regarding the use of hearing aids (if appropriate),
  • A statement of the functional impacts or limitations of the hearing loss on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the Disability Service Office collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.
Source: The Policy Book, LRP Publications, 2000

 

Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury Documentation Guidelines

Head injury or traumatic brain injury is considered a medical or clinical diagnosis. Individuals qualified to render a diagnosis for these disorders are practitioners who have been trained in the assessment of head injury or traumatic brain injury. Recommended practitioners include: physicians; neurologists; licensed, clinical, rehabilitation and school psychologists; neuropsychologists and psychiatrists. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student.
The following guidelines are provided to assist the Disability Service Office in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of the head injury or traumatic brain injury and the probable site of lesion.
  • Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the head injury has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations).
  • A summary of cognitive and achievement measures used and evaluation results including standardized scores or percentiles used to make the diagnosis.
  • A summary of present residual symptoms which meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  • Medical information relating to student's needs to include the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitation of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the Disability Service Office collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.
Source: The Policy Book, LRP Publications, 2000

 

Physical and Systemic Disorders Documentation Guidelines

Any physical disability or systemic illness is considered to be in the medical domain and requires expertise of a physician, including a neurologist, physiatrist or other medical specialist with experience and expertise in the area for which accommodations are being requested. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student.
The following guidelines are provided to assist the Disability Service Office in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the orthopedic/mobility disability or systemic illness,
  • Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the physical disability 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 status of the student). Therefore, disabilities that are sporadic or degenerative may require more frequent documentation,
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable,
  • A description of present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis,
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs to include the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment,
  • A statement of the functional impact of limitation of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the Disability Service Office collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.
Source: The Policy Book, LRP Publications, 2000

 

Psychological Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AADHD) Documentation Guidelines

Psychological and psychiatric disabilities, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) comprise a range of conditions characterized by emotional, cognitive, and/or behavioral dysfunction. A diagnosis by a licensed mental health professional including psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychiatrists, other relevantly trained medical doctors, clinical social workers, licensed counselors, and psychiatric nurse practitioners is required. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. The name, title, and credentials of the qualified professional writing the report should be included.
Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the disability has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations). Documentation should include:

  • A clear statement of the disability, including the DSM-IV-TR diagnosis and a summary of present symptoms (based on the DSM-IV-TR or ICD-10). A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable,
  • A description of the current functional limitations in the academic environment as well as across other settings. This may include a history of presenting symptoms, duration and severity of the disorder, and relevant historical and familial data,
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs, including the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment. This may include the current medication regimen and side effects (if relevant),
  • Relevant information regarding current treatment,
  • A specific request for accommodations with accompanying rationale. A link must be established between the requested accommodations and the functional limitations of the student in the academic environment. A diagnosis in and of itself does not automatically warrant approval of requested accommodations.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the Disability Service Office collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.
Adapted from the Guidelines for Documentation of Psychiatric Disabilities, Educational Testing Service, July 2001

 

Specific Learning Disability Documentation Guidelines

Students who are seeking support services from the Disability Service Office (CSD) on the basis of a diagnosed specific learning disability are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Protection under these civil rights statutes is determined on a case-by-case basis and is based upon documentation of a learning disability that currently substantially limits some major life activity including learning.
The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and to support requests for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids. The Associate Director of Learning Disabilities is available to consult with diagnosticians regarding any of these guidelines.

  1. Testing must be comprehensive. It is not acceptable to administer only one test for the purpose of diagnosis. Minimally, domains to be addressed must include (but not be limited to):
    1. Aptitude. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III (WAIS-III) with subtest scores is the preferred instrument. The Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III: Tests of Cognitive Ability or the Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition are acceptable. The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT) is not a comprehensive measure and therefore is not suitable.
    2. Achievement. Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics and written language are required. Acceptable instruments include the Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III: Tests of Achievement; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - II (WIAT-II); Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK); Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA); or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language 3 (TOWL 3), Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests Revised, or the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test. The Wide Range Achievement Test 3 (WRAT-3) and the Mini-Battery of Achievement (MBA) are NOT comprehensive measures of achievement and therefore are not suitable.
    3. Information Processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and long-term memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual perception/processing; processing speed) must be assessed. Information from subtests on the WAIS-III, the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Ability, or the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude-Adult (DTLA-A), as well as other instruments relevant to the presenting learning problem(s) may be used to address these areas.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list or to restrict assessment in other pertinent and helpful areas such as vocational interests and aptitudes.

  1. Testing must be current. In most cases, this means testing that has been conducted within the past three years. Because 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, it is in a student’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation.
  2. There must be clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability. Individual “learning styles” and “learning differences” in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.
  3. Actual test scores must be provided. Standard scores are required; percentiles and grade equivalents are not acceptable unless standard scores are also included. This is important since certain University policies and procedures (e.g., petitioning for permission to substitute courses) require actual data to substantiate eligibility.
  4. In addition to actual test scores, interpretation of results is required. Test protocol sheets or scores alone are not sufficient.
  5. Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of learning disabilities must be qualified to do so. Trained, certified and/or licensed school psychologists, neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, learning disabilities specialists, and other professionals with training and experience relevant to adults and their evaluation are typically involved in the process of assessment. Experience in working with an adult population is essential.
  6. Tests used to document eligibility must be technically sound (i.e., statistically reliable and valid) and standardized for use with an adult population.
  7. Diagnostic reports must include the names, titles, and professional credentials (e.g., licensed psychologist) of the evaluators as well as the date(s) of testing. All reports must be typed. Handwritten scores or summary sheets are not acceptable.
  8. A written summary of or background information about the student’s relevant educational, medical, and family histories that relate to the learning disability must be included.
  9. Any recommendation for an accommodation should be based on objective evidence of a substantial limitation to learning, supported by specific test results or clinical observations. Reports should establish the rationale for any accommodation that is recommended, using test data to document the need.
  10. A description of any accommodation and/or auxiliary aid that has been used at the secondary or postsecondary level should be discussed. Include information about the specific conditions under which the accommodation was used (e.g., standardized testing, final exams) and whether or not it benefited the student.
  11. Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and Section 504 plans are useful, but are not, in and of themselves, sufficient documentation to establish the rationale for accommodations.

 

Visual Disorders/Not Acuity Documentation Guidelines

Learning-related visual disabilities include, but are not limited to, the following disorders: ocular motility dysfunction/eye movement disorders, vergence dysfunction/inefficiency in using both eyes together, strabismus/misalignment of the eyes, amblyopia/lazy eye, accommodative disorders/focusing problems, visual sensory disorders, and motor integration. Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of these disabilities must be qualified to do so and have expertise in assessing the needs of adult learners. The qualified professional in this field is licensed to practice as an optometrist and is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. The diagnostician must be impartial and not a family member.
The following guidelines are provided to assist the Disability Service Office in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of the learning-related visual disability with supporting numerical description (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations). Documentation must reflect the current impact the disability has on the student's functioning,
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results including standardized scores,
  • Present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis,
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs the status of the individual's vision (static or changing), and its impact on the demands of the academic program,
  • Narrative or descriptive text providing both quantitative and qualitative information about the student's abilities that might be helpful in understanding the student's profile including the use of corrective lenses and ongoing visual therapy (if appropriate),
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activities and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the Disability Service Office collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.
Source: The Policy Book, LRP Publications, 2000