Eligibility Process and Documentation Guidelines
Student Disability Services (SDS) follows a process to determine eligibility for reasonable and appropriate accommodations. The eligibility process is aligned with best practice and subscribes to current legal precedent in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). The process is individualized and interactive and begins with a student's self report.
- Student Self-Report
To determine a student's eligibility for disability-related accommodations students must first self-report their disability and accommodation needs to SDS. Completing the SDS Confidential Registration Form fulfills the self-reporting requirement. It provides students an opportunity to describe firsthand how their disability impacts them in the current educational environment, types of accommodations previously received, and those they anticipate may be needed. Students may include supplemental information as appropriate.
- Direct Observation and Interaction
Secondly, SDS encourages students to participate in an intake meeting once the form(s) and other relevant documentation have been submitted to SDS. An interactive conversation between SDS and the student is often invaluable to the process.
- Information from External or Third Parties
Thirdly, to further substantiate a disability as defined by ADAAA, SDS encourages students to submit documentation from a licensed professional. The report should describe the nature and impact of the student's disability on a major life activity and more specifically within an educational setting. Documentation of a disability from a qualified evaluator or professional is often helpful in establishing eligibility for accommodations. Information from a qualified professional typically fills in any information gaps from other documentation sources. Documentation may include but is not limited to psychoeducational or neuropsychological assessments and/or other clinical reports.
The following criteria is commonly included in third party evaluations and reports:
- A definitive diagnosis from the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)
- A description of the functional limitations as a result of the disability
- The impact that the disability has on a major life activity and within a university setting
- History of onset with current level of severity, expected duration, and/or progression
- Accommodations recommended based on a substantial limitation to a major life activity
- Typed on letterhead, signed, and dated by a qualified professional
In the absence of or in addition to an evaluator's report, students may have their clinician complete the SDS Disability Certification Form. This form is designed to address each of the criteria noted above. SDS reserves the right to ask for additional documentation if necessary to determine eligibility for accommodations. In all, SDS considers information from these three primary documentation sources as is necessary and appropriate to potentially establish eligibility for accommodations.