Some disabilities can be verified by observation in Student Disability Services, such as the obvious use of a wheelchair for mobility impairment. Other disabilities require formal written documentation by a qualified professional not related to the student. Documentation must be typed and printed on the letterhead of the professional. Handwritten notes on prescription pads will not be accepted. A high school IEP or 504 plan is not sufficient documentation.
All documentation of a disability should be current (within the past three years), must be signed by a qualified professional, printed on the professional’s letterhead, and include:
- A diagnosis including the type of disability, date of current evaluation, and date of the original diagnosis;
- A description of the current functional impact of the disability;
- Treatments, medications, and assistive devices currently prescribed or in use;
- Recommendations for the type of assistive devices or accommodations that could benefit the student with a disability;
- The credentials of the diagnosing professional.
Students with a learning disability must submit a comprehensive report of a psychoeducational assessment performed by a qualified professional (e.g., licensed psychologist, school psychologist, neuropsychologist, learning disabilities specialist, or psychometrist). The assessment should include:
- Aptitude: a complete intellectual assessment such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-3) with scaled scores and percentiles and/or the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement with standard scores and percentiles. Documentation must be printed on the professional’s letterhead and signed by the professional.
- Academic Achievement: a comprehensive academic achieve battery which includes current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics, oral and written language. Acceptable instruments include the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT), the Nelson-Denny Reading Test, or the Woodcock Reading Master Tests Revised.
- Information Processing: specific areas of information processing (e.g., short and long term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual processing, processing speed, executive functioning, and motor ability). Use of subtests from the WAIS-3, Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-3)are acceptable.
- Conclusions: the report should conclude with a clinical summary with a diagnosis and suggested accommodations appropriate to the learning deficits and strengths of the student.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Students who desire services and accommodations on the basis of ADD/ADHD must submit a comprehensive assessment completed by a qualified professional who has experience diagnosing and treating this condition (e.g., licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, family physicians). This assessment must include measurements of aptitude, achievement, information processing, and measures specific to ADD/ADHD. A minimum of two assessments must be administered.
Examples of such assessments include:
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-3)
- Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Ability
- Connors AD/HD Rating Scale
- Connors Continuous Performance Test III
- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
The assessment should be current (within the past three years) and include:
- DSM-IV diagnosis and description of past and current symptoms
- Narrative summary of assessment procedures including all scores
- Description of present symptoms
- Medication needs and side effects of how the medication will affect the student’s academic performance
- Recommendations for reasonable accommodations supported by the diagnosis and functional impact of the disability
Students who desire services and accommodations on the basis of psychiatric/psychological disabilities must submit documentation completed by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist who has experience in treating the condition and must include the following.
- DSM-IV diagnosis and a description of past and present symptoms
- Psychological tests used to make the diagnosis
- Current medications, side affects and compliance issues
- Therapeutic interventions and compliance to ensure accommodations do not interfere
Low Vision or Blindness
- Ocular assessment from licensed ophthalmologist
- Low vision evaluation of residual functioning, if appropriate
- Functional impact of the visual disability and recommendations for accommodations
- A narrative report from an ophthalmologist including diagnosis and progression
Deafness or Hard of Hearing
- An audiological evaluation/exam and/or audiogram
- An interpretation of the functional impact of the hearing impairment/deafness
- A narrative report from the audiologist including diagnosis, profession, and recommendations for accommodations.
- Clear statement of diagnosis of health/medical/mobility impairment
- Date of diagnosis along with prognosis if the condition is expected to change over time
- Medical information including the impact of medication and side affects, if appropriate
- Recommendations for reasonable accommodation that are supported by the diagnosis and functional impact of the disability