Students with disabilities who wish to access services should contact Disability Support Services, coordinated by Amy Janzen (405.425.5907 or email@example.com). Provision of services includes an intake process during which the existence of a disability and any functional limitations are verified and appropriate strategies and resources are identified.
How do students qualify for services?
Disability Support Services is committed to serving all students with disabilities as defined by federal regulations.
A qualified person with a disability means:
… an individual with a disability, who, with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architecture, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.
(Public Law 101-336. Section 201)
The federal legal definition of a disabled person includes a person who:
- has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
- has a record of such impairment; or
- is regarded as having such impairment.
(Public Law 101-336, Section 3)
What documentation is required?
Students must provide documentation of their disability and their need for accommodation before receiving services. This documentation can only be prepared by a person who is not a family member of the student and who is qualified by professional training and practice to diagnose and treat the impairment leading to the disability. Documentation must be typed or word-processed and printed on the letterhead of either the practitioner or the agency hosting the practice. Handwritten notes on prescription pads or handwritten treatment records will not be accepted. A student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan is not sufficient documentation.
In general, documentation of disability should be reasonably current and include:
- A diagnostic statement identifying the disability, date of the current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis;
- A description of the diagnostic criteria used;
- A description of the current functional impact of the disability;
- Treatments, medications, and/or assistive devices currently prescribed or in use;
- A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability over time and its impact;
- The credentials of the diagnosing professional(s);
- Recommendations for reasonable accommodation. These recom-mendations should be supported by the diagnosis. Please note that Disability Support Services will make the final determination of eligibility for accommodations.
Learning Disability Documentation
Students applying for services and accommodations on the basis of 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). The assessment should be reasonably current, that is, one that was completed in the junior or senior year of high school or as an adult. All documentation is confidential and is on file only at the Disability Support Services (DSS). In accordance with the guidelines developed by the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), the psychoeducational assessment should contain:
- Aptitude – a complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-3) with scaled scores and percentiles and/or the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised (WJPEBR): Part 1, Tests of Cognitive Ability with standard scores and percentiles) are the preferred instruments.
- Academic Achievement – a comprehensive academic achievement battery with all subtests and standard scores reported for those subtests administered. The battery should include current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics and oral and written language. Acceptable instruments include: the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT) or specific achievement tests like the Nelson-Denny Reading Test, and the Woodcock Reading Mastery 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, and /or the cognitive portion of the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised is acceptable. Additional testing such as the Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-3) designed to assist in corroborating the existence of processing disorders as identified by the WAIS-3 or the WJPEB-R Part 1 is recommended.
- Conclusions – the report should conclude with a clinical summary which brings the supported judgment of the person conducting the assessment to bear in stating a diagnosis. Suggestions of reasonable accommodations that might be appropriate at the postsecondary level are encouraged. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis. Please note that Disability Support Services will make the final determination of eligibility for accommodations.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders Documentation
Students applying for services and accommodations on the basis of ADD/ADHD must submit a comprehensive report of a psychoeducational assessment completed by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist who has experience diagnosing and treating this condition. This psychoeducational assessment must include measurements of aptitude, achievement, information processing (see detailed examples in learning disability section), and measures specifically assessing impact of ADHD. The assessment should be reasonably current, that is, one that was completed in the junior or senior year of high school or as an adult. In addition to the psychoeducational assessment, documentation must address the following criteria:
- DSM-IV diagnosis and a description of supporting past and present symptoms.
- Narrative summary of assessment procedures, including all scores used to make the diagnosis.
- Description of present symptoms, fluctuating conditions and prognosis.
- Medication needs and side effects of how the medication will affect the student’s academic performance.
- Recommendations for reasonable accommodation.
Students applying for services and accommodations on the basis of psychiatric disabilities must submit documentation completed by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist who has experience diagnosing and treating this condition and must address the following criteria:
- DSM-IV diagnosis.
- Psychological test used to make the diagnosis and all scores to support the diagnosis.
- Current Medications , side effects and compliance with medication plan.
- Therapeutic interventions and compliance with such to ensure that accommodations do not jeopardize successful therapeutic interventions.
Low Vision or Blindness
Students requesting services and accommodations based on a visual impairment must provide documentation including:
- Ocular assessment from licensed ophthalmologist. Documentation must be current if visual impairment is progressive.
- 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, progression, functional impact, and recommendations for accommodations.
Hearing Impairment or Deafness
Students requesting services and accommodations based on a hearing loss or deafness must provide the following documentation to receive services:
- An audiological evaluation/exam and/or audiogram. Documentation must be current if impairment is progressive.
- An interpretation of the functional impact of the hearing impairment/deafness and hearing aid evaluation, where appropriate.
- A narrative report from the audiologist including diagnosis, progression, functional impact, and recommendations for accommodation.
Nonspecific Disabilities, Injuries, and Conditions
Students must provide documentation of their disability and their need for accommodation before receiving services. Your documentation needs to be current (in order to reflect present functioning) and from a qualified professional. (e.g. medical doctor). The medical report should be specific about your diagnosis and functional limitations, and signed by the professional who is making the diagnosis. All documentation is confidential and is on file only at the Disability Support Services (DSS).
If your disability is progressive, or if you experience any change in the severity that would affect your accommodations, you must provide updated documentation that reflects the change in status.
Students requesting accommodations on the basis of other nonspecific disabling injuries and conditions must provide documentation consisting of:
- Description of the disability from Medical or other licensed professional describing the nature of the condition including information pertaining to the history, expected course of treatment, and limitations resulting from the condition or treatments.
- Documentation must be recent in order to assess the current impact on academic functioning.
- Documentation must be comprehensive and establish clear evidence of a significant impact on academic functioning.
- Recommendations for reasonable accommodation. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis. Please note that Disability Support Services will make the final determination of eligibility for accommodations.
- Credentials of the diagnosing professionals.
Information obtained is confidential and is used solely for the purpose of identifying appropriate support services. Information regarding a student’s disability is only released with written permission from the student or so directed by a Court of Law.
How does a student obtain services?
Services must be requested by the student in writing each semester. Students must complete a Service Request Form (SRF) to initiate their requests, which should be done prior to or at the beginning of the semester to help ensure timely provision of necessary accommodations. Students must also identify themselves to their instructors to facilitate implementation of the identified classroom accommodations. Consultation among the student, his/her instructor(s), and the Coordinator of Disability Support Services may be necessary for some accommodations. Each student is authorized to act as his/her own advocate and has the major responsibility for securing assistance. Early and regular contact with Disability Support Services will help ensure the timely identification and provision of services and accommodations.
Accommodations cannot be retroactive and begin only after documentation is received and a reasonable time for accommodation development has been allowed