In order to determine eligibility of accommodations as mandated under the ADA, UAC requires the student to provide objective evidence that verifies that the student’s condition meets the definition of “disability” under current laws and identifies functional limitations in regards to academics. Temporary accommodations MAY BE PROVIDED at the counselor’s discretion for up to one semester if a student is in the process of obtaining current documentation.
The requirement of documentation serves two purposes:
- Documentation establishes protection from discrimination.
- Documentation assists in determining the reasonable accommodations to which the student may be entitled. Documentation for this purpose must establish both the presence of a disability AND provide adequate information regarding the possible functional impact of the disability on academic endeavors in order to identify effective accommodations.
Acceptable sources of documentation for substantiating a student’s disability and request for particular accommodations can take a variety of forms:
Primary Documentation: Student’s Self-Report: The student is a vital source of information regarding how he or she may be “limited by impairment.” A student’s narrative of his or her experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations is an important tool which, when structured by interview or questionnaire and interpreted, may be sufficient for establishing disability and a need for accommodation.
Secondary Documentation: Observation and Interaction: The impressions and conclusions formed by higher education disability professionals during interviews and conversations with students or in evaluating the effectiveness of previously implemented or provisional accommodations are important forms of documentation. Experienced disability professionals should feel comfortable using their observations of students’ language, performance, and strategies as an appropriate tool in validating student narrative and self-report.
Tertiary documentation: Information From External or Third Parties: Documentation from external sources may include educational or medical records, reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP), and teacher observations. External documentation will vary in its relevance and value depending on the original context, credentials of the evaluator, the level of detail provided, and the comprehensiveness of the narrative. However, all forms of documentation are meaningful and should be mined for pertinent information.