Office of Disability Services
Warner University 13895 HWY 27 Lake Wales, FL 33859 Office 863-638-7244 FAX 863-638-7653 firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidelines for Documenting Disabilities
Provide a copy of the documentation of your specific disability.
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“These include mobility, manual, hearing, and visual impairments. The clinician appears to be qualified to make the diagnosis in the area of specialization and is not a member of the student’s family. The evaluation is written on professional letterhead, is current, and contains the date of the last appointment with the student. The clinician clearly indicates a claimed disability that is covered under the ADA. The documentation clearly supports the claimed disability with relevant medical and other histories. The evaluation contains a description of current medications, treatments, and assistive devices and technologies with estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability, i.e., the extent of effectiveness of corrective lenses, use of crutches, etc.; and history of medication side effects known to have affected the student. Give a description of the functional limitations resulting from the disability, which specifically addresses a postsecondary residential and educational setting. The documentation clearly supports the direct link to and need for the requested accommodations. Application for Accommodations
A Qualified Professional Must Conduct the Evaluation
Professionals conducting assessments and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. For example, the following professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities provided that they have additional training and experience in evaluating adolescent/adult learning disabilities: clinical or educational psychologists; school psychologists; neuropsychologists; learning disabilities specialists; medical doctors with training and experience in the assessment of learning problems in adolescents and adults. It is not appropriate for professionals to evaluate members of their own families. All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, signed, and otherwise legible.
Testing Must Be Current
Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon an assessment of the current impact of the student’s disabilities on his or her academic performance, it is in a student’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. In most cases, this means that testing usually has been conducted within the past three years.
Comprehensive Documentation Necessary to Substantiate the Learning Disability
Prior documentation may have been useful in determining appropriate services in the past. However, documentation must validate the need for services based on the individual’s current level of functioning in the educational setting. A school plan such as an individualized educational plan (IEP) or a 504 plan is insufficient documentation in and of itself but can be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A comprehensive assessment battery and the resulting diagnostic report should include a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, and information processing.
Because learning disabilities are commonly manifested during childhood, though not always formally diagnosed, relevant historical information regarding the student’s academic history and learning processes in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education must be investigated and documented. An evaluation report should include the summary of a comprehensive diagnostic interview by a qualified evaluator.
By using a combination of student self-report, interviews with others, and historical documentation such as transcripts and standardized test scores, the diagnostician should provide a summary of the following: A description of the presenting problem(s); Developmental history; Relevant medical history including the absence of a medical basis for the present symptoms; Academic history including results of prior standardized testing; reports of classroom performance; Relevant family history, including the primary language of the home, and the student’s current level of fluency of English; Psychosocial history; Relevant employment history; A discussion of dual diagnosis, alternative or co-existing mood, behavioral, neurological, and/or personality disorders along with any history of relevant medication and current use which may impact the individual’s learning; and exploration of possible alternatives which may mimic a learning disability when, in fact, one is not present.
The neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation for the diagnosis of a specific learning disability must provide clear and specific evidence that a learning disability does or does not exist. Assessment, and any resulting diagnosis, must consist of and be based on a comprehensive assessment battery, which does not rely on any one test or subtest.
Aptitude/ Cognitive Ability. A complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported is essential.
Academic Achievement. A comprehensive academic achievement battery is essential with all subtests and standard scores reported for those subtests administered. The battery must include current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written language.
Information Processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and long-term memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual perception/ processing; processing speed; executive functioning; motor ability) should be assessed.
Other Assessment Measures. Non-standard measures and informal assessment procedures or observations may be helpful in determining performance across a variety of domains. Other formal assessment measures may be integrated with the above instruments to help rule in or rule out the learning disability to differentiate it from co-existing neurological and/or psychiatric disorders, i.e., to establish a differential diagnosis. The evaluator should address why these assessments were included in addition to the standard measures. In addition to standardized tests, it is also very useful to include informal observations of the student during the test administration.
The Documentation Must Include a Specific Diagnosis
Nonspecific diagnoses, such as individual “learning styles,” “learning differences,” “academic problems,” “computer phobias,” “slow reader,” and “test difficulty or anxiety,” in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability. It is important to rule out alternative explanations for problems in learning, such as emotional, attentional, or motivational problems, that may be interfering with learning but do not constitute a learning disability. The diagnostician must use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a learning disability, avoiding the use of such terms as “could possibly” “suggests” or “is indicative of.” If the data indicates that a learning disability is not present, the evaluator must state that conclusion in the report.
All Actual Test Scores from Standardized Instruments Must be Provided
Standard scores and/or percentiles must be provided for all normed measures. Reports of grade equivalents must be accompanied by standard scores and/or percentiles. The data must logically reflect a substantial limitation to teach which the student is requesting the accommodation. The particular profile of the student’s strengths and weaknesses must be shown to relate to functional limitations that may necessitate accommodations.
The tests used should be reliable, valid, and standardized for use with an adolescent/adult population. The test findings must document both the nature and severity of the learning disability. Informal inventories, surveys, and direct observation by a qualified professional may be used in tandem with formal tests in order to further develop a clinical hypothesis.
Each Accommodation Recommended by the Evaluator Must Include a Rationale. It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process. Conversely, a prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of a current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation. The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodation(s) as well as a detailed explanation of why each accommodation is recommended. The evaluator(s) must describe the specific impact the diagnosed learning disability has on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual’s academic abilities. The evaluator(s) should support recommendations with specific test results or clinical observations. If no prior accommodation(s) has been provided, the qualified professional and/or the student should include a detailed explanation of why no accommodation(s) was used in the past and why an accommodation(s) is needed at this time. If an accommodation(s) is not clearly identified in the diagnostic report, ODS will seek clarification, and, if necessary, more information. ODS will make the determination as to whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided to the individual.
A Clinically Interpretive Summary Must be Provided. A complete and clearly stated diagnostic summary based on a comprehensive evaluative process is a necessary component of the report. Assessment instruments and the data they provide do not diagnose; rather, they provide important elements that must be integrated with background information, observations of the client during the testing situation, and the current context. It is essential, therefore, that professional judgment be used in the development of a clinical summary.
The clinical summary must include:
An indication that the evaluator ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems such as poor education, poor motivation and/or study skills, emotional problems, environmental issues, attentional problems, and cultural/language differences; Indication of how patterns in cognitive ability, achievement, and information processing are used to determine the presence of a learning disability; Indication of the substantial limitation to learning presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it affects the individual in the learning context for which accommodations being requested; and, Indication of why specific accommodation(s) are needed and how the effects of the specific disability are mediated by the recommended accommodation(s).
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provided individuals with disabilities protection in compliance with the laws and equal access to programs and services. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of ensuring that ADD/ADHD documentation is appropriate in order to verify eligibility and support the request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and or/ auxiliary aids.
The provision of reasonable accommodations and services is determined by the impact of the disability(ies) on the student’s ability to have equal access to the academic program. The documentation provided must establish a relationship between the requested accommodations and the functional limitations in an academic environment.
Students requesting accommodations based on a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD are required to submit documentation from a qualified professional that describes the disability and its impact on the student’s academic experiences. The documentation must describe a disabling condition which is defined by the presence of significant limitations on one or more major life activities.
The Report must include the following:
Be dated and typewritten on letterhead and include the name, title, and professional credentials of an evaluator who is qualified to diagnose and treat the condition. Include a DSM-V or ICD diagnosis of the disability and information regarding any comorbidity. Include a comprehensive assessment to include a summary of the assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable i.e. neuropsychological testing, psychoeducational testing. Include a description of the current impact of the disability with a specific focus on barriers to the educational environment. Include rationale for each accommodation or device being requested.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provided individuals with disabilities protection in compliance with the laws and equal access to programs and services. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of ensuring that psychological documentation is appropriate in order to verify eligibility and support the request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and or/ auxiliary aids.
Documentation must be provided by a qualified professional with comprehensive training and relevant expertise in differential diagnosis with appropriate licensure/ certification. A qualified evaluator may include a psychologist, psychiatrist, neuropsychiatrist, clinical social worker, licensed counselor, or psychiatric nurse practitioner. A diagnosis of a psychological disorder, syndrome, or condition alone does not qualify an individual for an accommodation under Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The provision of reasonable accommodations and services is determined by the impact of the disability(ies) on the student’s ability to have equal access to the academic program. The documentation must establish a relationship between the requested accommodations and the functional limitations in an academic environment.
The Report must include the following:
Include a specific diagnosis as identified in the DSM-5 or ICD codes. Include a description of symptoms that meets the criteria for the diagnosis. Include a description of the impact of the student’s diagnosis in an academic setting and the substantial limitations it imposes on a major life activity or activities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Provide a clear statement of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s ability to take notes, exams, and concentrate, etc. Include a statement of side effects of current medications prescribed for the diagnosis if relevant. Provide historical information, diagnostic interview, and /or psychological assessment that includes a list of instruments/ procedures used to diagnose the disorder. Detail specific recommendations for reasonable accommodations due to the functional limitations the disability imposes accompanied by rationale and justification for each recommendation. Include the name, title, and credentials of the evaluator typewritten, on letterhead, dated, and signed by the evaluator. The evaluator should also discuss the prognosis that may include possible improvement or deterioration. Provide a description of the impact on learning abilities specific to the post-secondary environment that is impaired by the disability for example ability to concentrate, process information, etc.” Application for Accommodations
Accommodations and Services
“Please note that all assigned academic accommodations granted to the student are determined by the level of the disability and its impact on learning. Warner University has developed a standard list of accommodations that are reasonable in nature to assist the student with a disability in achieving their academic goals. The following academic accommodations may be approved for a student based on the student’s level of functioning and documented disability requirements. This list is not exhaustive.
- Testing: This includes extended time for completing standard in-class examinations. The student can receive either time and one-half or double time to complete his or her examination.
- Human scribe for testing: This accommodation is needed for a student with a visual, cognitive, learning, or physical disability. The student requires assistance in writing down responses or filling out a scantron for an examination.
- Proctor: This accommodation is needed for the student with a disability who is eligible for extended time for completing an examination and if the student requires a separate testing site from the standard classroom.
- Extended time working on in-class or at home assignments: This accommodation involves the need for additional time to complete assignments that are outlined in the syllabus. The time frame for the student with a disability will be discussed with the disability support staff member.
- Use of computer for in-class assignments: If the student requires the use of assistive technology, the student will be allowed to use the needed technology during the class session.
- Enlarged print format: If the student requires enlarged printed documents and/or presentations attributed to a visual, cognitive, or learning disability, this accommodation would be granted. Documents will be created and/or printed in the desired font needed for reading.
- Accessible course documents: This accommodation calls for the student with a disability receiving course documents in an accessible format. This format could be electronic or in an enlarged print format.
- Preferential seating: This accommodation is granted if the student struggles with a visual, hearing, mobility, psychiatric, cognitive, and/or learning disability. The student may need to be situated closer to the professor in order to obtain course instructions and information. Also, the student may need to be situated closer to an exit for ease of access to restrooms and/or emergency exits.
- Accommodations to physical setting: This accommodation is granted to a person who might have a physical, sensory, or mobility disability and requires additional classroom space to navigate through the classroom or requires the use of adaptive equipment.
- Alternative testing: This accommodation involves the need for a private testing location and a distraction-reduced setting for test-taking.
- Medical condition causing absences: This accommodation requires that absences should not exceed the written allowance during the semester. The student must present a medical note from a physician explaining the reason for each absence. For all absences, the student is expected to make-up missed work assignments.
- Reader: This accommodation calls for the student to utilize a human reader to read all printed documents or assist with visual or cognitive tasks that call for a human reading voice output.
- Recording of class lectures: This accommodation allows the student to record their lecture sessions. The student is responsible for destroying/erasing recordings at the end of the term.
- Note-taking: This accommodation is granted to a student with a disability who experiences difficulty writing notes for her/his courses. A student will receive permission to record each course lecture each semester.
- Tutoring Services: This service is provided through the Academic Skills Center in a specific subject matter.
- Assistive Technology: This includes screen-reading, voice recognition, or other adaptive software or hardware.
- Speech Interpreters: This accommodation is granted to a student who is hard of hearing or deaf who requires speech interpreters for class instruction, examinations, and other academic-related campus activities.” verbiage reference https://berkeleycollege.edu/admissions/disability-services/index.html
FERPA: FAMILY EDUCATION RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT
Accommodations/Disability Services Office: Upon matriculation, students may visit the Office of Disability Services during business hours to complete a FERPA release form in the presence of Disability Services personnel. All other FERPA forms must be completed as follows:
Academic/Registrar’s Office: Upon matriculation, students may visit the Office of the Registrar during business hours to complete a FERPA release form in the presence of Registrar personnel.
Financial Aid Office: Upon matriculation, students may visit the Office of Financial Aid during business hours to complete a FERPA release form in the presence of Financial Aid personnel.
Student Life Office Medical| Counseling | Disciplinary: Upon matriculation, students may visit the Office of Student Life during business hours to complete a FERPA release form in the presence of Student Life personnel.
Student Accounts Office: Upon matriculation, students may visit the Office of Student Accounts during business hours to complete a FERPA release form in the presence of Student Accounts personnel.
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