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Documentation Guidelines

Students are responsible for supplying the appropriate documentation of a disability to the Office for Disability Services Coordinator before receiving accommodations or services.  Students are required to complete the intake/request for services form and meet with the Coordinator, which provides students with the opportunity to describe their disability and accommodations they hope to receive, their experiences related to their disability, barriers faced and previous effective and ineffective accommodations.  The student’s self-report is considered a source of valuable information, so it is very important that the student takes the time to openly and honestly discuss the disability with the Coordinator.

Sources of documentation will vary based on the type of disability.  Documentation can be in the form of an assessment from an appropriate professional such as a psychologist, health care provider or a high school (i.e., an IEP, ARD and FIE, or 504).  For example, a psychiatrist or psychologist would provide documentation for a mental health issue, an audiologist would provide the report for a hearing impairment, and a physician would provide documentation for a medical condition.  If a student is a consumer of the Texas Workforce Solutions/Vocational Rehabilitation Department formerly known as Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), documentation can be obtained from their TWS/VRC counselor.

Elements of Documentation

  • Should be typed on letterhead, dated and signed by a qualified professional;
  • Should include a relevant history of treatment/psychological/educational information from the student’s past;
  • Should include observations of behavior, during the evaluation period, which are not the result of the evaluator’s opinion or clinical impression;
  • Diagnostic data can include evaluative data, relevant quantitative data (i.e., standard scores for a learning disability or an audiological exam for a hearing impairment) or qualitative as in the case of a psychiatric disorder or other medical condition.
  • A diagnosis which may include the severity and expected progression or prognosis; and
  • A descriptive statement of the student’s functional limitations (abilities and inabilities) as they relate to higher education and the functional impact of the disability, so that effective accommodations can be determined.  This can include current medication(s) and any related side-effects.

Documentation should be current and relevant to the disability.  Older documentation is appropriate when the student’s age is greater or equal to seventeen (17) years at the time of the evaluation (this is used when the diagnosis is a learning disability).  The ODS reserves the right to request additional information or evaluation.  If you have any questions about the documentation that is requested, please feel free to contact the ODS Coordinator.