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Documentation Guidelines

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination and assured services. In order to establish that an individual is covered under the ADA, the documentation must indicate that a disability currently exists and it substantially limits some major life activity, including learning.

In most cases, an IEP, 504 Plan or brief note from a physician does not contain the information outlined in the points below, so is not sufficient as documentation.

All documentation received by the Office of Disability Services is considered confidential and will be treated as such.

Listed below is information regarding documentation submitted to SDSU, which is based on suggested practices from AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability).

  1. The credentials of the evaluator(s).

Submitted documentation should be produced by a licensed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated, including family members or close family friends.

  1. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability.

Submitted documentation should include:

  • A clearly stated diagnosis of disability or disabilities.
  • A clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition(s) was diagnosed, including, where applicable:
    • A description of the diagnostic criteria
    • Evaluation methods and tests
    • The clinical narrative.
    • Specific results, including where applicable, summary data and specific test results.
  • Diagnostic codes from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM), when appropriate, are strongly encouraged.
  • Provides information on the functional limitations or current impact on the individual.
    • The documentation should be thorough enough to demonstrate whether and how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s).
  1. Age of document
  • Relatively recent documentation, dated within 1-5 years of the request, is acceptable in most circumstances.
  • Older documentation of conditions that are unchanging in nature, is acceptable.
  1. A description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications.

A description of both current and past accommodations, support services, medications, auxiliary aids and assistive devices, including their effectiveness in ameliorating functional impacts of the disability, is very helpful. A discussion of any significant side effects from current medications or services that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance is helpful. Please note that SDSU has no obligation to provide accommodations previously provided by outside entities.

  1. Recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services.

Recommendations from professionals with a history of working with the individual may provide information useful in the planning process. Please note the SDSU has no obligation to provide or adopt recommendations made by outside entities