» Documentation of Disabilities

Documentation of Disabilities

Disability Services

Elmhurst College provides program accessibility and reasonable accommodations for persons defined as disabled in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADAAA of 2008. It is the responsibility of each student who seeks accommodations, auxiliary aids, or disability services from Elmhurst College to provide documentation that describes the disability and its functional impact upon the student’s academic or living environment.

General Guidelines
Frequently Asked Questions
Forms (pdf)

General Guidelines
Documentation is provided by a licensed or credentialed professional who has appropriate training and experience. For example, a physician would be in the best position to document a physical problem such as a chronic disease; a licensed clinical psychologist would not be. Appropriate documentation should include a statement identifying the disability as well as a description of the diagnostic methodology. The methodology consists of the evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, observations, and specific results. Formal instruments, medical examinations, structured interview protocols, and unstructured interviews are among the acceptable methods that will help the College determine reasonable accommodations

Most important is the description of how the disability currently impacts the student in the learning or living environment. For physical disabilities, it is helpful to know the expected changes and/or duration caused by the disability. While students are not required to reveal this information, it may help the College better prepare to address student needs as they may change.

Documentation may also include the history of past accommodations, services, or medications. recommendations for current accommodations will also be considered as the College makes the determination of accommodations on case-by-case basis.

Frequently Asked Questions
The following information is designed to help students submit appropriate information and engage in a productive interactive process with the College.

Why provide documentation?
A student seeking accommodations for any type of disability provides documentation that not only describes the student’s physical and/or mental condition for which accommodation is sought but also explains the functional impact of that condition in academic or living situations depending upon the particular kind of accommodation sought. The College uses this documentation as a tool to identify strategies, including reasonable accommodations that will facilitate student access to courses, programs, and services. Documentation is also used to establish the presence of a disability.

Who is responsible for obtaining documentation?
The student is solely responsible for providing documentation; the College is not required to pay for any assessment/testing.

Who is qualified to provide information regarding a student’s disability?
Only a qualified professional may conduct testing or assessment and provide appropriate documentation to support an accommodation request. Qualified typically means a licensed individual with expertise in working with an adult population. The appropriate professional evaluator may vary according to the type of disability. For example, a physician or audiologist would be appropriate for those with hearing disabilities; a psychologist, neurologist, or psychiatrist would be appropriate for ADD/ADHD; and a physician or medical specialist would be appropriate for those with medical or chronic health conditions. The critical factor is whether the evaluator has the appropriate training, experience and clinical information to provide a diagnosis and accommodation recommendations for an adult population.

Is there a specific time frame for documentation?
Documentation should be current. The goal is to determine the student’s current level of functioning in academic settings so the College can provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations or auxiliary aids. In some cases, students may be asked to provide annual updates. For example, if a student’s medical condition changes, updated documentation may be necessary

What happens to documentation that is submitted to the College?
All documentation materials submitted by a student are maintained by the College’s Disability Services office.

Is an IEP acceptable?
The IEP by itself is almost never sufficient to document a disability and a student’s needs for purposes of postsecondary academic or living accommodations, and incoming students should not plan to rely upon IEPs in seeking accommodations in college. The goal of documentation at the college level is to determine the student’s current level of functioning in the academic and living environment and then decide on reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access. The IEP is prepared for a different purpose, pursuant to different legal standards, and usually to help students achieve targeted K-12 goals during a specific time period. While IEPs are not sufficient documentation, however, they may be useful (considered in conjunction with current, appropriate documentation as described above) in an interactive discussion between the student and the College about appropriate accommodations. Students are certainly free to submit IEPs as additional information pertinent to the interactive process.

What if there is a change in the student’s condition or a new condition arises?
Students may submit any additional documentation they or any appropriate care provider believe will be helpful or necessary. Students are encouraged to discuss changes with Disability Services; many times phone consultations with the appropriate professional will suffice.

When should a student submit documentation?
As soon as possible after an incoming student has been admitted to the College, he or she should submit documentation. Documentation is read and evaluated in the order in which it is received, so early submission of documentation helps ensure that accommodations can be in place as soon as possible.

Will submitted documentation be acceptable in the future for other agencies such as those administering the GRE or MCAT?
Students planning to take standardized tests for professional schools need to contact the specific testing agency. These groups have their own requirements for documentation of disabilities and may require different information from that maintained by Elmhurst College.

The following forms may be presented to the evaluator(s) the student has chosen to document a disability. If suggestions are needed about what would be helpful for a particular disability, please contact the Disabilities Services Coordinator.

Evalulator's Request Form (pdf)
Evaluation Form (pdf)


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