Documentation Guidelines

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Documentation serves two purposes:
1. To establish that a student meets the definition of a person with a disability; and
2. To describe functional limitations in order to support the need for and
reasonableness of specific accommodations.

All documentation is reviewed in light of these purposes. Each student requesting
accommodations must provide current, comprehensive documentation of a disability by
a licensed professional who is qualified to diagnose the student’s particular disability.
Click on the relevant link below for further details regarding disability types including
documentation and practitioner requirements.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD)
Autism Spectrum (ASD) or Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Chronic Medical Illness
Hearing Impairment or Deafness
Mobility or Physical Impairment
Neurological Disorder (Traumatic Brain Injury or Acquired Brain Impairment)
Psychological or Psychiatric Disorder
Specific Learning Disability
Speech or Communication Disorder
Vision Impairment or Blindness


Temporary Injury/Medical Crisis:

• An injury or acute medical crisis does not usually qualify as a disability under the ADA.
However, such conditions (e.g. broken bone, suddenly acute illness requiring
hospitalization, pregnancy-related impairment) may present short-term barriers that
negatively impact a student’s learning. In such cases, severity and duration will be
considered and every effort will be made to provide temporary accommodations
where possible.

In general, documentation of a disability should be typed on letterhead stationery
or be in a report format and should include the following:


• A clearly stated diagnosis of the disability

• The date of the evaluation or determination of the diagnosis

• Current symptoms and treatment plan, including relevant information regarding
prescribed medications and possible side effects

• A description of the diagnostic methodology used (this applies primarily to
assessment instruments used in identifying learning disabilities, cognitive
impairments or intellectual disability)

• A description of the student's current functional limitations in an academic
environment;

• A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability;

• The signature, printed name, title, professional credentials, and contact information of
the evaluator or medical professional

• The date of the most recent evaluation.

Points to remember:

• Provision of accommodations and related services is based on the current impact of
the disability. It is important to provide the most recent documentation.

• Documentation should be current within three-five years. However, each case is evaluated on an individual basis and exceptions may be made depending upon
circumstances and disability type.

• Assessments done in childhood may not be sufficient documentation for an adult
college student.

• SDS does not provide nor pay for testing and/or diagnosis for learning disabilities. We
can, however, assist students in identifying resources where such assessments can
be provided.

• Documentation should address the student’s ability to function in an academic
environment and may include recommendations for accommodations. However, SDS
is not obligated to provide specific accommodations as recommended by evaluators
or medical providers.

• All accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with the
student and in consideration of that student's unique situation.

A school plan such as a 504 or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) does not
constitute documentation of disability, but may be a helpful part of a student's
overall assessment.


• A physician's prescription pad note is not acceptable as documentation of disability.

• Submitting documentation does not complete the process. Student’s must meet with
the SDS coordinator to discuss and plan services.

Information regarding a student's disability is not obtained through the SCC admissions
process. Disability-related information and records are maintained separately from
academic records. Disability documentation should be given or sent directly to the
SDS coordinator.


Tonya Bassé, Student Disability Services Coordinator
Balsam Center, Room 115
447 College Drive, Sylva, NC 28779
Phone: 828.339.4326
Fax: 828-339-4651
t_basse[at]southwesterncc[dot]edu)