Disability Documentation Guidelines
Documentation is the paperwork that provides Accessibility Services with the information necessary to show that you have a disability. The documentation should provide descriptions and details regarding how your disability limits your ability to function in an academic setting. You must provide documentation unless:
- the disability is visible and
- the requested accommodations involve only the visible disability.
Gateway does not test for disabilities. However, we may refer students to the appropriate
Vocational Rehabilitation agency for testing. You may find that your mental health
provider or medical practitioner has the documentation information needed by Accessibility Services.
Documentation of a disability is usually created by a professional qualified to make such diagnosis. This can include but is not limited to: medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors. Documentation should include the information below. However, depending on the disability, some of the sections may not apply.
- Diagnosis: Include a statement of the medical, physical, cognitive, or mental health impairment. We prefer that the diagnosis be from the most recent edition of the DSM or ICD;
- How the professional arrived at the diagnosis if not apparent: Include relevant background information and discussion;
- Severity of disability: Include how the disability greatly limits a major life activity or creates barriers at college;
- Method(s) of current treatment: Include the impact on learning that the treatment or medication causes;
- Recommendation of accommodations: Include current and past accommodations that have reduced the impact of the limitations and barriers caused by the disability. Also, include unique accommodations that may work.
Examples of documentation verification include, but are not limited to, a psycho-educational
report, a neuropsychological report, an audiogram, a vision report, a narrative from
a professional, or medical records containing diagnosis and treatment.
Contact Accessibility Services for guidelines on professionals qualified to complete your disability documentation. Accessibility Services has a Documentation Verification Form that your professional can complete.
An Individual Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan can be used as documentation. To use an IEP or 504 Plan as documentation, it should contain the following information:
- Disability diagnosis or category;
- Thorough discussion of the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance including how the disability impacts participation in the general education curriculum;
- The accommodations used and how these are connected to the limitations or barriers caused by the disability or disabilities.
Accessibility Services may request a copy of the most recent multidisciplinary evaluation
if the IEP does not provide enough specific information to make a decision on accommodations.
Gateway does not have to provide the same accommodations that are on the IEP or 504 Plan. These plans were developed to meet Special Education and elementary or secondary anti-discrimination laws. The accommodations on the IEP or 504 Plan may be unreasonable in a college setting.
A professionals accommodation recommendations are considered. However, the college is not obligated to provide accommodations recommended by your professional. Again, this is looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Accommodations may be provided for one semester with inadequate or incomplete documentation.