Documentation of Disability
The student requesting services has the responsibility to obtain documentation from a licensed professional such as a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician to certify him/her as having a disability. The documentation may include one or more of the following:
- diagnosis of your current disability
- the date of the diagnosis
- how that diagnosis was reached
- the credentials of the diagnosing professional
- describe how your disability affects a major life activity
- describe how the disability affects your academic performance.
Definition of Disability
The United States’ Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines “disability” as “having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities.” The ADA protects individuals from discrimination if they have a record of such impairments or if they are regarded as having such impairments. Additionally, specific protections are guaranteed through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1997 (http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm). Individuals with adequate documentation of the current functional impact of a disability of a major life activity are protected from discrimination and are entitled to appropriate accommodations.
Purpose of Documentation
Documentation serves two primary purposes in post-secondary education. First, documentation must establish that the individual has a disability, and therefore is protected from discrimination. Second, the documentation must describe the current functional impact of the disability so that potential accommodations can be identified.