Documentation Guidelines

It is the college's policy to provide, on an individual basis, academic adjustments (modifications and/or auxiliary aids and services) to students with disabilities that may affect their ability to fully participate in program or course activities or to meet course requirements. The Baker Center for Learning (BCL) staff members are available to work with students with physical, learning, psychological, or other disabilities to help them better understand the nature of their disability, to develop self-advocacy skills, and to determine an appropriate access plan.

To receive academic adjustments, students must identify the disability, provide adequate documentation of the disability, and work with BCL personnel and classroom faculty to develop an appropriate access plan. All information provided concerning a disability is confidential and is released only as allowed by law or with consent.

In order to evaluate requests, appropriate documentation must be provided directly to the Coordinator of Access and Equity Services. Documentation should not be sent to any other office within the college. These guidelines are intended to identify the minimum documentation criteria for consideration of a disability-related academic adjustment request.

Documentation serves as the basis for providing academic adjustments (modifications and/or auxiliary aids and services), and/or reasonable accommodations (in student employment), under the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The documentation must both identify a physical or mental impairment, which substantially affects a major life function, and provide information identifying current functional limitations that require academic adjustments and/or reasonable accommodations in order to assure equal access to the college's programs, activities and services.

Providing Disability Information and Documentation - Guidelines

Please note that the guidelines below are just that – guidelines – some of which will apply to some by not all disabilities. Not all disability information will require all aspects of the guidelines. More documentation may be required depending on the range and variability of functional limitations within any given disability; less documentation may be required for permanent, stable and/or narrow conditions.

Any documentation provided by a third party must be prepared by a person (not a family member of the student) who may need to be qualified by professional training and practice to diagnose and treat the impairment leading to the disability. Documentation should be typed or word processed onto letterhead of the practitioner or agency employing the practitioner. Handwritten notes, including those on prescription pads may be subject to authentication. In all cases, the student’s personal accounts concerning his or her functional limitations will be considered as part of the documentation review.

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As appropriate to the disability, documentation should include:

Diagnostic Statement

A diagnostic statement identifying the specific disability including identification of how the condition substantially impairs a life function, the date of the current evaluation, and the date of original diagnosis. Psychiatric diagnoses, including ADHD, must include the DSM diagnosis and a summary of current symptoms. Clear identification of a disability is necessary. Language indicating individual learning styles or difficulties or the possibility of a disability or diagnosis is not sufficient.

Diagnostic Criteria and Tests

A description of the diagnostic criteria or diagnostic tests used. All test and subtest scores must be included as standard scores and the norming population identified. Diagnosis of a Learning Disability may include comprehensive psychoeducational assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, and information processing. Where appropriate and relevant, psychoeducational or neuropsychological testing measures may also be required to support requests based on limitations of cognitive or perceptual functioning such as ADHD, psychiatric, and some medical disabilities. Evaluations must be of sufficiently recent occurrence to allow determination of the current impact of the disability in the college academic environment.

Functional Impact

A description of the functional impact of the disability is needed. The current functional impact on physical, perceptual, and/or cognitive functioning should be described.


Currently prescribed treatments, medications, assistive devices, and auxiliary aids or services may be described. Description should include all currently in use and their estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability. Significant side effects that may affect physical, perceptual, or cognitive functioning should be identified and described.


Recommendations for modifications, auxiliary aids and/or services and accommodations should be supported by objective evidence of a substantial limitation to learning, living, or working in a postsecondary academic environment (as appropriate). Prior use of academic adjustments and level of benefit should be identified. If no academic adjustments have been used in the past, a rationale for current use is helpful. Subjective evidence (student report) of the efficacy of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services, or accommodations will also be considered.


Secondary school Individual Education Plans (IEPs) may serve as documentation at the postsecondary level – some IEPs provide more information than others. Depending on the information contained, an IEP may provide a portion of the necessary documentation and may serve to identify previously utilized modifications and auxiliary aids or services.


Disability documentation is considered confidential information and does not become part of a student's permanent educational record. In accordance with federal and state law, the college shall maintain confidentiality of student records. All documentation and records will be maintained in the Office of the Coordinator Access and Equity Services and may include electronic records.

Documentation and questions should be addressed to:

Carolyn Boone
Coordinator of Access and Equity Services

607.844.8222, Ext. 4283
Fax: 607.844.6549