Documentation Guidelines

It is the student’s responsibility to initiate contact with the Student Disability Services Office and to provide appropriate documentation of the disability and related functional limitations for which they are requesting accommodations. This process follows the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and is designed to ensure that reasonable, appropriate accommodations are provided to all qualified students in a timely manner. A diagnosis of a disorder/condition/syndrome in and of itself does not automatically qualify an individual for accommodations. In order to meet the adult criteria of “disability” under federal law a person must provide documentation of how their significant impairment “substantially limits” one or more life activities.

Click here for the list of diagnostic testing agencies.

The following documentation guidelines are used to verify the student’s disabling condition(s):

  • A clear diagnostic statement must be provided that describes how the condition was diagnosed, information about the functional impact, and suggestions of appropriate accommodations.
  • Documentation must be provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated.
  • All documentation must be on official letterhead, typed and signed by the professional. Diagnosis written on prescription pads, handwritten, or stamped with a signature will not be accepted.
  • Common sense and discretion will be used in accepting older documentation of conditions that are permanent or non-varying.


Current diagnosis is needed, as defined by the DSM-IV, and any additional psychological or neurological testing results. If the diagnosis was made before the student’s ninth grade year of school or prior to the age of 14, then a letter from the current treating physician will suffice as long as the letter includes the following: (1) a statement of diagnosis and (2) a current method of treatment. The diagnosis should also include a discussion of how the student’s symptoms affect learning and academic achievement to the level of a disability. Specific recommendations for classroom accommodations should be included as well.

Brain Injury:

Diagnosis, summary of evaluation and any neuropsychological testing results, including discussion of functional limitations is required.

Developmental Disability:

Documentation showing diagnosis, functional limitations, cognitive testing, and appropriate evaluations are needed. (Examples include: Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Borderline Cognitive Abilities, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Mental Retardation.)

Hearing Impairment:

Most recent audiology report and audiogram, a clear diagnosis, functional limitations, and recommendations for academic accommodations must be provided. Students who are requesting sign language interpreter services will also need to have a certificate of deafness from the state of Texas. Out of state students will need to provide similar documentation from their home state.

Learning Disability:

Necessary documentation will have written evaluation including a narrative with history, cognitive evaluation (with all subtest scores), tests of achievement (with full print-out of age normed scores) discussion of the findings, a diagnostic conclusion, and recommendations for academic accommodations. Evaluations must have been completed during the student’s ninth grade year of school or later, or after the age of 14. If the initial diagnosis or the re-evaluation of the learning disability occurred prior to the student’s ninth grade year of high school, or prior to the age of 14, the student can still be granted accommodations of the student demonstrated a continual need for accommodations during their high school career.

This would be established through providing copies of either their Full Individual Evaluation (FIE) or the Section 504 Committee reports that documented the use of specific accommodations throughout high school. These accommodations would typically be services such as note taking assistance, quiet testing locations, and extra time to complete regularly scheduled exams.

Medical Disability:

A current diagnosis (within the last 6 months) is necessary including a description of related functional limitations resulting from the disabling condition. (Examples may include: memory, dexterity, chronic pain or fatigue.)

Mobility Impairment:

Diagnosis and description of related functional limitations resulting from the disabling condition is required.

Psychological Disability:

DSM-IV diagnosis, summary of evaluation results and any additional psychological and/or neurological testing results must be provided. (Examples include: depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, etc.) If the original diagnosis is over two years old, then an updated report from the treating professional must also be included.

Visual Impairment:

Required are the most recent visual examination results, along with a detailed diagnosis and description of the disability, and recommendations for academic accommodations.

*In order to meet the adult criteria of “disability” under federal law, a person must provide documentation of how their significant impairment “substantially limits” one or more life activities. An IEP or 504 Plan from the public school system is not sufficient documentation of a disability for accommodations at the college level.