Harris Family Center for Disability & Health Policy (CDHP)

Documentation Guidelines

Western University documentation guidelines for students with disabilities are also included in the AARC Student Handbook.

Students with disabilities who are requesting support services in the form of academic accommodations, academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids from AARC are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Eligibility for services and determination of the individual needs of each student are based on the quality of the submitted documentation. Students also need to meet with the Assistant Director of AARC for an intake appointment to review their documentation and share additional relevant information. These guidelines are designed to assist the service provider in collaborating with each student to ensure that the documentation is complete and to determine appropriate accommodations. They are intended to give the service provider as much detailed information as necessary to provide individualized accommodations. These documentation guidelines have been provided to assist students in obtaining appropriate documentation from qualified professionals. Appropriate documentation of a disability is only one part of determining necessary accommodations. The provision of appropriate documentation to an institution helps students educate appropriate staff and faculty about the impact of their disabilities, needs, and potential accommodations. Institutions may request documentation for the following reasons:

  • To verify the existence of a disability
  • To assist in the collaborative determination of individual needs and eligibility for auxiliary aids and services to minimize the impact of the disability
  • To personalize students’ rights to equal access to their institutions

The Assistant Director of AARC reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of submitted documentation on a case-by-case basis utilizing the professional judgment of AARC staff. Additional information may be requested to determine eligibility for services. All information regarding a student’s disability is confidential and will not be shared with anyone without the consent of the student. All documentation and files relating to a student’s disability are housed in the AARC office and are not part of the student’s college record.

The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student.

In order to provide reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations to those students at the University who have disabilities, AARC requires documentation that states the current disability and its impact on academic functioning. Therefore, the documentation the student provides to AARC must include the following information:

  • Documentation must be current. The determination of what is current documentation depends on the nature of the disability. However, in most cases documentation should be within the last three years. AARC reserves the right to make appropriate modifications to this time frame.
  • The name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator including information about license or certification, as well as area of specialization, employment, and state in which the individual practices. Professionals conducting the evaluation/assessment must be qualified to do so, and it is essential that they have experience working with adolescent/adult populations.
  • Reports must be on letterhead, typed, dated, and have the original signature of the evaluator. Reports must be written in English or translated into English by a qualified translator.
  • Reports need to include the names of any standardized tests administered, the scores derived from these tests, and a discussion of the data that clearly indicates the presence of a disability. AARC reserves the right to determine which tests are acceptable for diagnosing the disability. Standardized tests must be based on adult norms.
  • The report must clearly state the specific diagnosis of the disability. Terms such as “suggest” or “is indicative of” are not acceptable.
  • The evaluator must describe the impact of the diagnosed disability on a specific major life function/activity (especially as it relates to academic performance).
  • The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations and a detailed explanation of the rationale for each recommended accommodation as related to the specific functional limitations.
  • If medications are prescribed, these should be listed, as well as their potential side effects.
  • If symptoms involve cognitive recall (memory), appropriate testing needs to be conducted. Testing for specific learning disabilities may be appropriate.
  • A doctor’s prescription pad note or a school plan such as an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan is not sufficient documentation in and of itself, but can be included as part of a more comprehensive evaluation report. It must be understood that evaluation reports themselves do not automatically qualify a student for registration or services with AARC. All of the items listed above must clearly show the presence of a disabling condition and clearly justify the need for reasonable accommodations. The Assistant Director of AARC will make the final decision as to whether reasonable and appropriate accommodations are needed and can be provided to the student.

Please send disability documentation to:((((((()))))))

Western University of Health Sciences
Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy (CDHP)
Accommodations and Resource Center
ATTN: Sandra Rainwater-Lawler, Assistant Director AARC
309 E. Second Street
Pomona, CA 91766
Telephone: 909-469-5297
Email: slawler@westernu.edu


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