Documentation Guidelines

Physical Disability

Psychological Disabilities

Learning Disabilities

ADD and ADHD

Students who are seeking support services from the Baylor University Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA) on the basis of a disability are required to submit appropriate documentation that they have a disability, as defined by ADA Title III and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and that they need the requested services or accommodations to participate in Baylor programs. Oala uses the term "accommodations" to encompass auxilliary aids and services for effective communication; modifications in policies, procedures and practices, academic adjustments; and/or other services or supports that may be needed by a student with a disability.

Documentation for disability accommodation requests must establish the disability and provide adequate information on the functional impact of the disability, so that effective accommodations can be identified. In the context of post-secondary education, documentation should provide OALA with a basic understanding of the individual's disability and enough information to anticipate how the current impact of the disability is expected to interact with Baylor's structure of courses, testing methods, program requirements,etc.

WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUBMIT YOUR DOCUMENTS ELECTRONICALLY VIA EMAIL AT: OALA EMAIL

General Guidelines for Documentation

Baylor requires students to provide only the documentation that is reasonable and necessary to establish that the student: (i) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and (ii) how any such impairment limits the student’s ability to participate in Baylor’s programs and services and what accommodations are needed.

The nature and extent of documentation that is necessary will depend on the nature of the disability and the specific accommodation, modification, or aid requested. For example, certain requests, such as those involving accessibility of facilities for persons with mobility impairments or auxiliary aids or services for persons with hearing, vision, or speech impairments, may involve less documentation than requests for modifications for persons with cognitive or psychological impairments.

Examples of documentation that substantiate a disability, the need for desired accommodations, or both, may include, but are not limited to:

  • A statement by the student or other medical records that describe the nature of the disability giving rise to the need for accommodation, the requested or recommended accommodations, and why each requested accommodation is needed. A description of the functional limitations due to the disability would be useful in evaluating the request.
  • A report written by a professional qualified to evaluate the disability and related need for accommodation. Such a report must appear on the professional's letterhead (including address and telephone number) with his or her credentials stated in the letterhead or title. The report must also include the name of the candidate, the date of testing, and be signed by the professional.
  • A history of any previous settings in which accommodations have been granted, such modifications, accommodations, or related aids and services provided in response to an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a plan describing services provided pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the ADA, accommodations provided in any other special education program; or accommodations received on standardized testing (e.g. SAT or ACT).
  • Any reports or assessments submitted in support of a request should include the date and location; copies of evaluation reports with scores or ratings for each standard instrument or assessment methods used; and a full description of any nonstandard instruments and assessment methods used.
  • Other examples of relevant information that may support a student’s request would be the results of psycho-educational or other professional evaluations; a student’s history of diagnosis; or observations by educators.

Baylor will consider all information provided, but some information carries particular weight. Baylor will give considerable weight to documentation of past modifications, accommodations or auxiliary aids, or services provided recently to the student pursuant to the IDEA, ADA or Section 504. Baylor will also carefully consider evaluations from qualified professionals who, based upon their personal treatment or observations, (and not just a review of records) have determined in their clinical judgment and in accordance with generally accepted diagnostic criteria, that the student has a disability and needs the requested accommodations.

Documentation from school records (e.g. IDEA or Section 504 Plan), will usually be sufficient to demonstrate that the student has a chronic or permanent physical or mental disability, even if not recent. This documentation may not be sufficient to demonstrate the need for particular accommodations. Over time, individuals may adapt and not need the same types of accommodations, especially as adults. Documentation based upon evaluations within the past three years of submission will usually be sufficient to demonstrate both disability and the need for an accommodation.

Physical Disability

Physical Disabilities include a wide range of conditions, including mobility impairments, hearing, speech, and visual impairments as well as temporary and longer-term illnesses. Appropriate documentation for a Physical Disability should include:

1. Disability diagnosis including a thorough description of the disabling condition and:

  • date of diagnosis;
  • date of onset; and prognosis

Information concerning onset and prognosis is important in determining the appropriate accommodations.

2. Name, credentials, and license number of evaluator.

3. A statement of any prescribed medications and dosage including monitoring schedule.

4. A schedule for any on-going therapy.

5. A clear and specific statement of how the Physical Disability and/or the medication impacts adult functioning, and especially Baylor programs and services for which the accommodation is being requested (e.g. the college classroom, club sports).

6. Suggested appropriate classroom accommodations related to the impact of the disability and/or medication on learning or classroom requirements, or other programs or services of Baylor, substantiated by reference to #5 above, and evaluation information.

Psychological Disabilities

Psychological Disabilities include the full range of mental and cognitive disabilities. Some specific examples, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, are discussed separately.

Appropriate documentation for a Psychological Disability should include:

1. A multiaxial diagnosis based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

2. A current diagnosis:

  • if testing is used in the diagnosis, include name of instrument;
  • administration date; and
  • all scores.

3. Name, credentials, and license number of the evaluator.

4. A statement of any prescribed medications and dosage.

5. A statement of any on-going therapy or treatment regimen.

6. A clear and specific statement of how the Psychological Disability and/or the medication impacts adult functioning and especially Baylor programs and services for which the accommodation is being requested (e.g. the college classroom).

7. Suggested appropriate classroom accommodations related to the impact of the disability and/or medication on learning or classroom requirements, or other programs or services of Baylor, substantiated by reference to #6 above, and evaluation information.

Learning Disabilities

Appropriate documentation for a Learning Disability should include:

1. The following assessments:

  • Ability test: the preferred instruments are Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - Revised and/or Woodcock Johnson Test of Cognitive Ability - Revised.
  • Achievement test: the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - III is the preferred instrument.
  • Tests of social and emotional adjustment.
  • All test scores and data should be included.

2. The discrepancy (using Full Scale scores and Standard Achievement scores) between ability and achievement should be specifically shown as validation of the type of learning disability. The definition of Learning Disability and the specific categories found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders should be used to state the diagnosis.

3. Clear and specific statement of how the Learning Disability substantially impacts adult functioning and especially Baylor programs and services for which the accommodation is being requested (e.g. the college classroom).

4. Suggested appropriate classroom accommodations related to the impact of the disability and/or medication on learning or classroom requirements, or other programs or services of Baylor, substantiated by reference to #3 above, and evaluation information.

Attention Deficit Disorder (“ADD”) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”)

Appropriate documentation for ADD or ADHD would include:

1. An assessment with:

a. A medical, family, and school history documenting the age of onset;

b. Clear evidence of interference with developmentally appropriate social, academic, or occupational functioning;

c. Interviews or rating scales completed by others who can comment on the person's behavior, such as parent, friend, or spouse;

d. Specific ADD test which may include: TOVA; GDS; IVA;

e. All test scores and data.

2. Diagnosis of ADD according to criteria found in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

a. Neurologist/Psychiatrist:

i. Reason for diagnosis;

ii. Recommended drug therapy;

b. Psychologist:

i. Screen for LD testing: Ability (WAIS-R) and Achievement (Woodcock- Johnson);

ii. Tests of social and emotional adjustment (e.g., depression scales).

c. Include names, credentials, and license number of evaluator.

3. Clear and specific statement of how the disability substantially impairs adult functioning and especially Baylor programs and services for which the accommodation is being requested (e.g. the college classroom).

4. Suggested appropriate classroom accommodations related to the impact of the disability and/or medication on learning or classroom requirements, or other programs or services of Baylor, substantiated by reference to #3 above, and evaluation information.