For Services for Students with Disabilities to offer accommodation to students, third-party documentation of the presence of a disability may be requested by SSD. You can find guidelines for documenting disabilities below. Please contact us for the most current information or if you have any questions about disability documentation.
As appropriate to the disability, the documentation should include the following elements:
- A diagnostic statement identifying the current diagnosis, the date of the most recent diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis.
- A description of the diagnostic tests, methods, and/or criteria used including specific test results and the examiner’s narrative interpretation.
- A description of the current significant impairment of the diagnosed condition and how it impacts the student in living and learning in an academic environment. This may be in the form of an examiner's narrative, and/or an interview, but must have a rational relationship to current diagnostic assessments.
- A statement indicating treatments, medications, or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use, with a description of the mediating effects and potential side effects from such treatments.
- A description of the expected duration and progression of the impact of the diagnosed condition over time, particularly the next five years.
- A history of previous accommodations and their impact.
- The credentials and signature of the diagnosing professional(s) must be included in the letterhead or other forms. Please note that diagnosing professionals shall not be family members or others with a close personal relationship with the individual being evaluated.
- Documentation should address the student’s substantial limitations. For example, what are the student’s substantial limitations and how will the limitations of their disability affect their living in a residence hall environment? The description should delineate the impact of the disability on the student’s functioning in a residence hall setting. Possible areas of functioning to consider include hearing, vision, speech, manual dexterity, general motor coordination, ambulation, activities of daily living, endurance, strength, respiration, concentration, memory, sleep quality, eating habits, social interaction, environmental sensitivities, etc.
In the case of all disabilities, documentation must indicate that the disability substantially limits some major life activity, including learning.
Students with psychological disorders are required to present documentation from psychiatrists or other qualified persons and agencies to make a diagnosis of the disability. SSD uses ETS Documentation Guidelines for psychological disabilities.
Students with psychological disabilities, certain medical conditions, and traumatic brain injury will be asked to update their documentation on a yearly basis in order to justify the need to continue their accommodations.
Students with physical or medical impairments are required to present documentation from physicians or other qualified persons and agencies to make a diagnosis of the disability.
Please read and bring these Documentation of a Medical Disability guidelines to your doctor to ensure that documentation of your disability is complete.
Students with a learning disability are required to submit a comprehensive psychological and educational evaluation. Documentation for learning disabilities should include current measures of aptitude (e.g. WAIS-IV), achievement (e.g. current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics, and written language), and information processing. A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation.
Attention Deficit Disorder (AD/HD)
Students with attention deficit disorder (AD/HD) are required to submit comprehensive documentation that substantiates the AD/HD. This documentation should include evidence of early impairment, evidence of current impairment, relevant testing information, and an interpretive summary based on a comprehensive evaluation. A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation.
Qualified professionals may refer to the Educational Testing Services Guidelines for Attention Deficit Disorder and/or the Association of Higher Education and Disability Guidelines for Learning Disabilities for more specific information regarding the documentation of a disability. Copies of each may be obtained from SSD, or by accessing the AHEAD or ETS websites.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing should present documentation of their hearing loss from an audiologist or other qualified medical professional. A relatively recent audiogram along with a one-to-one conversation are usually enough to determine the accommodations to fit your academic needs. Other documentation such as an IEP or 504 plan from high school is helpful but not required.
Services for Students with Disabilities
310 Lavery Hall (0185)
430 Old Turner St
Blacksburg VA 24061
Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm