In order to receive services from TDS, students must provide appropriate documentation. Documentation must reflect that the condition substantially limits a major life activity or major bodily function. Documentation must be typed on office or practice letterhead, dated within three years and signed by a professional who is licensed or certified in the area for which the diagnosis is made. Accommodations are provided based on the current impact of a disorder, not only on the diagnosis of a disorder. Generally, sufficient documentation includes a psychological/psycho-educational evaluation or a letter from a medical/mental health provider.
Once TDS has received the student’s application and documentation, the Disability Services Committee will meet to determine appropriate accommodations. If additional documentation is necessary, TDS will notify the student. Students are welcome to register in our office (Wyly Tower 318) if assistance is needed.
*Please note that the process and criteria used by Louisiana Tech University to determine accommodations may be different from another university or agency. Please research carefully the documentation requirements of different schools and agencies so you know what information you are required to submit.*
Click to expand the sections below for specific information regarding documentation requirements. Carefully review each section before submitting documentation.
1. Qualifications of the Evaluator(s): Professionals conducting assessments and/or rendering diagnoses must be qualified to do so and have no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. Name, title, and license/certification credentials must be stated. The following list contains examples of case-appropriate professionals from which Louisiana Tech University will accept documentation:
- Licensed Psychologist
- Medical Doctor
- Physical/Occupational Therapist
- Speech Pathologist/Audiologist
2. Diagnosis & History: A diagnostic statement identifying the disability including ICD or DSM classification along with any relevant personal, psychosocial, medical, developmental and/or educational history. Learning styles, learning differences or academic problems do not constitute a learning disability.
3. Description of Diagnostic Methodology: A full description of the diagnostic methodology used, including data and measurements from appropriate evaluation instruments. Dates of testing must be included in the report and must be current. Evaluations should use adult norms. The results obtained should draw a direct link to the diagnosis and the functional limitations of the disability.
For Specific Learning Disabilities, description of diagnostic methodology should include:
- A demonstration that the evaluator has ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems (poor education, poor study skills, ADD/ADHD, psychiatric/psychological disabilities, etc.).
- A test used to measure intellectual ability, including scores and subtest scores (e.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – IV (WAIS-IV), Woodcock-Johnson III General Intellectual Ability (GIA), etc.). Not acceptable: Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT), Slosson Intelligence Test, Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI), Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)
- A test used to measure academic achievement, including scores and subtest scores (e.g., Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – II (WIAT-II), Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, etc.). Not acceptable: Wide Range Achievement Test – 4 (WRAT-4).
- A test used to measure processing ability, including scores and subtest scores (e.g., Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude – Adult, Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities, etc.).
For ADD/ADHD, description of diagnostic methodology should include:
- A thorough clinical interview and developmental history
- A demonstration that the evaluator has ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems (poor education, poor study skills, Specific Learning Disabilities, psychiatric/psychological disabilities, etc.).
- Medication history
- Rating scales and checklists (e.g., Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale-IV (BAARS-IV), Conners Rating Scales, Vanderbilt Assessment Scales, etc.).
4. Current Impact and Functional Limitations: A clear description of the current impact and functional limitations of the condition pertaining to the academic, workplace and/or residential settings. Information regarding if symptoms are constant or episodic, and the frequency and/or duration should be addressed. Any treatments, medications, and/or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use should include a description of the mediating effects and potential side effects from such treatments. TDS provides reasonable accommodations and services based upon assessment of the current impact of the student’s disability. Therefore, it is necessary to provide current documentation.
5. Recommendations: There should be a clear connection between the recommended/requested accommodation(s) and the impact or functional limitations associated with the disability, or medication prescribed to control symptoms. The documentation should include a clear rationale based on level of impairment. Recommendations for academic accommodations should be related to the post-secondary experience. Since TDS provides reasonable accommodations and services based upon assessment of the current impact of the student’s disability, it is necessary to provide recent and appropriate documentation relevant to the student’s learning environment.
TDS does not interpret a diagnosis, the current impact, and/or functional limitations from documentation. Therefore, documentation must contain an official diagnosis. “Signs of”, “Characteristics of”, or “Symptoms of” will not be accepted as a sufficient diagnosis. The following materials alone are generally not sufficient for determining eligibility:
- Official medical records, medical chart notes, or prescription pad notations.
- High School IEPs or 504 Plans.
- Documents prepared for specific non-educational venues (i.e., Social Security Administration, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, etc.)
- Medical assessments conducted entirely via online questionnaires or documentation provided by services that operate solely in an online capacity.
Acquiring New Documentation
The United States Department of Education has published information regarding students with disabilities preparing for postsecondary education. Excerpts from this page are cited below. You may access the full text at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html
What documentation should I provide?
Schools may set reasonable standards for documentation. Some schools require more documentation than others. They may require you to provide documentation prepared by an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician.
The required documentation may include one or more of the following: a diagnosis of your current disability, as well as supporting information, such as the date of the diagnosis, how that diagnosis was reached, and the credentials of the diagnosing professional; information on how your disability affects a major life activity; and information on how the disability affects your academic performance. The documentation should provide enough information for you and your school to decide what is an appropriate academic adjustment.
An individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan, if you have one, may help identify services that have been effective for you. This is generally not sufficient documentation, however, because of the differences between postsecondary education and high school education. What you need to meet the new demands of postsecondary education may be different from what worked for you in high school. Also, in some cases, the nature of a disability may change.
If the documentation that you have does not meet the postsecondary school’s requirements, a school official should tell you in a timely manner what additional documentation you need to provide. You may need a new evaluation in order to provide the required documentation.
Who has to pay for a new evaluation?
Neither your high school nor your postsecondary school is required to conduct or pay for a new evaluation to document your disability and need for an academic adjustment. You may, therefore, have to pay or find funding to pay an appropriate professional for an evaluation. If you are eligible for services through your state vocational rehabilitation agency, you may qualify for an evaluation at no cost to you. You may locate your state vocational rehabilitation agency at http://rsa.ed.gov by clicking on “Info about RSA,” then “People and Offices,” and then “State Agencies/ Contacts.”
*A diagnosis of impairment alone does not establish that an individual has a disability within the meaning of Section 504 or Title II. Rather, the impairment must substantially limit a major life activity, or the individual must have a record of such an impairment or be regarded as having such an impairment. A diagnosis from a treating physician, along with information about how the disability affects the student, may suffice. As noted above, institutions of postsecondary education may set their own requirements for documentation so long as they are reasonable and comply with Section 504 and Title II.