Documentation Guidelines

In order to fully evaluate a student’s request for accommodations or auxiliary aids, the Disability Services Coordinator will need appropriate documentation of disability. The following information is provided to help you gather and provide appropriate documentation for reasonable accommodations at Lynchburg College.

Why do I need to provide proper documentation?

Accommodations are established to provide opportunities for equal academic access and equal opportunity for students with disabilities to demonstrate their knowledge. Services vary according to the individual needs of each student and are determined on a case by case basis. It is the responsibility of the student to provide appropriate documentation to the DSC in order to receive reasonable accommodations.

The documentation must (1) verify the existence of a disability as defined under section 504 and under the ADA; and (2) establish a clear connection between the effects of the disability and the accommodations being requested.

What constitutes proper documentation?

  1. Purpose of Documentation: must establish a clear connection between the effects of the disability and the accommodations being requested.
  2. Criteria: Documentation provided must be completed by a licensed professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, or medical doctor) who has relevant training and experience diagnosing and treating the reported condition and is unrelated to the individual being evaluated. All documentation needs to be printed on official letterhead, typed, dated, and signed and must include the evaluator's credentials. Documentation on handwritten prescription pads is not sufficient. It is helpful but not necessarily required if the documentation includes the following:
    1. Cognitive and Mental Health Disability: This refers to any mental or psychological disorder, such as organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, anxiety, ADHD/ADD and specific learning disabilities.  Note: Disabilities for which diagnostic testing is not applicable should be documented with letter of support from the qualified professional as described in Part 2, a-d below.
      1. Documentation must be current. Diagnostic testing results should be provided.  These results are most helpful if current, but there is no time/age limit on this information, as stated in the section below Age of Documentation. 
      2. Background Information: An evaluation report should include a comprehensive background diagnostic interview by a qualified evaluator who addresses relevant background information supported by diagnosis. Such information should include a description of the presenting learning/cognitive or mental health disabilities.   Background information should include pertinent historical information in the areas of development, family, medical, psycho-social and academics as appropriate. 
      3. A DSM-IV or V diagnosis: Although not required, a summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results including standardized scores or percentiles is extremely helpful. Test scores including standard scores and/or percentiles for all normed measures should be included as well. A clinical summary is required.
      4. Explanation and Recommendations: Explanation of how the disability might affect one’s life skills and performance within an academic or residential setting including the impact of medication. Recommended academic or residential accommodations with a supporting rationale should also be included. A detailed explanation should be provided as to why each accommodation is recommended and should be correlated to specific test results or clinical observations.
      5. Additional Helpful Information: This includes but is not limited to educational documents (IEP/504 Plan); vocational rehabilitation documents; other medical documents; any record of prior or successful accommodation(s) or auxiliary aids used, including any information about specific conditions under which accommodations were used.
    2. Medical/Health Related or Physical/Motor (Physiological) Disabilities: "Health-related needs" refers to any of a variety of physiological/medical disorders or conditions which impact a major life activity. Physical or motor disabilities refers to those individuals with an orthopedic impairment, brain injury, or other health impairment which interferes with or substantially limit the individual’s ability to take part in routine school activities. Conditions which affect body systems (sensory, musculoskeletal, digestion, immune function, respiration, circulation, endocrine functions, etc.) are included. Documentation consists of a letter of support from a medical doctor or other qualified professional stating:
      1. Description: A description or the nature of the condition including present symptoms
      2. Supporting information: Diagnostic or medical data/reports which would assist staff in understanding the nature of the disability. This should include information regarding how long the physician has treated the individual.
      3. Explanation and Recommendations: Explanation of how the disability might affect one’s life skills and performance within an academic or residential setting including the impact of medication. Recommended academic or residential accommodations with a supporting rationale should also be included. A detailed explanation should be provided as to why each accommodation is recommended and should be correlated to specific test results or clinical observations.
      4. Additional Helpful Information: School plans, such as an IEP or 504 Plan, can be included (although not sufficient in and of themselves) as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of current need, does not in itself warrant the provision of like accommodation.
  3. Types of documentation: Documentation from external sources may include educational or medical records, reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system.  This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP), and teacher observations. However all forms of documentation are meaningful and can be helpful in the intake process. Additional support documentation from K-12 education (such as IEP or 504 plan), rehabilitation services, medical testing, letters from physicians or treatment centers, information from veterans services, etc., which may help our office understand your disability and assist you in providing appropriate and reasonable accommodations is suggested.
  4. Age of documentation: Disability documentation should be current and relevant, but not necessarily “recent.” Disabilities are typically stable lifelong conditions. Therefore, historic information, supplemented by interview or self-report, is often sufficient to describe how the condition impacts the student at the current time and in the current circumstances. There is no blanket “acceptable age” for external documentation. Important Note: Students who are anticipating seeking a degree in Nursing, Athletic Training, Education (teaching), or Dr. of Physical Therapy who wish to seek accommodations on licensing exams should be aware that requirements for these exams are generally much more stringent than those of Lynchburg College. Please check with Disabilities Services Coordinator for additional assistance well in advance of registering for these exams.
  5. Submission: Documentation for the purpose of disability accommodations should be submitted to the Disability Services Coordinator directly after a student has been admitted to the college. Documentation should not be submitted to Admissions as part of the college application process. The documentation is confidential and will be used solely for the purpose of determining which accommodations are reasonable and appropriate.

If the documentation and intake interview support the request for accommodations, the Disability Services Coordinator will work with the student to determine reasonable accommodations appropriate for their needs while attending Lynchburg College.  While suggestions for accommodations and service will be considered, appropriate services and/or accommodations will be determined by the Disability Services Coordinator based upon information submitted through the Disability Intake Form, interview with the student and documentation/diagnoses. Accommodations will not include those which would result in a fundamental alteration of the education program or academic requirements deemed essential to a course, program of study, or those required for professional licensing or certification requirements.  

Documentation may be mailed or faxed to:

Mail:
Julia R. Timmons
Disability Services Coordinator
Lynchburg College
1501 Lakeside Drive
Lynchburg, VA  24501

Fax:
Attention: Julia R. Timmons
Disability Services Coordinator
434.544.8485

You may also contact the Disability Services Coordinator via email at: timmons.j@lynchburg.edu or at 434.544.8687 if you have additional questions or concerns.