Disability Services - Documentation Guidelines for Specific Disabilities

Know the documentation guidelines for your specific disability

The documentation establishing a disability can vary depending on the disability. See the list of requirements listed below to determine what’s needed for your specific disability. 

ADD/ADHD documentation

Diagnosis involving Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) should be based on the criteria outlined in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and the written report should include specifics regarding current functioning. Get the diagnostic form that may be completed by your medical doctor, psychiatrist or other qualified professional.

Documentation should include:

  • A clear statement of ADD/ADHD with the DSM diagnosis
  • A description of the symptoms, which meet the criteria for the diagnosis
  • A summary of the assessment procedures and evaluation instruments, which were used to make the diagnosis
  • Information about current prescribed medications used to treat the disability and possible side effects
  • The student's specific current functional limitations(s) and how the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations and/or assistive technology specific to the diagnosed disability need and appropriate to the college setting

Autism spectrum disorders documentation

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) means a range of pervasive developmental disorders, with onset in childhood, that adversely affect an individual’s functioning and result in the need for accommodations in the college setting. ASD may include Autistic Disorder, Childhood Autism, Atypical Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Asperger's Disorder, or other related pervasive developmental disorders. The documentation should:

  • Demonstrate that a comprehensive assessment was conducted
  • Be completed by a person with appropriate professional credentials to make the diagnosis according to the current DSM guidelines 
  • Include comprehensive cognitive and current academic testing submitted with a narrative summary of evaluation results
  • Indicate the student's specific current functional limitations(s) and how the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations and/or assistive technology specific to the diagnosed disability need and appropriate to the college setting

Blind/limited vision documentation

Ophthalmologists are the primary professionals involved in diagnosing individuals who are blind or experience low vision. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of vision-related disability with supporting numerical description that reflects the current visual acuity and the impact the blindness or vision loss has on the student's functioning
  • The student's specific current functional limitations(s) and how the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations including visual aids and assistive technology appropriate to the college setting

Brain injury documentation

Head injury and traumatic brain injury are considered medical or clinical diagnoses. Individuals qualified to render a diagnosis for these disorders are practitioners who have been trained in the assessment of brain injury. Recommended practitioners may include: physicians, neurologists, licensed clinical, rehabilitation and school psychologists, neuropsychologists and psychiatrists. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear description of the head injury or traumatic brain injury
  • A summary of present residual symptoms, which meet the criteria for diagnosis
  • A summary of cognitive and achievement measures used and evaluation results, including standardized scores or percentiles used to make the diagnosis
  • Information about current prescribed medications used to treat the disability and possible side effects
  • The student's specific current functional limitations(s) and how the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations and/or assistive technology specific to the diagnosed disability need and appropriate to the college setting

Deaf/hard of hearing documentation

The documentation should include:

  • A diagnosis based on an audiological evaluation conducted by a qualified professional
  • Results of an audiogram showing the degree of hearing loss, the type of hearing loss (conductive or sensorineural), whether the hearing loss is temporary or permanent, and if it is stable or progressive
  • The student's specific current functional limitations(s) and how the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Recommendations for academic accommodations, interpreter services, and other services including assistive technology specific to the diagnosed disability need and appropriate to the college setting

Mental health/psychiatric disability documentation

To document a Mental Health/ Psychiatric Disability, a psychological or neuropsychological evaluation or report from a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist is needed that includes:

  • A clear statement of the condition with the most recent DSM diagnosis
  • A description of the symptoms, which meet the criteria for the diagnosis
  • A summary of the assessment procedures and evaluation instruments, which were used to make the diagnosis
  • Information about current prescribed medications used to treat the disability and possible side effects
  • The student's specific current functional limitations(s) and how the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations and/or assistive technology specific to the diagnosed disability need and appropriate to the college setting

High school IEP services in the category of Emotional Behavioral Disorder (EBD) do not constitute a disability diagnosis alone. An evaluation and diagnosis from an appropriately licensed individual is required to establish appropriate accommodations.

Get the diagnostic form that may be completed by your medical doctor, psychiatrist, or otherwise qualified professional.

Physical, systemic or health-related disabilities

Physical, systemic, or health-related disabilities include, but are not limited to, mobility impairments, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, chemical sensitivities, spinal cord injuries, cancer, AIDS, Muscular Dystrophy, and Spinal Bifida. Physical or health-related disabilities or systemic illnesses requiring academic accommodations require documentation from a physician in an appropriate medical specialization.

Get a diagnostic form that may be completed by your medical doctor or otherwise qualified professional. This documentation should include:

  • A clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the physical, systemic or health-related disability including a DSM or ICD code
  • Whether the condition is temporary or permanent and if it is stable or progressive
  • Information about current prescribed medications used to treat the disability and possible side effects
  • The student's specific current functional impairment(s) and how the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities. (A clinical diagnosis is not necessarily a disability. That is, evidence sufficient to render a clinical diagnosis might not be adequate to determine that an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity.)
  • Recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations and/or assistive technology specific to the diagnosed disability need and appropriate to the college setting

Specific learning disability documentation

The following guidelines are provided to assure that a documented learning disability is specific and supports the student's request for accommodations. The documentation must provide evidence of a substantial limitation to learning or other major life activities through a comprehensive psycho-educational test battery that must include minimally the following:

  • Diagnostic interview

    • An evaluation report including the summary of a comprehensive diagnostic interview
  • Assessment—the tests used should be reliable, valid, and standardized for use with an adolescent/adult population
    • Aptitude/ cognitive ability—a complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported is essential.
    • Academic achievement—a comprehensive academic achievement battery is essential with all subtests and standard scores reported for those subtests administered. The battery must include current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written language.
    • Information processing—specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and long-term memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual perception/ processing; processing speed; executive functioning; motor ability) should be assessed.
  • Specific diagnosis
    • A diagnosis made by a qualified professional i.e., licensed school psychologist, licensed psychologist, is needed. The learning disability diagnosis must be clearly stated. References to academic weaknesses and learning differences alone may not substantiate a learning disability diagnosis.
    • The test findings must document both the nature and severity of the learning disability. Evidence of a severe discrepancy between aptitude and expected achievement must be provided.
  • Clinical summary including recommendations for accommodations
    • Indication of the substantial limitation to learning or other major life activity presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested
    • Indication as to why specific accommodations are needed and how the effects of the specific disability are accommodated

Speech language impairments

Speech and language impairments are one or more speech/language disorders of voice, articulation, rhythm and/or the receptive and expressive processes of language.

Documentation must include:

  • A current comprehensive Evaluation Report from a qualified professional, usually a speech pathologist
  • A diagnosis of the specific disabling condition
  • Specific scores from norm referenced language testing indicating the student scored 2.0 standard deviations below the mean on at least two technically adequate, norm-referenced language tests, or two documented measurement procedures that indicate a substantial difference from what would be expected, or the pattern of speech interferes with communication as determined by an educational speech language pathologist (as defined by Minnesota Statute 3525.1343 SPEECH OR LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENTS for K-12 Special Education Services)
  • The student's specific current functional limitations(s) and how the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations and/or assistive technology specific to the diagnosed disability need and appropriate to the college setting

Student Right of Appeal

If, after the above steps are completed, a student feels he or she has been unduly denied a requested accommodation, the student may appeal the Accommodations Plan. Denial of requested accommodations or services can be appealed by contacting the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, 1540 Northway Dr., St. Cloud, MN 56303; 320.308.5000.