Documentation Guidelines
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Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a "qualified individual with a disability is one who, with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity". A person with a disability is anyone​ with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major life activities as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning.

Students requesting a reasonable accommodation and/or auxiliary aids must provide appropriate documentation from a qualified professional. A qualified professional may be a physician, educational diagnostician, licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or other individuals qualified to make a determination of a disability. Reasonable and appropriate accommodations are determined based upon a variety of factors; documentation supporting a specific diagnosis; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; evaluation of a students strengths and weaknesses; and specific course and/or classroom requirements. All these factors will be considered in determining whether a student is disabled as defined by the ADA, and therefore entitled to reasonable accommodation.

Documentation must be submitted to Student Disability Services in person, by fax or by mail to:

Student Disability Services
Park Library 120
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48859
FAX (989) 774-1326

Documentation Guidelines for Blindness or Visual Impairment

Link to VI Guidelines in Adobe PDF format Link to VI Guidelines in MS Word format Link to VI Guidelines in plain text  


Visual impairments are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. Ophthalmologists are the primary professionals involved in diagnosis and medical treatment of individuals who are blind or experience low vision. Optometrists provide information regarding the measurement of visual acuity as well as tracking and fusion difficulties (including by not limited to: eye movement disorders, inefficiency in using both eyes together, misalignment of the eyes, lazy eye, focusing problems, visual sensory disorders and motor integration). Documentation from family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. A clear and current statement of the vision related disability with supporting numerical description (usually within three years, the age of documentation is dependent upon the condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations);
  2. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and the summary of evaluation results including standardized scores:
  3. Present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis;
  4. Medical information relating to the student's needs and the status of the individuals' vision (static or changing) and its impact on the demands of the academic program;
  5. Narrative or descriptive text providing both quantitative and qualitative information about the student's abilities including the use of corrective lenses on ongoing visual therapy (if appropriate);
  6. A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on a major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if comorbid condition such as a learning disability or other disabling conditions exist.

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Documentation Guidelines for Deafness or Hearing Impairments

 

Hearing impairments are considered disabilities under ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. Physicians, including otolaryngologists and otologists are qualified to provide diagnosis and treatment for hearing disorders. Audiologists may also provide current audiograms. Documentation provided by family members, immediate or otherwise, is unacceptable.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation from family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. Diagnostic statement of deafness or hearing loss, with a current audiogram (usually within three years, the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the condition, the current status of the student, and the student's request for accommodations);
  2. A statement identifying student's primary means of communication (oral, ASL, SEE, Cued Speech, etc.) and speech reading skills;
  3. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a narrative summary of evaluation results;
  4. Medical information relating to the student's needs and the status of the individual's hearing (static or changing) and its impact on the demands of the academic program.
  5. A statement regarding age of onset of impairment and how it impacted speech acquisition and communication skills;
  6. A statement regarding the use of hearing aids, including appropriateness, function, and effectiveness, and recommendations regarding the probable effectiveness of specific assistive listening devices in the academic setting.
  7. A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the hearing loss on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if a comorbid condition such as a learning disabilities or other disabling conditions exist.

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Documentation Guidelines for Chronic Health Disabilities  

 

Chronic health impairments (such as, but not limited to, HIV, arthritis, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, and respiratory conditions) are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. The follow​ing guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation from family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. Diagnosis (clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the condition);
  2. Date of the original diagnosis;
  3. Date of the most recent evaluation (usually within a year, the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, current status, and the student's request for accommodations);
  4. Diagnostic criteria/assessment procedures used to make the diagnosis;
  5. Description of the present symptoms;
  6. Description of current impact of the condition (including impact of medication);
  7. Treatments/medications/devices or services currently prescribed;
  8. Expected duration, stability, or progression of the condition;
  9. Functional impact or limitation of the disability on learning or other major life activity;
  10. Medical information with signature of appropriate physician on letterhead stationary.
Students requesting housing modification based upon a chronic health disability must work with Residence Life as well.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if comorbid condition such as a learning disabilities or other disabling conditions exist.

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Documentation Guidelines for Learning Disabilities

 

Central Michigan University incorporates the "Guidelines for Documentation of a Learning Disability in Adolescents and Adults" approved by the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) in the requirements for documentation of a specific learning disability. In most cases, CMU requires that diagnostic testing be no older than three years. CMU prefers the use of the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association)
criteria.

  1. Qualifications of the Evaluator (AHEAD)
    "Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses of learning disabilities,
    and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to
    do so. Comprehensive training and direct experience with an adolescent and adult
    LD populations is essential."

    "The name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information
    about license or certification (e.g., licensed psychologist) as well as the area of
    specialization, employment and state/province in which the individual practices
    should be clearly stated in the documentation. For example, the following
    professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate specific learning
    disabilities provided that they have additional training and experience in the
    assessment of learning problems in adolescents and adults: clinical or educational
    psychologists, school psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disability
    specialists, medical doctors, and other professionals. Use of diagnostic terminology
    indicating a learning disability by someone whose training and experience are not in
    these fields is not acceptable. It is of utmost importance that evaluators are
    sensitive and respectful of cultural and linguistic differences between adolescents
    and adults during the assessment process. It is not considered appropriate for
    professionals to evaluate members of their families. All reports should be on
    letterhead, typed, dated, signed and otherwise legible."
  2. Substantiation of the Learning Disability (AHEAD)
    "Documentation should validate the need for services based on the individual's
    current level of functioning in the educational setting. A school plan such as an
    individualized educational program (IEP) or a 504 Plan is insufficient documentation,
    but it can be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A
    comprehensive assessment battery and the resulting diagnostic report should
    include a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement,
    information processing and a diagnosis."

    "Assessment, and any resulting diagnosis, should consist of and be based on a
    comprehensive assessment battery which does not rely on any one test or subtest."

Evidence of a substantial limitation to learning or other major life activity must be
provided. A list of commonly used tests is attached in Appendix A. Minimally, the
domains to be addressed must include the following:

  1. Aptitude
    A complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported.
  2. Academic Achievement
    A comprehensive academic achievement battery is essential with all subtests and
    standard scores reported for those subtests administered. The battery should
    include current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading
    (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written language.
  3. 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 and motor ability) should be assessed."

Clinical Summary (AHEAD)
"A well written diagnostic summary based on a comprehensive evaluation process is a
necessary component of the report...It is essential, therefore, that professional judgment
be utilized in the development of the clinical summary. The clinical summary should
include:

  1. Demonstration of the evaluator's having rules out alternative explanations for
    academic problems as a result of poor education, poor motivation and/or study
    skills, emotional problems, attention​ problems and cultural/language
    differences;
  2. Indication of how patterns in the student's cognitive ability, achievement and
    information processing reflect the presence of a learning disability;
  3. Indication of the substantial limitations 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,
    and;
  4. Indication as to why specific accommodations are needed and how the effects of
    the specific disability are accommodated.

The summary should also include any record or prior accommodation or auxiliary aids,
including any information about specific conditions under which the accommodations
were used (e.g., standardized testing, final exams, licensing or certification
examinations)."

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Documentation Guidelines for Physical Disabilities  

 

Physical disabilities (such as, but not limited to, mobility impairments, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, chemical sensitivities, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, and spinal bifida) are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation from family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. Diagnosis (clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the condition);
  2. Date of the original diagnosis;
  3. Date of the most recent evaluation (usually within a year, the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, current status, and the student's request for accommodations);
  4. Diagnostic criteria/assessment procedures used to make the diagnosis;
  5. Description of the present symptoms;
  6. Description of current impact of the condition (including impact of medication);
  7. Treatments/medications/devices or services currently prescribed;
  8. Expected duration, stability, or progression of the condition;
  9. Functional impact or limitation of the disability on learning or other major life activity;
  10. Medical information with signature of appropriate physician on letterhead stationary.

Students requesting housing modification based upon a physical disability must contact the Director of Disability Support Services for an application to be completed by the student and a physician completed form entitled "Special Needs Housing Request".

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting learning disabilities or other disabling conditions exist.

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Documentation Guidelines for Traumatic Brain Injuries

 

Head injuries are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. Head Injury or Traumatic Brain Injury is considered a medical or clinical diagnosis. Recommended practitioners may include: physicians (neurologist) and licensed clinical, rehabilitation and school psychologists.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation from family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable. Recommended documentation includes:

  1. A clear statement and classification of the head injury/traumatic brain injury including date of injury and classification and dates pertaining to a history of multiples concussions (as applicable);
  2. Documentation should be current. The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, current status, and the student's request for accommodations;
  3. A summary of cognitive and achievement measures used and evaluation results (neuropsychological report) including standardized scores or percentiles used to make the diagnosis;
  4. A summary of present residual symptoms and cumulative damage (as applicable and as a result of repeated injuries) which meet the criteria for diagnosis;
  5. Medical information relating to the student's needs that include the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the post secondary environment;
  6. A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability or learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting learning disabilities or other disabling conditions exist.

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Documentation Guidelines for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

 

Attention deficit disorders are considered disabilities under ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. A diagnosis by a licensed professional, including clinical social workers (LCSW), professional counselor
(LPC), psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians trained in ADHD/ADD assessment is required and should include title and license number and date of the evaluation in the report on letterhead stationary.

The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaboration with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations.

Recommended documentation includes:

  1. Evaluations must be comprehensive and include diagnostic measures specific to ADD/ADHD such as the Conner's Test of Distractibility. Documentation must show that DSM-IV criteria for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder have been met.
  2. Information and/or test scores to rule out concomitant conditions, such as learning disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance related disorders, relational problems, etc., must be completed.
  3. Documentation must give clear and specific evidence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. A brief statement on a prescription form or letterhead is not acceptable.
  4. The process of diagnosis should be reported, providing test scores and/or appropriate data.
  5. Documentation must be current.
  6. If medication is recommended, this should be noted.
  7. Professionals' conduction assessment and rendering diagnoses of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder must be qualified to do so. The person who signs the report must be the one who conducts the evaluation and writes the report. (Documentation by family members, immediate or otherwise is not acceptable.)

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting learning disabilities or other disabling conditions exist.

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CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

1200 S. Franklin St • Mount Pleasant, Mich. 48859
Phone: 989-774-4000

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