Academic Advising

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Documentation Guidelines

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) requires that all students who are requesting accommodations submit recent documentation. In most instances, recent is considered to be within the past three years unless stated otherwise below. This documentation is used to determine eligibility for accommodations. Below are the guidelines for any piece of documentation and below that are additional documentation guidelines organized by disability type.

Criteria for any Piece of Documentation

Documentation should include a recent evaluation, by a credentialed professional, who is not a family member. Documentation needs to be be typed with the provider's official letter head, dated, and signed.

Documentation must:

  • Clearly state the diagnosed disability
  • State the functional limitations resulting from the disability
  • Discuss how these limitations impact academic performance and/or one's dorm experience
  • Make recommendations for accommodations.
    • When making recommendations, the documentation should make evident the current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodations and services requested.


Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and/or 504 Plans when submitted alone are usually not considered sufficient documentation, but may be included with the necessary documentation.

Documentation needs to be entirely in English; it is the student's responsibility to get documentation translated into English as necessary by either the provider's office or by a third party that is not the student, another student, or a member of their family. Some options for acceptable translators are Clark faculty members, a local embassy, and certified translators outside of Clark. The translator needs to notarize their translation; this should at the very least include providing their name, title, organization they represent, and their signature on the translated document.

If documentation does not meet this criteria, then additional documentation may be required.

All documentation needs to follow these guidelines in addition to what is required from that disability's category below.

To Send Documentation

Documentation can be sent via the following options:

  • Emailed to accessibilityservices@clarku.edu
  • Faxed to 508-421-3700
  • Mailed to:

    Student Accessibility Services

    950 Main St.

    Worcester, MA 01610-1477


Cognitive and Learning Disabilities:

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of cognitive or learning disabilities should provide a neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation conducted by an appropriately licensed professional* that clearly diagnoses a disability and/or provides records showing the history of a disability.

This evaluation should include the results of a formal assessment including aptitude assessment, achievement assessment, and diagnostic interview. Test scores, including raw scores and standard scores must be included in the report or as an attached summary of test scores. In all cases the evaluation should be using adult norms.

Examples of possible tests:

  • Recognized IQ test, such as the WAIS-R
  • Psycho-educational testing such as Woodcock Johnson Psycho-educational Battery revised, Weschler Individual Achievement Test, Test of Written Language-3, Nelson-Denny Reading Test, Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-R, Scholastic Ability Test for Adults, Detroit Test of Learning Aptitude 3

The evaluation must include DSM or ICD diagnosis, as well as specific recommendations for academic accommodations.

*Appropriately licensed professional must be trained in psychiatric, psychological, or neuropsychological assessment. This may include but is not limited to a physician, licensed clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, or educational psychologist.

ADHD

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of ADHD, either Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, or Combined type, can submit an evaluation or a detailed letter from a provider with the training and experience to diagnose ADHD.

Evaluation

To submit documentation for ADHD via an evaluation, a student should provide a neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation conducted by an appropriately licensed professional* that clearly diagnoses a disability and/or provides records showing the history of a disability.

This evaluation should include the results of a formal assessment including aptitude assessment, achievement assessment, and diagnostic interview. Test scores, including raw scores and standard scores must be included in the report or as an attached summary of test scores. In all cases the evaluation should be using adult norms.

Examples of possible assessments:

  • Barkley Rating Scales
  • Conners Rating Scales
  • Brown Rating Scales
  • Vanderbilt Rating Scales
  • Recognized IQ test, such as the WAIS-R
  • Psycho-educational testing such as Woodcock Johnson Psycho-educational Battery revised, Weschler Individual Achievement Test, Test of Written Language-3, Nelson-Denny Reading Test, Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-R, Scholastic Ability Test for Adults, Detroit Test of Learning Aptitude 3


The evaluation must include DSM or ICD diagnosis, as well as specific recommendations for academic accommodations.

*Appropriately licensed professional must be trained in psychiatric, psychological, or neuropsychological assessment. This may include but is not limited to a physician, licensed clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, or educational psychologist.


Detailed Letter

To submit documentation for ADHD via a detailed letter, a provider who is trained and experienced in diagnosing ADHD can write a letter substantiating the need for accommodations. This letter should include a diagnostic statement, discuss how the disability impacts the student, and makes recommendations for accommodations. When making recommendations, the documentation should make evident the current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodations and services requested.

Disease-Related, Mobility (Physical), Sensory or Systemic Disabilities:

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of disease-related, mobility (physical), sensory, or systemic disabilities must provide documentation from his or her doctor consisting of:

  1. An identification of the disabling condition(s).
  2. An assessment of the functionally limiting manifestations of the condition(s) for which accommodations are being requested.
  3. Suggestions as to how the functionally limiting manifestations of the condition(s) may be accommodated.

The answers to these questions will provide a clear picture of the student's limitations. If the disability is progressive or if the student experiences any change in the severity that would affect the accommodations, updated documentation that reflects the change in status must be provided.

Psychiatric Disabilities:

An appropriately licensed professional should provide medical documentation of disability. The report should include the psychiatric history, current status, and if appropriate, medical and neurological reports. In most cases the report must be within the last year and must include DSM diagnosis, how the disability(ies) will affect the student, and recommendations for accommodations. When making recommendations, the documentation should make evident the current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodations and services requested.

If the disability is progressive or if the student experiences any change in the severity that would affect the accommodations, updated documentation that reflects the change in status must be provided.


Supplemental Documentation

Supplemental documentation is a broad term referring to any documentation that on its own would not be considered sufficient, but definitely can have an important role in the accommodation process depending on the situation. Below are some examples of when supplemental documentation could be helpful:

Documentation Update

In the case of documentation that is old, it is helpful to submit supplemental documentation to fill in any gap of time between the old documentation and present day. Such supplemental documentation is called an documentation update. A documentation update should be able to assist any other documentation build a strong history of how the disability impacts a student.

Example

If a student has a psycho-educational evaluation but it is from five or more years ago, the student can obtain supplemental documentation from the provider that treats their disability. The provider can write a detailed letter discussing how the disability still impacts the student in similar ways to how it impacted the student back when the evaluation was done. This documentation helps build the history of the impact of the student's disability by adding supporting evidence between the old documentation and present day.

Personal Statement

After submitting documentation, any student looking to register with the office needs to have an intake meeting. During this intake meeting they will have a chance to share in real time how their disability impacts them. But, some students may better advocate for themselves in different ways. Such a student has the option of taking time before an intake meeting and creating a personal statement. A personal statement can be written, typed, recorded, or otherwise crafted and delivered to SAS prior to an intake meeting and gives the student a chance to create their own supplemental documentation. This statement should be created by the student requesting the accommodations themselves. Some ideas of what could be included in a personal statement are:

  • A discussion of how the disability impacts you in your daily life, in as well as outside of school.
  • What accommodations you have had in the past and why you feel they were instrumental in helping you access your education.
  • What accommodations you are requesting now that you did not have in the past. Discuss what has changed and why you feel you need them now.