Supporting Documentation Guidelines for Disabilities

Providing Supporting Information

Non-Academic (Medical) Requests

Please refer to the Non-Academic (Medical) Accommodations page on the Health and Wellness Center website.

Academic Requests

  1. Review the General Documentation Guidelines (below) in order to see what supporting documentation is appropriate for the situation.
  2. Send supporting documentation to the coordinator of Disability Services:
    Disability Services
    St. John Fisher College
    3690 East Avenue
    Rochester, NY 14618
    Fax: (585) 385-8117
  3. After the documentation is received, it will be reviewed to determine what academic accommodation(s), if any, will be made.
  4. Undergraduate and Graduate Students:
    • If accommodations are approved, the student will receive an outline of the process and instructions about implementing his/her accommodation plan.
    • If accommodations are not approved, the student will receive a request for further information or a denial of accommodations. Students whose request for accommodation is denied may submit an appeal through the accommodation appeal process.
  5. Doctoral and Pharmacy Students:
    • Students will receive more information from their respective schools.
  6. Students with approved accommodations must schedule an appointment to meet with the coordinator of Disability Services to activate the accommodation plan. Services begin after this meeting takes place.

General Disability Documentation Guidelines

  1. Documentation must be typewritten on business letterhead from a licensed professional not related to the student who is qualified to give a psychological and/or medical diagnosis. The name, credentials and signature of the licensed professional must appear on the documentation.
  2. The documentation must include all pertinent diagnoses, clearly stated and explained.
  3. Information outlining testing/assessment tools must be included. Learning disability testing must include the actual standard test scores; student must be tested using measures normed on adult populations.
  4. Documentation must include information on how the disability currently impacts the individual and document "how a major life activity is limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s)."
  5. All pertinent positive and negative effects of mitigating measures must be addressed. This could include a description of treatment, medications (and potential side effects) and assistive devices with estimated effectiveness of their impact on the disability.
  6. Documentation should provide recommendations for accommodations for the individual and include the rationale for the recommended accommodations.
Supporting Documentation Guidelines for Various Disabilities


Currency of Documentation

Accepted evaluator

Elements of Documentation


Within 3 years

Psychologist, psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, medical doctor

Evidence of early impairment from more than one setting; evidence of current impairment; summary of neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessments to determine the current functional limitation pertaining to an educational setting; prescribed medications, dosages and schedules; suggestions of accommodations.

Autism spectrum disorder/Asperger’s syndrome

Within 3 years

Developmental pediatrician, neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, neuropsychologist

Academic testing-standardized achievement tests, including standard scores; impact of symptoms on learning; ability to function in a residential college community; prescribed medications, dosages and schedules that may influence the learning environment.

Chronic illness and physical impairment

Depends on condition

Licensed medical professional

Documentation will vary based on the diagnosis, which would include conditions such as asthma, allergies, arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraine and multiple sclerosis.

Hearing impairment

Depends on whether condition is static or changing

Otorhinolaryngologist, otologist, licensed audiologist

Audiological evaluation or audiogram administered by a licensed audiologist; interpretation of the functional implications; suggestions of accommodations.

Learning disability

Within 5 years

Clinical or educational psychologist, school psychologist, neuropsychologist, learning disabilities specialist

Assessment must be comprehensive (more than one test) and address intellectual functioning/aptitude, preferably the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III with standard scores; achievement — current levels in reading, math and written language (acceptable instruments include the Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test or others); and information processing utilizing subtests from the WAIS-III, WJ III or others. Individual "learning styles," "learning differences," "academic problems" and "test difficulty or anxiety" do not constitute a learning disability. Please refer to General Documentation Guidelines above.

Psychiatric disorder

Within 6 months

Licensed clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), licensed clinical social worker

Family history; discussion of dual diagnosis; current diagnosis (DSM-IV TR) indicates the nature, frequency, severity of symptoms — diagnosis without an explicit listing of current symptoms is not sufficient; prescribed medications, dosages and schedules that may influence the learning environment; types of accommodations, including any possible side effects.

Visual impairment

Depends on condition


Ocular assessment/evaluation; suggestions on how the condition may be accommodated.

Acknowledgement: This information is based on the Disability Documentation Guidelines to Determine Eligibility for Accommodations at the Postsecondary Level developed by the Association for Higher Education and Disability.

It is important to have recent and appropriate documentation because accommodations are determined based on the current impact of the condition(s) and how it affects access to academics and educational activities.

In general, documentation for ADHD and Learning Disabilities should be within the time frames listed above. However, if there is documentation of a long-standing history of a disability and receiving accommodations or services in school, this may be considered adequate documentation. Students are encouraged to submit copies of an Individual Educational Program or 504 plan as a source of useful information which can help provide a history. However, Individual Educational Programs or 504 plans may not exclusively provide sufficient documentation for approval of accommodations.

Any questions about appropriate documentation should be directed to the coordinator of Student Disability Services who can be contacted at (585) 385-5252.

Refer to our Documentation of Disability Policy for more information.

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