This page is intended to assist you, as a health professional, in understanding the process for students requesting, being approved, and receiving reasonable accommodations for their disabilities. For more information about our requirements and the process that students must go through to receive accommodations, please visit the For Students area of our website. For general information, you may want to check out the Terms & Definitions and Frequently Asked Questions pages.
At the college level, disability accommodations have the primary goal of providing equal access to educational opportunities. At KCC, the Support Services department is charged with determining what accommodations are reasonable for each student with a documented disability, as well as implementing these accommodations. We are by no means experts in your field, and we need your help to provide us with vital information about your client, our student, that will assist us in making the right decision on what accommodations would be most reasonable and effective.
Below are some helpful guidelines for what we look for in documentation. While each client/student will be different, and the type and amount of documentation you can provide may vary widely, these provide a general idea of what is relevant, helpful, and necessary for us to be able to provide the most effective accommodations to your client. For your convenience, please use this form to place in the client’s file that summarizes the information necessary.
Guidelines for Documentation
A. Introduction and Background
Students at colleges and universities are protected from discrimination on the basis of disability by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under such legislation, individuals with disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and rights of equal access to programs and services. Eligibility is based on the existence of an identified physical or mental impairment in a disability that substantially limits a major life activity.
The question of whether a student has a disability which substantially limits his/her ability to learn is more complicated with non-visible disabilities than more apparent disabilities such as blindness, deafness, or visible physical disabilities. Not every impairment qualifies as a disability protected by the ADA because not every impairment is substantially limiting. The courts have described the proper disability determination as follows:
A disability determination [...] should not be based on abstract lists as categories of impairments, as there are varying degrees of impairments as well as varied individuals who suffer from the impairments. [...] A finding of disability is not necessarily based on the name or diagnosis of the impairment the person has, but rather, on the effect of that impairment on the life of the individual. Some impairments may be disabling for particular individuals but not for others, depending upon the stage of the disease or disorder, the presence of other impairments that combine to make the impairment disabling, or any number of other factors.
The key factor in answering the question of whether there is a substantial limitation is “the actual effect on the individual’s life.” Whether a substantial limitation upon a major life activity exists, depends upon an analysis of
- the nature and severity of the impairment;
- the duration of the impairment, and;
- the permanent or long-term impact of impairment.
The information you provide to KCC Support Services will be used to determine which accommodations are reasonable, effective, and warranted in each given case.
B. Evaluations Appropriate for Disability
Documentation should be provided with appropriate medical, psychological, psychoeducational, or neuropsychological documentation indicating the student’s disability and suggested accommodations by an authorized professional. For example, a psychiatric evaluation is suitable documentation for a student with a mental or learning disability while an auditory report is appropriate for a student with a hearing impairment.
C. Evaluator Qualifications
Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses of specific disabilities, and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. Comprehensive training with regard to the specific disability being addressed and direct experience with an adolescent and/or adult population are essential.
The name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification (e.g., licensed psychologist), the area of specialization, employment, and state/province in which the individual practices should be clearly stated in the documentation. Evaluators should follow accepted norms/codes of conduct appropriate for professionals in their field.
D. Current Documentation
KCC Support Services considers documentation to be current for five (5) years since the date it was issued. When issuing or reissuing documentation, professionals should follow established practices in their field of expertise in regard to frequency and/or necessity of reevaluating a client or patient.
E. Comprehensive Documentation
Disability documentation must verify the nature and extent of the disability in accordance with current professional standards and techniques, and it must clearly substantiate the need for all of the student’s specific accommodation requests. Students requesting accommodations for the manifestations of multiple disabilities must provide evidence of all such conditions. It is the student’s responsibility to provide comprehensive documentation.
Please provide the most complete and concise information possible. Assessments and the resulting diagnostic reports should include assessment of areas appropriate for the specific disability and a diagnosis. Interpretation of results is required. Test scores, subtest scores, or test protocol sheets alone are not sufficient and should not be used as a sole measure for the diagnostic decision. If the data indicate that a specific disability is not present, the evaluator should state that conclusion in the report. The evaluator is encouraged to use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a specific disability, avoiding the use of terms such as “suggests” or “is indicative of. ” In addition, Support Services staff are not experts in your professional field and therefore will use your interpretation as a partial basis for decision-making.
All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, signed and legible.
F. Recommended Accommodations
The determination for reasonable accommodation(s) rests with the designated postsecondary institution working in collaboration with the individual with the disability and, when appropriate, college faculty. Accommodations may vary based on course content and/or academic programs. That is, while your documentation should include recommendations of specific accommodations for the student, this does not guarantee that KCC Support Services will provide all of (or any) of the recommended accommodations. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and take into consideration the “big picture” and the totality of documentation presented by the student.
KCC Support Services is committed to maintain confidentiality of the evaluation and may not reveal any part of the documentation to faculty, administration, or parents without the student’s informed and written consent. Copies of documentation on file can be released directly to the student at his or her written request.
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