Documentation provides the university with verification of a student’s disability. It is the student's responsibility to provide documentation of a disability to Accessibility Services (AS). Documentation requirements vary depending on the specific disability. In general, the less apparent the disability, the more information is required to determine a student’s needs and make accommodation recommendations. Documentation should be recent, relevant, comprehensive and where appropriate, contain test scores and interpretations (e.g., learning disability reports, audiograms, etc.).
If the original documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or reasonable accommodations, the university has the discretion to require additional documentation.
The university is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of current and former students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are entitled to privacy and discretion in the handling of all disability-related information. Disability information provided to AS for accessibility requests, including documentation to establish the existence of a disability, is used solely for the purpose of enabling UMGC to provide supportive, academic and other services related to the student’s disability. Disability-related information is collected and maintained separately from other academic information and is kept in secure files with limited access. Disability information is not considered part of a student’s permanent academic record and is only shared on a need-to-know basis.
Students are under no obligation to disclose a disability unless an accommodation is being requested; likewise, faculty and staff have no authority to review disability documentation or obtain any information concerning a student's disability without a legitimate educational need to know.
This statement provides notice of Accessibility Services' procedure for the retention of records. Accessibility Services treats all disability-related documentation provided to our office with the strictest confidentiality. Student records are classified as "inactive" five or more years after a student submits documentation and/or requests an accommodation from UMGC. Records classified as "inactive" will be scheduled for destruction. Accessibility Services will not provide students with further notice prior to the destruction of their records. As such, our office encourages students to retain original copies of their medical records and disability-related documentation.
Students’ grades, transcripts and other academic information are also confidential and are only released in accordance with the law and UMGC policies and procedures. It is the student’s responsibility to provide copies of grade reports and/or any other academic information to any agencies or individuals sponsoring the student.
Students requesting accommodations and/or support services under the amended Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 must provide documentation of the existence of a disability that substantially limits a major life activity (e.g., learning, speaking, breathing, seeing, hearing, walking, etc.). AS uses an individualized process to establish reasonable accommodations based on the student’s feedback and a review of all supporting documentation. Students may submit any documentation that is current and relevant, with the understanding that additional information may be required to support a specific accommodation request.
Documentation information 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 Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan or Summary of Performance (SOP) can be submitted as documentation, as long as the information provided addresses the impact of the condition and assists AS to determine a connection between the disability and the accommodation (s) being requested. AS reserves the right to request additional documentation in order to support specific accommodations.
To accurately determine the appropriate accommodations for students with learning disabilities, documentation should be current. To be current, the evaluation must have been completed within the last three years or when the student was an adult (usually, older than 15) so that adult scales and instruments were used.
This assessment should include a diagnostic interview to determine medical, developmental, psychosocial, family and academic history, as well as employment history, if applicable. It should include assessments of:
A comprehensive academic achievement battery should include current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas, such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics and oral and written language.
Individual learning styles, learning differences, academic problems and/or test anxiety, in and of themselves, do not constitute a learning disability. The diagnostician must use specific language in the documentation, avoiding the use of such terms as “suggests” or “is indicative of.” If the data indicates that a learning disability is present, the evaluator should state this conclusion in the report.
The clinical summary should include a demonstration of the evaluator having ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems (e.g., poor education, poor motivation, emotional problems, cultural/language differences, etc.); an indication of how patterns in the student’s cognitive ability, achievement and information processing reflect the presence of a learning disability; an 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.
It is helpful for the evaluator to include suggested accommodations based on the clinical findings.
The testing instruments used to assess the student must be technically adequate and document both the nature and severity of the learning disability. Following are suggested testing instruments.
Documentation of ADD or ADHD should be in the form of a letter or report prepared by an appropriate professional (e.g., psychiatrist, physician or psychologist) within the last three years.
It should include:
Documentation of mobility impairment should consist of a letter or report from a qualified health care professional or physician.
The letter or report should include:
Visual impairments are usually defined as disorders in the structure and function of the eye as manifested by at least one of the following: visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye after the best possible correction, a peripheral field so constricted that it affects one’s ability to function in an educational setting or a progressive loss of vision that may affect one’s ability to function in an educational setting. Examples include, but are not limited to, cataracts, glaucoma, nystagmus, retinal detachment, retinitis pigmentosa and strabismus.
Documentation of a visual impairment should consist of a letter or report from an optometrist or ophthalmologist and must include:
A hearing impairment is a hearing loss of 30 decibels or greater; pure tone average of 500, 1000, 2000 Hz, ANSI, unaided, in the better ear. Examples include, but are not limited to, conductive hearing impairment or deafness, sensory neural hearing impairment or deafness, high-or low-tone hearing loss or deafness or acoustic trauma hearing loss or deafness.
Documentation of a hearing impairment should be in the form of a report from an audiologist and must include:
Documentation of a health-related impairment should consist of a letter or report from a qualified health care professional (e.g., physician) and must include:
Documentation of mental health impairments should consist of a detailed report by a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed clinical social worker, with appropriate competencies related to the student’s diagnosis.
All documentation must be current, within the past year, and should include:
1 SAT® is a trademark registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, UMGC.