Before special accommodations can be offered, the student requesting such accommodations must provide appropriate documentation that such services are required because of a disability that substantially limits some life activity.
In general, all documentation must be completed by an appropriate professional and contain:
1.) A diagnosis of current disability (done within 3 years)
2.) The date of the diagnosis
3.) How the diagnosis was reached (names of evaluation instruments and criteria, if appropriate to diagnosis)
4.) How the disability affects a major life activity
5.) The areas of educational impact
6.) Prescriptive treatments and/or medications and the impact on the disability
7.) The credentials of the diagnostician
8.) Specific suggestions for reasonable accommodations appropriate to the postsecondary education level
In general, the following professionals are qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities, provided that they have additional training and experience in the assessment of learning problems in adolescents and adults: school psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, medical doctors, licensed professional counselors, or an individual with a Ph.D. in special education. It is considered inappropriate for professionals to evaluate family members. All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, and signed.
A school plan such as an IEP or a 504 plan is not sufficient documentation by itself, but it can be part of a more comprehensive evaluation, which should include
1.) An assessment of intelligence quotient,
2.) An assessment of academic achievement, and information processing,
3.) All relevant test scores,
4.) A diagnosis that substantiates a learning disability as specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), fourth edition, and
5.) Recommendations for reasonable academic accommodations appropriate to postsecondary education.
The evaluation should be specific in diagnosis, rather than including such terms as “suggests,” or “indicates” a disability. “Learning difficulties,” “academic problems,” “test difficulty,” and “test anxiety” are not learning disabilities of themselves.
If the data available to the evaluator shows that a learning disability is not present, the report should specifically state so.
Documentation should be completed by a medical doctor or licensed psychologist and should include a test battery similar to that given for a learning disability. The report must include evidence that the condition has existed since childhood and causes significant limitation in two or more settings, such as school and work. In addition, the report should indicate the degree to which the problem has been impacted by medication. If the condition is medically controlled, the report should specifically state so.
Acceptable documentation of a hearing impairment should be completed by a medical specialist or an audiologist and should state specifically the degree of hearing loss or impairment, along with recommendations for the most appropriate postsecondary academic accommodations.
Documentation of blindness or visual impairment should be done by a medical specialist (ophthalmologist). A statement from the Texas Commission for the Blind that a student is legally blind may be included.
Documentation of a speech impairment, along with recommendations for appropriate postsecondary academic accommodations, should be completed by a speech pathologist or medical specialist.
Documentation should be completed by a medical specialist (orthopedist, physical therapist, neurologist).
Traumatic Brain Injury:
Documentation should be completed by a neurologist or neuropsychologist and should include recommendations for appropriate reasonable accommodations in a postsecondary academic setting.