Complete Documentation Guidelines

For a printable version of these guidelines, click here.

We are looking forward to working with you at Roanoke College! In determining eligibility for reasonable accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the American with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAA), the student must demonstrate that a qualified professional has established a formal diagnosis of a disability.

Note: In most cases an IEP, 504 Plan, prescriptions, or brief and/or handwritten notes from a physician do not contain the information outlined in the points below, so are not sufficient as documentation.

Special Notice for Students with ADD/ADHD

All students disclosing ADD/ADHD will be required to show documentation of a psychological or medical evaluation with results that satisfy the diagnosis requirements set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (American Psychiatric Association). In other words, a declaration from a physician or counselor that a student has ADD/ADHD will need to be supported with documentation of the evaluations conducted resulting in diagnosis. For complete documentation requirements for ADD/ADHD, click here.


The credentials of the evaluator(s)

Evaluator should be a licensed professional in the area of diagnosis or an otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training and has relevant experience.

Evaluator should have no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated.

A diagnostic statement identifying the disability

Documentation should include a clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition was diagnosed, provides information on the functional impact, and details the typical progression or prognosis of the condition. Use of diagnostic codes from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (American Psychiatric Association) is helpful in providing this information; a full clinical description conveying the necessary information is also acceptable.

A description of the diagnostic methodology used

Submitted documentation should include a description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results. Where appropriate to the nature of the disability, both summary data and specific test scores (with the norming population identified) within the report are recommended.

Diagnostic methods that are congruent with the particular disability and current professional practices in the field are recommended. Methods may include formal instruments, medical examinations, structured interview protocols, performance observations and unstructured interviews. If results from informal, non-standardized or less common methods of evaluation are reported, an explanation of their role and significance in the diagnostic process will strengthen their value in providing useful information.

A description of the current functional limitations Submitted documentation should include information on how the disabling condition(s) currently impacts the individual. A combination of the results of formal evaluation procedures, clinical narrative, and the individual's self report is the most comprehensive approach to fully documenting impact. The documentation should be thorough enough to demonstrate whether and how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s).

Documentation should be no more than three years old. Older documentation of physical conditions that are permanent or non-varying is acceptable. Please contact Accessible Education Services if more information is required.

A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability It is helpful when documentation provides information on expected changes in the functional impact of the disability over time and context. Information on the cyclical or episodic nature of the disability and known or suspected environmental triggers to episodes provides opportunities to anticipate and plan for varying functional impacts. If the condition is not stable, information on interventions (including the individual's own strategies) for exacerbations and recommended timelines for re-evaluation are most helpful.

A description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications

A description of both current and past medications, auxiliary aids, assistive devices, support services, and accommodations, including their effectiveness in ameliorating functional impacts of the disability, is very helpful. A discussion of any significant side effects from current medications or services that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance is helpful.

Please note that Roanoke College has no obligation to provide accommodations previously provided by outside entities.

All disability disclosures are voluntary and confidential. All documentation received will be kept confidential.

Accessible Education Services will be glad to assist you at any time. For more information or assistance, contact:

Becky Harman, M.Ed. 
Assistant Director of Academic Services for Accessible Education