The general purpose of disability documentation is to establish eligibility as a qualified Wichita State University student with a disability, using criteria appropriate for higher education. Disability documentation is used to verify the nature and extent of the disability by identifying the current functional limitation(s) caused by the disability. An Individualized Education Plan (I.E.P.) or Summary of Performance (S.O.P.) maybe helpful in determining appropriate accommodations, but typically does not provide comprehensive information.
Documentation is not required until after a student is admitted, but providing documentation early can help ease the transition to the university setting. Disability documentation should be sent directly to the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and is welcome anytime.
Some students who have not been tested for cognitive disabilities, such as a learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or a psychological disability, contact our office because they suspect they may have one. WSU has the resources to provide the necessary testing. ODS will provide students with a list of appropriate professionals in the WSU Community who are qualified to conduct a diagnostic evaluation. Insurance companies sometimes pay for testing, but often they do not.
Students with disabilities requesting academic accommodations are required to provide documentation of their disability to the Office of Disability Services. ODS will determine eligibility and appropriate accommodations, case by case, based on quality, recency and completeness of the documentation submitted. Quality documentation provides the evidence needed for the decision-maker to clearly understand the impact of the disability in a post-secondary environment in order to determine appropriate accommodations.
The following guidelines provide students and professionals with a common understanding of the components of documentation that are necessary to establish the need for accommodations in accordance of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities act of 1990, as amended.
Formal documentation is provided by an appropriate, qualified professional. The professional’s name, title, credentials and affiliation should be provided. The professional should have no personal relationship with the student.
The documentation must 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.
The documentation must 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, having both summary data and specific test scores* within the report is necessary. Methods may include formal instruments, medical examinations, structured interviews, and performance observations.
The recency of documentation is critical to the establishment of the student’s current functional limitations. Information on how the disabling condition(s) currently impacts the individual is useful for both establishing a disability and identifying possible accommodations. 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 best documentation is thorough enough to demonstrate the extent of how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s).
Comprehensive documentation should include a description of both current and past medications, support services, accommodations, auxiliary aids, and assistive devices including their effectiveness in mitigating functional impacts of the disability. It would be helpful if a rationale is provided for the need when medication/treatment is producing favorable results.
Recommendations from professionals with a history of working with the individual provide valuable information for the documentation review and planning for academic accommodations. It is most helpful when recommended accommodations and strategies are logically related to functional limitations; if connections are not obvious, a clear explanation of their relationship can be useful in decision-making.
FERPA regulations apply to all documentation sent to our office.
*Examples of assessment instruments for Learning Disabilities include: WAIS-IV, WAIS-III, Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement, WIAT-II.
A: If you have any questions about services or procedures, write them down and arrange a meeting with the Director of ODS. During this meeting, you and the Director will be able to discuss your college plans and develop a plan for services. Each student will develop an individualized plan for services with ODS.
A: ODS promotes a philosophy of independence. We do not wish students to become dependent on our services, but to use services as a support to accomplish their academic goals. Auxiliary aids and services are based on need, as supported by documentation of disability. Students are encouraged to communicate needs openly when they meet with the Director to insure that proper services are provided. Students are encouraged to experiment with services and develop a package of services that allows them to remain as independent as possible on campus. Students should be aware that services will be designed in a manner intended to remove barriers in the classroom which could hinder a student’s ability to learn. Services are not intended to give the student an advantage over other students in the class.
Services could include moving classrooms to an accessible building, building of ramps or curb cuts, arranging for adjustable tables in class rooms, or arranging meetings with instructors to discuss services. ODS conducts presentations periodically to raise awareness of disability issues and concerns on campus.
ODS will, upon request, provide students information about community organizations that benefit people who experience a disability.