Documentation Guidelines for Students

Documentation Guidelines for Students

Students requesting accommodations and/or services under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 must provide documentation of the existence of a disability and evidence of the need for disability-related accommodations. The registration process outlined below is designed to gather and review documentation:

  • Complete the SEAS Registration and Release form and any applicable accommodation request forms to provide information about your disability, limitations, potential barriers and effective accommodations.
  • Meet with a SEAS professional staff member in person or by phone to review your history of disability-related accommodation and service use and to discuss how current needs can be addressed.
  • Provide supporting documentation from third parties as needed. This would include assessments and letters relating to the disability and requested accommodations from a healthcare provider, mental health professional, school psychologist, teachers or the educational system and documents such as a neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation, Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 Plan, Summary of Performance (SOP), and teacher observations.

All documentation is reviewed on a case by case basis and accommodations are determined through an interactive process. Documentation of a specific disability does not translate directly into specific accommodations. Accommodations are connected to the particular functional limitations associated with your disability and these can vary greatly among individuals with the same diagnosis.

Documentation is treated in a confidential manner and will only be shared on a need to know basis. Written documentation should be as complete and legible as possible. We request that written documentation be typewritten letters or reports, signed on letterhead and that they be sent by mail, fax or emailed as a non-editable file directly from the provider.

Documentation from third parties should include though not necessarily be limited to the following:

  1. The credentials of the evaluator(s). Documentation should be provided by an appropriate licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has relevant experience and no personal relationship with you. 
  2. A diagnostic statement identifying your disability and the diagnostic methodology used. Documentation should include a description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests, and dates of administration, along with a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results.   
  3. A description of the current functional limitations. Documentation should include how the disabling condition(s) currently impact. Documentation should provide a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition. 
  4. A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability.   Descriptions of the chronic, cyclical or episodic nature of the disability and known or suspected environmental triggers to episodes provide opportunities to anticipate and plan for continuing as well as varying functional impacts. Recommended timelines for re-evaluations can also be helpful. 
  5. A description of past accommodations and services as well as recommendations for accommodations going forward. This could include auxiliary aids, assistive devices, support services, and accommodations, including their effectiveness in alleviating functional impacts of the disability. Provision of an accommodation in another setting does not mean an accommodation can be provided in the college setting, but having this information is helpful to us in making effective decisions about reasonable services and accommodations.

For students who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a Learning Disability (LD), we request that you submit a complete psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation (including all scores) if one has been done.  Such reports highlight strengths as well as weaknesses and often provide additional information about what may be needed and helpful in a college setting. See back of sheet for suggested instruments for these evaluations.

Please contact the SEAS office at 401-863-9588 or SEAS@brown.edu if you have questions about what is needed.

Documenting Learning Disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A complete, current psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation is recommended. We prefer that students submit an evaluation that has been done within the last three years using adult scales such as the WAIS (as opposed to the WISC). The evaluation should include instruments that address the following areas:

Cognitive functioning - A complete battery of tests, appropriate for an adult should be conducted, with all subtest and standard scores reported. One of the following would be required: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery: Tests of Cognitive Ability, or the Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test.

Achievement - A complete battery relevant to area(s) of suspected disability(s), often to include a reading assessment, with all subtest and standard scores reported. Examples of commonly used tools include: Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery IV: Tests of Achievement, Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK), Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT), and Nelson-Denny Reading Skills Test.

Information Processing - An examination of the student's processing strengths and weaknesses to include areas such as short and long term memory, processing speed, meta-cognition, etc. gathered from the comprehensive assessment, diagnostic interview, and examiner's observations of test behavior or the administration of additional instruments.

When documenting ADHD, additional instruments such as those below are usually used in combination:

  • Barkley ADHD Symptoms Scale (Childhood and Current Self Report)
  • Brown’s ADD Scales
  • Conner’s Adult ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS)
  • Continuous Performance Test (CPT)
  • Stroop Color Word Test
  • Test of Variable Attention (TOVA)
  • Trail Making Test A and B
  • Wisconsin Card Sorting test