Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who, with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity”.
A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working, or learning.
Physical disabilities (such as, but not limited to, mobility impairments, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, chemical sensitivities, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida) are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. Documentation must be provided by an appropriate physician. Documentation provided by family members, immediate or otherwise, is not acceptable.
The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations.
Recommended documentation includes:
- A clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the physical disability.
- Documentation for eligibility should be current, preferably within the last three years, possibly within one year. The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the students request for accommodations;
- A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable;
- Description of present symptoms which meet the criteria for diagnosis;
- Medical information relating to the students needs to include the impact of medication on the students ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment;
- A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.
Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities, visual, or other disabling conditions exist.