Traumatic Brain Injury

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.

Head injuries are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. Head Injury or Traumatic Brain Injury is considered a medical or clinical diagnosis. Recommended practitioners may include: physicians (neurologists) and licensed clinical, rehabilitation and school psychologists.

Documentation 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 and classification of the head injury/traumatic brain injury including date of injury and classification and dates pertaining to a history of multiple concussions (as applicable);
  • Documentation should be current. The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the condition, history of repeated head trauma, the current status of the student and student’s specific request for accommodation;
  • A summary of cognitive and achievement measures used and evaluation results (neuropsychological report) including standardized scores or percentiles used to make the diagnosis;
  • A summary of present residual symptoms and cumulative damage (as applicable and as a result of repeated injuries) which meet the criteria for diagnosis;
  • Medical information relating to the student’s needs to include the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment;
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability or 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, hearing or other disabling conditions exists, or if clarification of documentation submitted is necessary to address student’s accommodation requests.