Documentation Guidelines

UT Tyler Student Accessibility and Resources

Documentation provided by a student is an indicator of needs and provides necessary background information regarding the specific student's disability. While the initial intake meeting and student interview help identify a student's needs and eligibility, documentation is often necessary to establish appropriate accommodations. 

It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with Student Accessibility and Resources (SAR) office and to provide appropriate documentation of the disability and related functional limitations for which they are requesting accommodations. This process follows the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its amendments, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and is designed to ensure that reasonable, appropriate accommodations are provided to all qualified students in a timely manner. 

A diagnosis of a disorder/condition/syndrome in and of itself does not automatically qualify an individual for accommodations. In order to meet the criteria of a person with a disability under federal law, a person must demonstrate how their impairment substantially limits one or more daily life activities.

Student accommodation needs may change over time and are not always identified during the initial diagnostic process/evaluation. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of current need, does not in and of itself warrant provision of a like accommodation. SAR will make the final determination as to whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided to the individual student.

Documentation guidelines outline the specific information that should be included on letters, reports, or evaluations that the student may submit to SAR in order to register for services. Documentation helps SAR understand a student’s disability(ies) and current needs and serves as part of the interactive process to determine what accommodations may be necessary to ensure students have equal access to their academics and housing. Specific information is available according to the type of disability. Please make sure to reference the set of guidelines that most closely match the student’s disability(ies).

 

General Guidelines for All Disabilities

The following guidelines serve as a baseline for what might be required when a student requests accommodations. These are standards the SAR office prefers in order to make the optimal decision about reasonable classroom and housing accommodations.

  • A clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition was diagnosed, information about the functional impact, and suggestions of appropriate accommodations provided by a licensed or otherwise properly qualified and credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated.
  • All documentation should be on official letterhead, include licensure information and be typed and signed by the professional. Diagnoses written on prescription pads, handwritten, or stamped with a signature are not generally accepted.
  • Common sense and discretion will be used in accepting older documentation of conditions that are permanent or non-varying.


In order to meet the criteria of a person with a disability under federal law, a person should provide documentation of how their impairment substantially limits one or more life activities. Requests for any and all accommodations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with approval based on three factors: 

  1. Does the student have a disability?
  2. Is the accommodation requested appropriate?
  3. Is the accommodation requested reasonable?

Accommodations are designed to allow the student to meet the same essential elements of their selected program that are required of all students, with or without a disability.

 

Disability Categories

ADD/ADHD

Current diagnosis (typically within 3 years), as defined by the DSM-V or ICD-10, and any additional psychological or neurological testing results. 

If the diagnosis was made before the student's ninth grade year of school or prior to the age of 14, then a letter from the student’s current treating physician will suffice as long as the letter includes the following: (1) A statement of diagnosis and (2) a current method of treatment. The diagnosis should also include a discussion of how the student's symptoms affect learning and academic achievement to the level of a disability. Specific recommendations for classroom accommodations should be included as well.

 

Brain Injury

Diagnosis, summary of evaluation and any neuropsychological testing results, including discussion of functional limitations.

 

Learning Disabilities

Written evaluation including a narrative with history, cognitive evaluation (with all subtest scores), tests of achievement (with a full print-out of age-normed scores) and discussion of the findings, a diagnostic conclusion, and recommendations for academic accommodations. Evaluations must have been completed during the student's ninth grade year of school or later or after the age of 14. If the initial diagnosis or the re-evaluation of the learning disability occurred prior to the student's ninth grade year of high school, or prior to the age of 14, the student can still be granted accommodations if the student demonstrated a continual need for accommodations during their high school career. This would be established through providing copies of either the Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee reports or the Section 504 Committee reports that documented the use of specific accommodations throughout high school. 

 

Developmental Disability

Diagnosis, functional limitations, cognitive testing, and appropriate evaluations. (Examples include: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Borderline Cognitive Abilities, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Intellectual Disability)

 

Deaf/Hearing Impairment

Most recent audiology report and audiogram, a clear diagnosis, functional limitations, and recommendations for academic accommodations. Students may provide a certificate of deafness waiver from the state of Texas, and out-of-state students can provide similar documentation from their home state. Other acceptable documentation could include providing copies of either the Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee reports or the Section 504 Committee reports that documented the use of specific accommodations throughout high school. These accommodations would typically be services such as note taking assistance, sign language interpreters, FM System/assistive listening devices, or CART/transcription services.

 

Blind/Visual Impairment

Most recent visual examination results, along with a detailed diagnosis and description of the disability. Students may provide a certificate of blindness waiver from the state of Texas, and out-of-state students can provide similar documentation from their home state. Other acceptable documentation could include providing copies of either the Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee reports or the Section 504 Committee reports that documented the use of specific accommodations throughout high school.

 

Chronic Health/Medical

Current diagnosis (within the last year) and description of related functional limitations resulting from the disabling condition. (Examples may include: memory, dexterity, chronic pain or fatigue.)

 

Mental Health/Psychological

DSM-V or ICD-10 diagnosis, summary of evaluation results and any additional psychological and/or neurological testing results. (Examples include: major depressive depression, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, bipolar disorder, etc.) If the original diagnosis is over two years old, then an updated report from the treating professional is preferred.

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Additional Documentation Considerations

The following information is also helpful for accommodation determinations:

  1. Highschool IEP/504 plans and Full Individual Evaluations 
  2. Medical records/patient portal diagnostic summary
  3. Letter from a healthcare professional, on letterhead, which confirms a diagnosis.
  4. Accommodation letters from previous postsecondary institutions
  5. Description of childhood symptoms (e.g., by parent)
  6. Information from previous school, report cards, and transcripts

 

Please Note: All documentation submitted to SAR is considered confidential.

Documentation can be mailed to the following address:

 

Student Accessibility and Resources
UC 3150
3900 University Blvd.
Tyler, Tx 75799

 

Documentation may be email to saroffice@uttyler.edu.

 

Documentation may be faxed to 903-565-5592.

 

Student with questions about documentation should call the SAR office at 903-566-7079.