Documentation and Verification Guidelines for Medical Professionals

General Guidelines

In order to receive disability-related accommodations and/or service from Bethel College, students may be asked to submit documents of disability to verify eligibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA Amendments ACT (ADA AA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Bethel College Disability Services policy.  For these purposes, disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities.  Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

Documentation of disability assists the Bethel college staff in collaboration with the student to determine reasonable accommodations and/or services, which are provided on a case-by-case basis. If the submitted documentation is incomplete or does not support the student’s request for accommodations and/or services, the student may be asked to provide additional documentation, e.g., an Individualized education Plan, 504 Plan, or Summary of Performance from a secondary school.  The cost of obtaining all documentation is the responsibility of the student.

Documentation, along with the Intake Form, should be submitted to Disability Services at least 30 days in advance of the student’s admission and assessment appointments to allow staff sufficient time to review the requests and implement reasonable accommodations and/or services.

Students are encouraged to contact Disability Services (Center for Academic Success), for guidance on the documentation needed for their individual situations.

In general, documentation should include the following:

1. The credentials of the evaluator(s)

Documentation must be provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated.  The individual making the diagnosis must be qualified to do so, e.g., an orthopedic limitation might be documented by a physician, but not a licensed psychologist.

Documentation should be provided on official letterhead with the name, title, professional credentials, address, phone number, and signature of the evaluator, as well as the date of the report.

2. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability

Documentation should include a clear diagnostic statement.  While diagnostic codes from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) of the World Health Organization are helpful, a full clinical description may also convey the necessary information.

3. As appropriate to the disability, a description of the diagnostic methodology used

Generally, documentation should include a description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests, and dates of administration, as well as observations, specific results, and a clinical narrative.  Where appropriate to the nature of the disability, both summary data and specific test results, including subtest and index scores, should be provided.  Data should be based on age norms and reported as standard scores, and percentiles.  Diagnostic methods that are congruent with the particular disability and current professional practices in the field are recommended.  For example, assessments for learning disabilities should include at least one measure of aptitude and measures of achievement in reading, math, and written language.

4. A description of the current functional limitations

Information on how the disability currently impacts the individual provides useful information for identifying reasonable accommodations.  The documentation should be thorough enough to demonstrate whether and how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency, and pervasiveness of the condition.

The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disability; Learning Disability should be within three years and other disability types should be within the past year.  While relatively recent documentation is recommended in most circumstances, older documentation for conditions that are permanent or non-varying, may be appropriate.  Likewise, changing conditions and/or changes in how the condition impacts the individual brought on by growth and development may warrant more frequent updates in order to provide an accurate picture of the current status of the student, e.g., learning disabilities, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, psychological disorders, and chronic health conditions.

5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability

It is helpful when documentation provides information on expected changes in the functional impact of the disability over time and with context.  Information on the cyclical or, episodic nature of the disability, and known or suspected environmental events that trigger episodes, provides opportunities to anticipate, and plan for varying functional impacts, and the need for reasonable accommodations and/or services.

6. A description of current and past accommodations, services, and/or medications

A description of current and past accommodations, services, and/or medications will assist the Disability Services staff in determining appropriate accommodations and /or services.  A discussion of any significant side effects from current medications that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral, or cognitive performance is also helpful.

Accommodations and/or services provided in another setting are not binding to Bethel College. The college will make the final determination of reasonable accommodations and/or services.

These guidelines are based on the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) best practices for documentation

Students should keep a copy of the documentation for their personal records.  Disability Services destroys documentation and other disability-related information five years after a student leaves the college.

All documentation and the Intake Form should be submitted by the student to Disability Services.

Please note:  the documentation accepted by Bethel College might not be accepted by other institutions, agencies, and/or programs, e.g., testing agencies, licensure exams, and certification programs.  Please check with the specific organizations and or programs to determine their documentation requirements.