Student Services Manual (SSM)

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Effective: 8/15/1973

Revised: 11/1/2006

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SSM 701–02: Eligibility for Accommodations—Required Disability Documentation

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Purpose

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To specify disability documentation requirements that will qualify ASU students for reasonable and appropriate accommodations through the Disability Resource Center

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Sources

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The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 United States Code §§ 701–796
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 United States Code § 12101 et seq.
Disability Resource Center

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Policy

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Students who believe they have a current and essential need for disability accommodations are responsible for requesting accommodations and providing qualifying documentation to the Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.


General Eligibility Requirements

DRC applicants must be admitted or enrolled ASU students, and they must provide the DRC with qualifying disability documentation verifying the nature and extent of the disability prior to receiving any accommodations. DRC disability access consultants and disability specialists are responsible for evaluating disability documentation and determining accommodation eligibility.

All documentation must be provided to the DRC on professional letterhead and contain the dates of assessment, signatures, titles, and license/certification numbers of the diagnosing professionals. Diagnoses of disabilities that do not contain the required information may not be used for determining eligibility for academic accommodations. The DRC reserves the right to request reassessment when questions arise regarding previous assessment or previous service provision.


Specific Eligibility Requirements

Physical Disabilities—Required Documentation

The DRC will accept current diagnoses of physical disabilities that are based on appropriate diagnostic evaluations administered by trained and qualified (i.e., certified and/or licensed) professionals (e.g., medical doctors, ophthalmologists, psychologists, neuropsychologists, audiologists). Disability diagnosis categories include:

  1. orthopedic disability
  2. blind or visual impairment
  3. deaf or hard-of-hearing
  4. acquired brain injury

    and

  5. other health-related/systemic disabilities.

The diagnostic report must include:

  1. clear disability diagnosis, including a clinical history that establishes the age of the student at the initial date of diagnosis, last contact with the student, and any secondary conditions that might be present
  2. procedures used to diagnose the disability
  3. description of any medical and/or behavioral symptoms associated with the disability
  4. discussion of medications, dosage, frequency, and any adverse side effects attributable to their use
  5. clear statement specifying functional manifestations (i.e., substantial limitations to one or more major life activities and degree of severity) due to the disability and/or medications for which the student may require accommodations

    and

  6. recommendations for accommodations, including rationale. If the accommodation recommendations are specific to limitations in learning (e.g., reading, mathematics, written expression), an appropriate psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation must be administered to document ability/achievement discrepancies.

Specific Learning Disabilities—Required Documentation

The DRC will accept diagnoses of specific learning disabilities that are based on comprehensive, age-appropriate psychoeducational evaluations that are no more than three years old. The assessment must be administered by a trained and qualified (i.e., certified and/or licensed) professional (e.g., psychologist, school psychologist, neuropsychologist, educational diagnostician) who has had direct experience with adolescents and adults with learning disabilities.

An appropriate psychoeducational evaluation must include comprehensive measures in each of the following areas:

  1. aptitude (the evaluation must contain a complete intellectual assessment, with all subtests and standard scores reported)
  2. academic achievement (the evaluation must contain a comprehensive achievement battery with all subtests and standard scores reported). The test battery should include current levels of functioning in the relevant areas, such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written expression

    and

  3. information processing (the evaluation should assess specific information processing areas such as short- and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed, executive function, and motor ability).
Examples of Measures
Aptitude
  1. Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–III
  2. Stanford-Binet, Fourth Edition
  3. Woodcock-Johnson–III—Tests of Cognitive Abilities
  4. Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test.
Achievement
  1. Wechsler Individual Achievement Test–II (WIAT–II)
  2. Woodcock-Johnson–III—Tests of Achievement
  3. Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK)
  4. Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA).
Note: Screening tools such as the Wide Range Achievement Test–III (WRAT–III) are not considered comprehensive measures of achievement and must be accompanied by a comprehensive measure such as one of those listed above. All instruments selected to measure these areas must be age appropriate.
Information Processing
  1. Subtests of the WAIS–III
  2. Subtests on the Woodcock-Johnson–III—Tests of Cognitive Abilities
  3. Wechsler Memory Scale–III (WMS–III)

Diagnostic Report

The diagnostic report must include the following information:

  1. diagnostic interview that addresses relevant historical information including age at initial diagnosis, past and current academic achievement, instructional foundation in area of diagnosis, past performance in areas of difficulty, and history and effectiveness of accommodations used in past educational settings
  2. list of all instruments used in the test battery
  3. discussion of test behavior and specific test results
  4. DSM-IV diagnosis (include all five axes)

    and

  5. diagnostic summary statement with the following information:
    1. clear statement that a learning disability does or does not exist, including a rule-out of alternative explanations for the learning problems. Terms such as “appears,” “suggests,” or “probable” in the diagnostic summary statement do not support a conclusive diagnosis
    2. clear statement specifying the substantial limitations to one or more major life activities
    3. psychometric summary of scores

      and

    4. recommendations for accommodations, including rationale.

Diagnoses of specific learning disabilities that do not contain psychoeducational measures may not be used for determining eligibility for academic accommodations. For example, school plans such as Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Plans are not adequate documentation; however, they can be included with the required evaluation report. The DRC reserves the right to request reassessment when questions regarding previous assessment or previous service provision arise.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)—Required Documentation

The DRC will accept current (no more than three years old) diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that are based on age-appropriate (upon entrance to ASU) diagnostic evaluations administered by trained and qualified (i.e., certified or licensed) professionals (e.g., psychiatrists, psychologists, or neuropsychologists).

Note: Reports that are not accompanied by a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation will need to be updated annually.

The diagnostic report must include:

  1. diagnostic interview addressing relevant historical information including: age at initial diagnosis; past and current academic achievement; evidence of behaviors that significantly impair functioning in two or more settings; discussion of medication; history and effectiveness of accommodations in past education settings; and, if no history of accommodations exists, rationale as to why they are essential at this time
  2. procedures used to diagnose the disability (include a list of all instruments used in the assessment)
  3. discussion of the testing results and behavior, including the symptoms that meet the criteria diagnosis. If the student was evaluated while on medication, please indicate the effect this may have had on performance
  4. DSM-IV diagnosis (include all five axes)

    and

  5. diagnostic summary statement that includes the following information:
    1. clear statement that ADHD does or does not exist, including a rule-out of alternative explanations for behaviors. Terms such as “appears,” “suggests,” or “has problems with” in the diagnostic summary statement do not support a conclusive diagnosis
    2. clear statement specifying the substantial limitations to one or more major life activities and the degree of severity. If the limitations are in learning (e.g., reading, mathematics, and written expression), an appropriate psychoeducational evaluation must be administered to document ability/achievement discrepancies
    3. recommendation regarding medications

      and

    4. recommendations for accommodations, including rationale.

Psychiatric Disabilities—Required Documentation

The DRC will accept current (no more than one year old) diagnoses of psychiatric disabilities that are based on comprehensive and appropriate diagnostic evaluations completed by trained and qualified (i.e., licensed or certified) professionals (e.g., psychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, school psychologists, certified professional counselors, or licensed social workers).

The diagnostic report must include the following:

  1. clinical interview, relevant historical information, age at initial diagnosis, duration and severity of the disorder, discussion of medications, review of past and current academic achievement, and history of disability accommodations and their effectiveness
  2. procedures used to diagnose the disability (include a list of all instruments used in the assessment and test scores as applicable)
  3. discussion of the assessment results
  4. DSM-IV diagnosis (include all five axes)

    and

  5. diagnostic summary statement that includes the following:
    1. clear statement that a disability does or does not exist. Terms such as “appears,” “probable,” and “suggests” in the diagnostic summary statement do not support a conclusive diagnosis
    2. clear statement specifying the substantial limitations to one or more major life activities. If the limitations are in learning (e.g., reading, mathematics, and written expression), an appropriate psychoeducational evaluation must be administered to document ability/achievement discrepancies.
    3. discussion of medications and their impact on academic functioning (e.g., concentration, attention, sedation)
    4. recommendations for essential accommodations relative to the diagnosed disability, including rationale

      and

    5. duration for which these accommodations should be provided based on the current assessment.
Note: Due to the changing nature of psychiatric disabilities, an updated narrative specifying diagnosis, medication, and current functional limitations is required annually.

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Confidentiality

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The DRC will maintain the confidentiality of these diagnostic reports to the extent permitted by law and will not release any documentation without a student’s informed written consent, except as required by law or as deemed necessary to prevent harm to the student or others.

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Definitions

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Major life activity
Walking, sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for one’s self, and similar activities.
Reasonable and appropriate accommodation
Change or modification that enables a student with a disability to enjoy equal opportunity and/or access to university facilities, programs, and activities, provided fundamental alteration would not result from the modification.

Reasonable accommodation is required for students with known disabilities. ASU is not required to provide “best” or “most desired” accommodations but rather a reasonable accommodation sufficient to meet accessibility needs. Unit heads or higher-level administrative staff must prepare a written explanation and consult with the ADA coordinator before denying a student’s request for accommodation.

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Cross-Reference

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For more information about eligibility for services and accommodations of the Disability Resource Center and the procedure for accessing them, see SSM 701–01, “Disability Resource Center—General Policy.”


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