Documentation Guidelines

Documentation provides detailed information that assists Access Services in understanding how the student’s current symptoms impact the student in an academic setting. To establish that an individual is eligible for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, documentation must indicate that the symptoms substantially limit a major life activity, including learning. 

For certain diagnosis(s) (ADHD, LD, Autism Spectrum Disorder), generally, a current and complete psychoeducational assessment is the primary tool for determining the degree to which the ADHD/LD/Autism diagnosis impacts educational functioning. Information that includes aptitude/cognitive ability, academic achievement (under timed and untimed conditions), and information processing and memory are important to understanding such impact. Additionally, a well-written interpretive summary based on a comprehensive evaluative process is a necessary component of the report. While checklists and/or surveys can serve to supplement a diagnostic profile, by themselves they generally are not adequate for diagnosis and/or determination of accommodations because they do not address objectively the impact on learning.

General Criteria for documentation prepared by third parties:

  • Credentials of the Evaluator: Documentation must come from a qualified practitioner who is not a family member of the student.  It must be printed on letterhead and include date, name, credentials, licensing, area of specialization, address and contact information and signature
  • History of the disability: Background information, including developmental, medical, psychological and academic history, should be included
  • Clear statement of the diagnosis: Include current DSM-V or ICD-9 diagnosis.  A description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative and specific results of tests/subtests should be included.  Adult norms should be used. (Please note that a diagnosis alone is not sufficient for determining accommodations.)
  • Description of current symptoms and functional limitations: The condition’s functional impact should be discussed, including severity, frequency and pervasiveness. Discuss the ways in which the condition limits a major life activity and may affect the individual’s functioning in a post-secondary institution. Note that relative impairments or weaknesses, while clinically meaningful, may not necessarily require accommodations
  • Description of the expected progression or stability of the disability:  Include information about expected changes in the functional impact of the symptoms over time and context (if applicable). Information on the cyclical or episodic nature of the symptoms and known or suspected environmental triggers is important to include
  • Description of current and past treatments and accommodations: Describe current and past auxiliary aids, assistive devices, support services and accommodations and the ways in which they have (or have not) been effective in ameliorating functional impacts of the symptoms. Please note that accommodations provided in another setting are not binding on the College
  • Recommendations for accommodations: Accommodations are determined based on the current functional limitation(s) that result from the impairment, along with the demands of the task and the setting. They should logically relate to the functional limitations.  Include a clear rationale for each accommodation. Please note that the College is not obligated to adopt recommendations for accommodations made by outside third parties.

Students are encouraged to also submit verification of prior eligibility for accommodations from previous educational institutions and testing agencies if available, such as an IEP or 504 Plan, approval of accommodations from ETS or ACT, and a letter from a previous college when relevant. Although these documents on their own are not typically sufficient to substantiate the current need for accommodations, they may provide useful information about the student’s educational history.  

All documentation should be submitted to the Director of Access Services as early as possible. If inadequate documentation is submitted, accommodations may not be arranged until the necessary information is received. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain any required documentation.


Contact Us

Access Services

Access Services
Eugenia Chase Guild Hall, Room 103
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010
Fax: 610-526-7451

Deb Alder, Director of Access Services
Phone: 610-526-7516
Office Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Thursday

Grace Cipressi, Assistive Technology Specialist
Phone: 610-526-5470
Office Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday