General Guidelines Regarding Documentation of Disabilities
Muhlenberg College students with disabilities are eligible for protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADA AA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended). The ADA Amendments Act 2008 retains the definition of a "disability" as physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.
Students must complete the disability determination process as a prerequisite to any decisions about accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services. Policies regarding disability documentation are consistent with the standards and guidelines of Muhlenberg College Office of Disability Services and the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Best Practices Principles
The diagnostician who evaluates the student, must be a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who: 1.) is qualified/ certified to evaluate and diagnose the disability, 2.) is familiar with the challenges and functional requirements of a college environment, and 3.) is an impartial evaluator or diagnostician who is not a family member nor in a dual relationship with the student.
The documentation submitted for the purpose of seeking a determination of disability at the post-secondary level must be detailed, comprehensive, and include the following components as appropriate to the area of disability being disclosed:
- Narrative report format, on letterhead, signed by evaluator(s), and includes title and credentials
- Evaluations/documentation must be current (please see specific Documentation Guideline sheet for currency standard for that condition--- generally between six months and three years of starting college)
- Description of the diagnostic methodology used, test data results including scores (when applicable), and appropriate analysis and discussion
- Clearly stated diagnosis (DSM V, as appropriate)identifying the condition
- History of disorder including age of onset, past treatment(s)
- A statement of the current, significant impact of the disorder on a major life activity, and the professional’s assessment if the condition rises to the level of a disability
- Description of the level of severity, expected progression or stability of the condition (critical in the determination of chronic or progressive conditions)
- Description of current/ past accommodations, services and/or medications (if prescribed)
- Diagnosticians recommendations for reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services for the post-secondary experience must be clearly linked to the testing and evaluation data
- Each student’s request for a determination of disability and accommodations/services is evaluated and considered individually.
- It is the responsibility of the individual seeking a determination of disability, (and who will be requesting accommodations), to provide appropriate documentation before a determination of disability can be made and accommodations can be discussed and implemented.
- The documentation submitted must provide a nexus between the diagnosed condition and the accommodations and services being requested.
- Prior use of accommodations and services is considered in the process of deliberating accommodations and services at the post-secondary level. It should be noted that some accommodations and services provided in high school may not be determined reasonable in the post secondary environment.
- A diagnostician’s diagnosis of condition that rises to the level of a disability does not automatically imply the need for accommodations.
See requirements for documenting specific disability conditions below:
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Physical, Mobility, and Chronic, Health-Related Disabilities
Psychiatric, Behavioral, Mental Health Disorders
Rehabilitated Drug Addiction/Alcoholism
Temporary Medical Conditions
Traumatic Brain Injury
For further information, contact the Office of Disability Services at 484-664-3825