Rock Valley College

Chapter 4: Providing Documentation

Each college or university has its own requirements for documentation necessary to prove the existence of a disability and the need for an accommodation. Institutions are only required to accommodate a student’s disability or disabilities if the relevant school personnel are aware that the student has a disability or disabilities. If you seek a reasonable accommodation, and the school requests proof of your disability, you must provide that proof. The most effective way to show that you are entitled to reasonable accommodations is to get documentation from a medical (or otherwise appropriately qualified) professional who is familiar with your disability.

Documentation of your disability must be current, meaning it must reflect your abilities and limitations at the time you request the accommodation. Therefore, seek documentation from the medical professional(s) who has most recently treated you for your disability.

Documentation varies for many reasons, but typically contains information such as:

  1. The student’s diagnosis,
  2. Who made the diagnosis, along with when and where,
  3. How the diagnosis was made, and
  4. Any historical information about how the diagnosis or disability has limited the student in daily life activities, including learning and processing information. In some situations, additional information may be requested.

Any documentation provided by a student seeking resources will be maintained in a confidential manner. Documentation received by DSS does not become part of the student’s permanent record at RVC. The following provides more detail of what additional documentation may be needed, depending on the specific nature of the disability.

Learning Disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Intellectual Disability

As some learning disabilities, such as Dyslexia, often do not change substantially over time, recent documentation is not necessary. However, documentation still needs to be current so that it reflects your current abilities and limitations. It is most helpful when documentation includes the names of tests administered and accompanying scores, recommendations (based on the diagnostic evaluation results) for specific learning strategies and academic support services, and any prescribed medications or other suggested resources.

Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

Documentation should verify the degree of hearing sensitivity. Word/speech discrimination levels are also helpful. Typical information included in an audiogram is generally appropriate.

Mental Health Diagnoses

As the impact of mental health diagnoses may change over time, current documentation is preferred. It is most helpful when documentation includes the impact of the diagnosis and the impact of any prescribed psychotropic medications on academic performance, recommendations for specific learning strategies and academic support services, and other suggested resources.

Visual Impairment, Physical Disability, and Other Health Conditions

It is helpful when documentation includes a physician’s report on the etiology, evaluation, and prognosis of the disability or condition. Students with disabilities of a fluctuating nature may benefit from having updated documentation annually, as additional resources may become available or be identified.

Undocumented Disabilities

Students who do not have a disability, or who do not have documentation, are still encouraged to consult with a DSS staff member. Information and guidance can be provided on accessing potential resources, obtaining documentation, and/or receiving provisional accommodations.