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Disability Services and Support

Guidelines for Documenting a Disability

Individuals seeking accommodations from the University of Rochester on the basis of disability are required to submit documentation to verify disability and current level of impairment under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008.

The University of Rochester requires current and comprehensive documentation in order to determine reasonable accommodations. The guidelines are designed to be flexible and sufficiently broad to allow for practical application given the different educational environments at the University of Rochester.

The following will be utilized to support accommodation requests at the University of Rochester.

Step 1: Self-report / Intake interview

Individuals should be prepared to discuss the following during an intake interview:

  • Nature and severity of diagnosed disability (including Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder)
  • Impact of the disability in the academic environment
  • Rationale for reasonable accommodation, auxiliary aids and services for individual courses, programs, activities and facilities.
  • Previous use of accommodations and auxiliary aids and services in the academic environment

Step 2: Professionally prepared documentation

Documentation will be reviewed for the following elements:

Qualified Professional:

  • Completed by a *qualified professional who is licensed or otherwise properly credentialed in the domain for which he/she is diagnosing

Diagnostic Statement:

  • A clear diagnostic statement identifying the disability. The date of the most current assessment of the individual for the specified disability and the date of original diagnosis as appropriate

Diagnostic Methodology:

  • Diagnostic methods that are congruent with the particular disability and current professional practices in the field are expected
  • A description of the current diagnostic criteria, and a clinical narrative of process/test used in which to confirm diagnosis
  • Where appropriate relevant summary data and specific test scores (e.g. learning disabilities and cognitive disorders)

Functional Limitations

  • Documentation must demonstrate how a major life activity is currently substantially limited by providing a clear description of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the disability
  • Disabilities that can fluctuate in terms of functional impact will require, at a minimum, yearly updates (e.g. psychiatric disorders, health impairments)

Suggested Reasonable Accommodations

  • Recommendations for accommodations by outside agencies will be considered and may be adopted when they are congruent with the institution in providing equal access to courses, programs, facilities and services and when they are reasonable in nature
  • Documentation of a specific disability does not translate directly into a specific accommodation or set of accommodations. Instead reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis while integrating the individuals experience with the impact of the disability and the essential elements of a program, course or activity.

Documentation should be submitted to the access specialist in the school in which you are enrolled.

*Documentation completed by family members, regardless of qualifications, will not be accepted.

Contact Us

Office of Disability Resources 
Student Disability Services
Amy Wight, Director
Taylor Hall


Lynnett Van Slyke
University Intercessor and Director of Disability Compliance
36 Wallis Hall