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Services for Students With Disabilities | Specific Disabilities Documentation

Specific Disabilities Documentation Policy

Aids Policy - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Southern University at New Orleans does not discriminate against individuals who are diagnosed with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The University recognizes that the health conditions of individuals are personal and confidential. Persons with HIV infection and AIDS are considered to have a disability. There will be no discrimination on the basis of HIV infection and AIDS against students in admission, access to classes, or access to all University facilities, programs, and organizations. The documentation must address a student’s current level of functioning and need for accommodations.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

The document should provide information supporting a diagnosis consistent with the DSM-IV, in documenting ADHD in adults. Information regarding onset, longevity, severity, and current functional impact of symptoms should be included.  Recommended practitioners experienced in assessing the needs of adult learners should include neurologists, psychiatrists, family physicians licensed clinical or educational psychologists.

Deafness, Hard of Hearing

An audiogram is required. The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student, and the student’s request for accommodations. If relevant, a statement regarding the use of hearing aids should be included.

Head Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury

The document must verify the condition and describe its current functional impact. The documentation should provide information regarding onset, longevity, severity and current impact of symptoms. Individualized assessments of current cognitive processing and educational achievement are necessary. Recommended professional evaluators should include neurologists, neuropsychologists and psychiatrists, licensed clinical, rehabilitation, and school psychologists.

Learning Disability

Documentation must address the student’s current level of functioning and need for accommodations. Professionals conducting assessments, diagnosing learning disabilities, and making recommendations for accommodations relevant to student’s learning environment must have additional training and experience in the assessment of learning disabilities. The diagnosis and recommendations should be based on a comprehensive assessment battery. The documentation should include a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, information processing and a diagnosis which should be every five years. The update should be provided by a qualified professional and should include a rationale of ongoing services and accommodations. Recommended professionals should include clinical or educational psychologists, specialists, and medical doctors. Per Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) Guidelines for the Documentation of a Learning Disability in Adolescents and Adults, all information should be on letterhead, typed, dated, signed and legible.

Physical, Medical, and Mobility Impairment

Documentation for physical disabilities (Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Spinal cord Injuries, Cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, Lupus, Spina Bifida, and Mobility Impairment, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Respiratory Problems included) must be provided by a physician, medical specialists, with experience and expertise in the area for which accommodations are being requested. Documentation should be current and include a summary of assessment procedures used to make the diagnosis and contain a clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the physical disability or systemic illness, as well as a description of present symptoms that meet the criteria for the diagnosis.

Documentation should include a statement of the functional limitations and the degree to which those limitations impact the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested. Medical information relating to the student’s needs, including the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment should be included in the document. The name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator should be clearly stated in the documentation.     

Psychological and Psychiatric Disorders

The documentation should provide the diagnosis/diagnoses including ICD or DSM IV-R code and/or Multi-axial DSM IV diagnosis (Axis I, Axis II, Axis V). It should include the date of diagnosis and the date of the last contract with the individual. Description of symptoms which meet the criteria for the diagnosis/diagnoses is the approximate date of onset and the prognosis for therapeutic interventions. The document should address whether the individual currently poses a threat to himself/herself or others. The document should describe what major life activity /activities is/are impacted by the disorder and the significance of this impact on academic activities such as exam-taking, note-taking, processing speed and the ability to concentrate. Recommended professionals qualified to render clinical diagnoses for this area are practitioners trained in the assessment of mental health illness as licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, certified social workers, and licensed professional counselors.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease that reduces blood flow to vital organs and oxygen supply to blood cells.  This makes adequate classroom ventilation an important concern. The disease is characterized by certain crisis periods and would result in class absences. The documentation should verify the diagnosis and the student’s current functioning level and accommodations needed. 

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a condition of physiological and/or psychological dependence on any of a variety of chemicals, such as illegal drugs, some prescription drugs, and alcohol.

Individuals who are recovering from drug and alcohol abuse or who are in treatment programs to assist in their recovery are covered by the federal anti-discrimination legislation and eligible for college services for students with disabilities.

The documentation should include a statement of functional limitations and medical information relating to student’s needs.

Vision Impairment and Blindness

Ophthalmologists are the primary professionals diagnosing and providing medical treatment for persons low vision disabilities or blindness. Optometrists provide information regarding the measurement of vision acuity, visual tracking and fusion difficulties, such as eye movement disorder, lazy eye and related vision disorders. Documentation should address a clear statement of vision-related disability with supporting numerical description. Documentation about present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis and a summary of assessment procedures should address the status  

of the student’s vision, (static or changing) and its impact on the academic setting. The use of corrective lenses and on-going visual therapy should be addressed, if appropriate. 

Temporary Disabilities

Any injury or illness that is medically documented, that will require a student to miss classes for a short period of time is allowed disability accommodations. Examples of temporary disabilities are pregnancy, sprained or broken ankle or hand, or any medical emergency.

Pregnancy Disabilities

Pregnancy falls under the guidelines of a Title IX because it prohibits discrimination against a student based upon pregnancy, false pregnancy, childbirth, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions. A school must excuse a student’s absences because of pregnancy or childbirth for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences are medically necessary. When a student returns to school, she must be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before her medical leave began.  Any special services provided to students with temporary medical conditions must also be provided to a pregnant student.