Disability Support Resources

Disability Support Resources (DSR) at Grand Valley State University abides by the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Guidelines for Documentation of a Disability and the Educational Testing Services (ETS) Policy Statement for assurance that documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility for reasonable testing accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids. 
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and rights of equal access to programs and services. To establish that an individual is covered under the ADA, the documentation should indicate that the disability substantially limits some major life activity, including learning. Accommodations are individualized and determined on a case- by-case basis for students who are qualified for equal access to programs and courses.
The primary intent of these guidelines is to provide students, professional diagnosticians, and DSR with a common understanding and knowledge base of the necessary components used for documentation and validation in post-secondary education.
I. Qualifications of the Evaluator
Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses, and making recommendations for accommodations must be qualified to do so. The professional must have first-hand knowledge of the condition, experience working with students and employees with disabilities , and a familiarity with the physical, emotional and cognitive demands experienced by students and employees in an academic setting, (for example: clinical or educational psychologists, school psychologist, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, medical doctors with training and experience in assessing learning problems). Professionals should not evaluate members of their families.
All reports should be on letterhead and should be typed, dated, and signed. Name, title, professional credentials (license or certification), agency and state/province in which the individual practices should be clearly stated within the report.
II.   Recommendations for Accommodations
A clear link between the effects of the disability and the accommodation(s) being requested should be established in the document.
Include specific recommendations for accommodations and explanation for each.
If accommodations are not clearly identified in a diagnostic report, the service provider (DSR) should seek clarification and, if necessary, more information.
The final determination for providing appropriate and reasonable accommodations rests with GVSU. The extent to which a disability disables a student from academic activities (compared to the average person) is considered on a case-by-case basis.
An appeal procedure is available if a request for accommodations is denied.
III.   Currency of Documentation
Time Frame - A diagnostic evaluation should have been completed within the past 5 years.
Updates of Documentation - If documentation is over 5 years old, it may be appropriate to have a qualified professional update the evaluation report to determine the student’s current need for accommodations and a rationale for ongoing services and accommodations. DSR reserves the right to require updated documentation if documentation is more than 5 years old.
Not AcceptableIndividualized Educational Programs (IEPs) or 504 plans are insufficient documentation but can be part of a more comprehensive assessment. Documentations prepared for specific non-educational venues (Social Security Administration, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, etc.) may not meet these criteria.
IV.   Specific Documentation Requirements for Learning Disability (LD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADD/ADHD)
Diagnostic Interview
Description of presenting problems
Developmental history
Family history
Medical history
Psychological history
Academic history for elementary, secondary, post secondary education and past psycho-educational testing
Review of prior psycho-education test reports to determine whether a pattern of strengths or weaknesses is supportive of attention or learning problems
Relevant employment history
Description of current functional limitations pertaining to an education set ting
Relevant history of prior therapy
Test Administered:
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale –III
Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery
Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (LD only)
Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA)
Specific Diagnosis. The diagnostician should avoid the use of such terms as “suggests”, “is indicative of”, or “attention problems”.
Based on DSM-IV diagnostic criteria
Interpretation or Clinical Summary:
Rule out alternative explanations
LD ONLY: Indicate how patterns in the student’s cognitive ability, achievement, and information processing reflect the presence of a learning disability.
ADD/ADHD ONLY: Indicate how patterns of inattentiveness, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity across the lifespan and across settings are used to determine the presence of ADD/ADHD.
DSR and GVSU have a responsibility to maintain confidentiality of the evaluation and may not release any part of the documentation without the student’s informed and written consent.

Page last modified March 17, 2014