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Purposes and Guidelines of Disability Documentation

Purposes and Guidelines of Disability Documentation


Documentation has two main purposes: to establish that an individual has a disability and to describe and document the functional impact of the disability for use in establishing the need for, and design of, accommodations.


Disability documentation is necessary to evaluate requests for reasonable accommodations and/or auxiliary aids. The evaluation process includes the impact of the documentation on the goals and standards of the program, course, and/or activity.

As appropriate to the disability, the documentation should include the following six elements:

  1. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability, date of the current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis
  2. A description of the diagnostic criteria and/or diagnostic test used
  3. A description of the current functional impact of the disability, including specific test results and the examiner’s narrative interpretation
  4. Treatments, medications, and/or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use
  5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the impact of the disability over time, particularly the next few years
  6. The credentials of the diagnosing professional(s), if not clear from the letterhead or other documentation.

Beyond these six elements, professionals may consider including recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services.

The information above was adapted from Longwood College, Documentation Guidelines