Documentation Requirements

DRES provides reasonable accommodations to University of Illinois students with disabilities. These accommodations are determined by student input of his/her history of and experience with disability and accommodations, disability documentation which should corroborate the student’s request for accommodations, DRES staff, and, when warranted, input from faculty. DRES staff welcomes student input and views it as a valuable and vital source of information in determining reasonable accommodations.  Students should be prepared to discuss their disability, how their disability impacts their academics, and accommodations which have been helpful in the past. 

Though disability documentation is one piece of the information we gather to work with students with disabilities in providing reasonable accommodations, it is a required piece.  Disability documentation must adequately verify the nature and extent of the disability in accordance with current professional standards and techniques, and it must clearly substantiate the need for all of the student’s specific accommodation requests.  All documentation must be submitted on the official letterhead of the professional describing the disability.  The report should be dated and signed, and include the name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator, with information about license or certification. Additionally, students requesting accommodations for the manifestations of multiple disabilities must provide evidence of all such conditions.

Documents That DRES Will Not Accept

Please do not submit the following documents as DRES will not accept them:

  1. Handwritten letters from licensed professionals;
  2. Handwritten patient records or notes from patient charts;
  3. Documentation provided by a member of the student’s family;
  4. Diagnoses on prescription pads;
  5. Self-evaluations;
  6. Research articles;
  7. Original evaluation/diagnostic documents—submit copies of the original documents; or
  8. Correspondence from educational institutions or testing agencies not directly addressed to DRES.

If the original documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or reasonable accommodation, the University may, at its discretion, require additional documentation. Any cost incurred in obtaining additional documentation when the original records are inadequate is borne by the student.  If the documentation is complete but the University desires a second professional opinion, the University bears the cost of the second opinion.

Back to top

Mobility, Systemic, or Disease-Related Disabilities

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of mobility, systemic or disease-related disabilities must provide documentation consisting of:

  1. A diagnosis, description, and history of the disabling condition(s);
  2. An assessment of the functionally limiting manifestations of the condition(s) for which accommodations are being requested; and
  3. Suggestions as to how the functionally limiting manifestations of the disabling condition(s) may be accommodated.

Back to top

Speech, Fluency Disabilities

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of speech or fluency-related disabilities must provide documentation consisting of:

  1. A diagnosis, description, and history of the speech or fluency-related condition;
  2. An interpretation of the specific diagnostic data or testing used to evaluate the nature of the condition; and
  3. Suggestions as to how the functionally limiting manifestations of the speech or fluency condition may be accommodated.

Back to top

Deafness or Hearing Loss

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of deafness or hearing loss must provide documentation consisting of:

  1. An audiological evaluation and/or audiogram;
  2. An interpretation of the functional implications of the diagnostic data and hearing aid evaluation, when appropriate; and
  3. Suggestions as to how the functionally limiting manifestations of the disabling condition(s) may be accommodated.

Back to top

Low Vision or Blindness

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of low vision or blindness must provide documentation consisting of:

  1. An ocular assessment or evaluation from an ophthalmologist;
  2. A low-vision evaluation of residual visual function, when appropriate; and
  3. Suggestions as to how the functionally limiting manifestations of the disabling condition(s) may be accommodated.

Back to top

Specific Learning Disability

Students requesting accommodation on the basis of a specific learning disability must provide documentation from a professional who has undergone comprehensive training and has relevant experience in differential diagnosis of a full range of cognitive and psychiatric disabilities (e.g., a licensed clinical psychologist and/or neuropsychologist).

A comprehensive assessment battery (not to be limited to an individualized education plan or 504 plan) and the resulting diagnostic report must contain the following items:

  1. A diagnostic interview—the interview must include a description of the presenting problem(s), developmental, medical, psycho-social, and employment histories, family history, and a discussion of comorbidity where indicated;
  2. An assessment—for the neurological or psychological evaluation to illustrate a substantial limitation to learning, the comprehensive assessment battery must contain the following domains:
    1. Aptitude/cognitive ability—an assessment of global intellectual functioning as measured by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV (WAIS-IV) with all subtests, standard scores, and index scores;
    2. Academic achievement—a comprehensive achievement battery (e.g., Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - III: Tests of Achievement), with subtest and standard scores, indicating current level of functioning in the academic areas of reading, math, oral and written language; and
    3. Information processing—a comprehensive battery (e.g., Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - III: Tests of Cognitive Abilities), with subtest and standard scores, which addresses the specific areas of short and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception, processing speed, executive functioning, and motor ability;
  3. A specific diagnosis which conforms to the criteria for the specific learning disability, as stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5); and
  4. A clinical summary which:
    1. Indicates the substantial limitations to major life activities posed by the specified learning disability;
    2. Describes the extent to which these limitations impact the academic context for which accommodations are being requested;
    3. Suggests how the specific effects of the learning disability may be accommodated; and
    4. States how the effects of the learning disability are mediated by the recommended accommodations.

Testing must be current—within the past three years for a high school student and within the past five years for an adult.

Back to top

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) must provide documentation by a professional who has undergone comprehensive training and has relevant experience in differential diagnosis and the full range of psychiatric disorders (e.g., a licensed clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, psychiatrist, or other relevantly trained specialist). The documentation must include:

  1. Evidence of early impairment—the condition must have been exhibited in childhood in more than one setting;
  2. Evidence of current impairment—a history of the individual's attentional symptoms and evidence of current impulsive/hyperactive or inattentive behaviors that significantly impair functioning in two or more settings must be provided;
  3. A diagnostic interview—the interview must contain self-report and third-party information pertaining to developmental history, family history of ADHD or other learning or psychological difficulties, relevant medical and medication history, a thorough academic history, and a review of prior psychoeducational test reports to determine whether a pattern of strengths or weaknesses is supportive of attention or learning problems;
  4. Evidence of alternative diagnoses or explanations being ruled out—the documentation must investigate and discuss the possibility of dual diagnoses and alternative or coexisting mood, behavioral, neurological and/or personality disorders that may confound the ADHD diagnosis;
  5. Neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessments as needed to determine the current impact of the disorder on the individual's ability to function in an academic setting—such data, if provided, should include subtest and standard scores;
  6. A specific psychological diagnosis as per the DSM-5; and
  7. A clinical summary which:
    1. Indicates the substantial limitations to major life activities posed by the disability;
    2. Describes the extent to which these limitations would impact the academic context for which accommodations are being requested;
    3. Suggests how the specific effects of the disability may be accommodated; and
    4. States how the effects of ADHD are mediated by the recommended accommodations.

Back to top

Traumatic Brain Injury/Acquired Brain Injury

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or acquired brain injury (ABI) must provide documentation by a neuropsychologist. The documentation must include:

  1. A thorough neuropsychological evaluation which includes assessment of the areas of attention, visuoperception/visual reasoning, language, academic skills, memory/learning, executive function, sensory, motor, and emotional status—data should include subtest scores and percentiles;
  2. Evidence of current impairment—a history of the individual's presenting symptoms and evidence of behaviors that significantly impair functioning;
  3. A diagnostic interview—the interview must contain self-report and third-party information pertaining to developmental history, family history, learning or psychological difficulties, relevant medical history, and a thorough academic history;
  4. Evidence of alternative diagnoses or explanations being ruled out—the documentation must investigate and discuss the possibility of dual diagnoses and alternative or coexisting mood, learning, behavioral, and/or personality disorders that may confound the diagnosis;
  5. A specific psychological diagnosis as per the DSM-5; and
  6. A clinical summary which:
    1. Indicates the substantial limitations to major life activities posed by the disability;
    2. Describes the extent to which these limitations would impact the academic context for which accommodations are being requested;
    3. Suggests how the specific effects of the disability may be accommodated; and
    4. States how the effects of the disability are mediated by the recommended accommodations.

Back to top

Psychiatric Disability (Including Autism Spectrum Disorders)

Students requesting accommodations on the basis of a psychiatric disability must provide current documentation from a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or licensed clinical social worker, including:

  1. A specific, current psychiatric diagnosis as per the DSM-5, which indicates the nature, frequency, and severity of the symptoms upon which the diagnosis was predicated; a diagnosis without an explicit listing of current symptoms is not sufficient.
  2. Prescribed medications, dosages and schedules which may influence the types of accommodations provided; and
  3. A clinical summary which:
    1. Indicates the substantial limitations to major life activities posed by the psychiatric disability;
    2. Describes the extent to which these limitations would impact the academic context for which accommodations are being requested;
    3. Suggests how the specific effects of the psychiatric disability may be accommodated; and
    4. States how the effects of the psychiatric disability are mediated by the recommended accommodations.

Back to top