Federal disability statutes, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, require that persons with qualifying disabilities receive equal access to education in curricular and co-curricular activities at Truckee Meadows Community College. Anyone requesting services and accommodations are responsible for providing documentation at their own expense.
The purpose of providing adequate documentation is two-fold:
- To establish that a person has a qualifying disability, and
- To describe and document the functional impact created by the disability and the need for accommodation.
The Documentation Guidelines provide assistance to self-identifying individuals with disabilities who seek accommodations and services to obtain the documentation necessary to register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC).
This allows the DRC to conduct an intake interview to evaluate each person's needs based on the diagnostic information received on a case-by-case basis and develop an individualized accommodation list that addresses the disability(s) in the higher education setting.
The DRC may request additional information from the treating professional when the presenting documentation regarding affected major life activities and the extent to which the impairment(s) affect those activities. This may be appropriate when presenting documentation is deemed inadequate by a professional DRC staff member to justify the approved and/or assigned accommodations. This call for additional information may occur at the time of the intake interview, when new accommodations are requested by the student or if the status of the student's condition may have changed.
It is the student's responsibility to obtain the necessary documentation. If adequate documentation is not received, the college may elect on a case-by-case basic to hire an independent, qualified professional to obtain the requested information to determine disability status and/or appropriate accommodations
General Guidelines for Documentation of a Disability
In order to fully evaluate requests for accommodations or auxiliary aids Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) will need formal documentation of the disability that consists of an evaluation by an appropriate professional and describes the level of limitation and current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodation request(s). All contact information and documentation received is kept in separate confidential files within the DRC. Information concerning details included in the documentation will be not be released without written consent (see "Authorization to Release Information").
Documentation provided will be used by the DRC to evaluate requests for accommodations or auxiliary aids. Detailed documentation is especially valuable in evaluating specialized accommodations or services outside the standard ones assigned by the DRC. The evaluation process includes a review of the documentation itself and in the context of comparing it to the fundamental goals and essential standards of the program, course, service, or benefit in question.
The evaluation process will generate a list of potentially reasonable and approved accommodations that will then be reviewed based on potential effectiveness, preferences of the requester, maximum level of integration, and the potential for an undue financial or administrative burden.
The guidelines below were developed to assist you in working with your treating professional(s) in preparing the information needed to evaluate your request. If, after reading these guidelines, you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
For individuals who have recently been receiving services from a public school system, the information requested would most likely be contained in the Psycho-Educational Evaluation from your most recent Triennial Review (which should be no more that three years old). Some of the supplemental information may also be contained in an IEP, 504 Plan or Transition Plan. You must request this information separately (from your special education department) from your high school transcripts. If you have already exited a Washoe County High School, please visit their website to find out how to obtain your records.
For individuals transferring from another college, information related to your disability will not be sent with a transcript request. You must request that information separately from the disability services office at the school(s) you have previously attended. The information Truckee Meadows Community College is requesting may or may not have been a part of your previous college's evaluation process. You should check the information against the guidelines below.
As appropriate to the disability, documentation should include:
- A diagnostic statement identifying the disability(s), date of the current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis.
- The diagnostic systems used by the Department of Education, The State Department of Rehabilitative Services or other State agencies and/or the current editions of either the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems of the World Health Organization (ICD) are the recommended diagnostic taxonomies.
- A description of the diagnostic criteria and/or diagnostic test(s) used.
- This description should include the specific results of diagnostic procedures, diagnostic tests utilized, and when administered. When available both summary and specific test scores should be reported as standard scores and the norming population identified. When standard scores are not available; the mean, standard deviation, and the standard error of measurement are requested as appropriate to the construction of the test.
- Diagnostic methods used should be congruent with the disability and current professional practices within the field. Informal or non-standardized evaluations should be described in enough detail that a professional colleague could understand their role and significance in the diagnostic process.
- A description of the current functional impact of primary and secondary disability(s).
- The current functional impact on physical, perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral abilities should be described either explicitly or through the provision of specific results from the diagnostic procedures. Major life activities (i.e. reading, learning, thinking, concentration, seeing, walking, hearing) that are impacted by the disability and the level of severity should be listed.
- Currency will be evaluated based on the typical progression of the disability, its interaction with development across the life span, the presence or absence of significant events (since the date of the evaluation) that would impact functioning, and the applicability of the information to the current context of the request for accommodations.
- The DRC reserves the right to request updated documentation on a case-by-case basis, or upon readmission to the institution, in order to assess the extent of the disability as it relates to assigning appropriate accommodations at the higher education level or to determine if a student is "otherwise qualified".
- Treatments, medications, assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use.
- Include a description of treatments, medications, assistive devices, accommodations and/or assistive services in current use and their estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability. Significant side affects that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance should also be noted.
- A description of the expected progression or stability of the impact of the disability(s) over time should be included.
- This description should provide an estimate of the change in the functional limitations of the disability over time and/or recommendations concerning the predictable needs for reevaluation.
- The credentials of the diagnosing professional(s).
- Information describing the certification, licensure, and/or the professional training of individuals conducting the evaluation should be provided. The treating professional should not be a family member of the student requesting services.
- The "Medical/Psychological Disability" form is available to download for your qualifying professional(s) to complete and return to the DRC. Information recorded on a physician's prescription pad is not acceptable documentation of a disability.
Below is a table including examples of qualified professionals by disability categories:
|Learning Disability||Psychologist, Neurophysiologist, School Psychologist|
|AD/HD||Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Physician (appropriately trained)|
|Emotional Disability||Psychologist, Psychiatrist|
|Hearing Disability||Certified Otologist, Audiologist|
|Physical Disability||Physician, Nurse Practitioner|
|Medical Disability||Physician, Nurse Practitioner|
Beyond the six elements expected to be included in documentation; recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services will be considered.
Based on the context of the diagnostic evaluation, recommendations for specific academic accommodations, adaptive devices, and/or assistive services that may ameliorate the functional impact of the disability and provide fuller access in an educational setting should be described. As appropriate, recommendations for collateral medical, psychological, and/or educational support services or training that would be beneficial may also be included.
Recommendations from professionals with a history of working with the individual provide valuable information for the review process. They will be included in the evaluation of requests for accommodation and/or auxiliary aids. Where such recommendations are congruent with the programs, services, and benefits offered by the College they will be given deference. When recommendations go beyond the scope of services and accommodations provided by TMCC under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, they may be used to suggest potential referrals to area service providers beyond TMCC.