Documentation Requirements

In order to determine if students are eligible to receive academic accommodations, students must submit documentation as mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other pertinent state and federal regulations. It is the responsibility of students requesting accommodations to present documentation in a timely manner in order to determine eligibility for the requested accommodations.

Students requesting accommodations must meet with the Enhancement Program staff and present documentation prior to receiving services. If the student’s documentation does not meet the program requirements, the cost of obtaining appropriate documentation is borne by the student. If the documentation is incomplete, not current, or not completed by a qualified professional, the Enhancement Program may exercise the right to require additional information. Again, the cost of obtaining any additional documentation is borne by the student. Pending receipt of appropriate documentation it may be warranted in some circumstances to provide accommodations on a provisional basis. The Enhancement Program has the right to evaluate these situations on a case-by-case basis.

The following requirements will assure that the documentation verifies eligibility and supports requests for reasonable accommodations on the basis of a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The Enhancement Program reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of submitted documentation.

Requirements

Students must submit documentation that is comprehensive, current, and completed by a qualified professional in order to have their accommodation requests considered by the Enhancement Program –Disability Services staff.

What is comprehensive documentation?

The type of documentation that is required depends on the type of disability the student has. Following is a description of the documentation that must be submitted for different types of disabilities.

Learning Disability Documentation Requirements

Comprehensive documentation is comprised of pertinent information from a diagnostic interview, which includes background information about the student’s educational, medical and family histories that relate to the disability; aptitude (such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised or the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test); and achievement testing (especially in the areas of reading, math, and written language, such as Part II of the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery-Revised or the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test); and information processing (such as Part I of the Woodcock-Johnson). Standard and/or percentile scores must be provided. The tests used should be reliable, valid and standardized for use with an adult population.

The test findings should document both the nature and severity of the disability. This includes a narrative summary that provides both qualitative and quantitative information that supports the diagnosis. This summary should explain all test scores and results and other clinical observations, explain the current symptoms and how they meet the specific criteria for the diagnosis, and finally, describe the functional limitations of the disability in an academic environment.

If there are any medications involved, the diagnostic report must indicate and explain the impact the medication may have on the student’s ability to fulfill the requirements of the post-secondary environment.

If the disability is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (American Psychological Association), the specific diagnostic code should be provided. Individual “learning differences” and “learning styles” in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.

Documentation such as an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan is an educational record that, in and of itself, rarely serves as documentation of adult disability. Often an IEP or 504 Plan is created with goals specific to high school courses. Because college presents different demands than high school, the accommodations that students need to meet these new demands may be different. While an IEP or 504 Plan may provide supplemental information, a comprehensive adult assessment will better address the current impact of the student’s disability.

The assessment results should support the student’s request for specific accommodations. The Enhancement Program reserves the right to review the request for specific accommodations on an individual basis. The University makes the final decision about which accommodations the student is eligible to receive. A suggestion for an accommodation by the professional completing the assessment will be considered, but the appropriate accommodation is within the sole discretion of the Enhancement Program staff. The staff may provide an alternate, but equivalent, accommodation in order to provide equal access. The Enhancement Program will make reasonable effort to provide the student’s preferred accommodation. Essential course requirements cannot be compromised in granting accommodations.

Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The Enhancement Program also requires current and appropriate documentation by a licensed clinical psychologist or medical doctor to certify a student as having ADD/ADHD and to determine reasonable accommodations. The documentation should include the assessments described above. In addition, the evaluation should address those standardized test scores related to attention, concentration, organization and impulse control. Again, a full educational and behavioral history, any developmental information, clinical observation and medication trials should be highlighted in the diagnosis.

What is current documentation?

Current documentation is testing that has been conducted within the past three years at the time of enrollment. Outdated information may not address the student’s current level of functioning or need for accommodations because changes may have occurred in the student’s performance since the previous assessment. College presents different demands than high school and the accommodations students need to meet those demands may be different. In such cases, it may be important and appropriate to update the evaluation report. Since the purpose of the update is to determine the student’s current need for accommodations, the update conducted by a qualified professional should include a rationale for ongoing services and accommodations. Current documentation also includes an assessment report with clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder.

Who is a qualified professional?

The professional must be qualified to recommend reasonable accommodations as they support the functional limitations of the student’s disability which manifests itself in the academic environment. Students may not submit documentation from a professional who is a relative. The documentation also must include the names, titles and professional credentials of the evaluator(s) as well as the date(s) of testing.

The following professionals would generally be considered qualified to diagnose specific disabilities and recommend appropriate academic accommodations, provided they have training and experience in the assessment of adults.

  • Learning disabilities: clinical/educational psychologists, school psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disability specialists
  • ADD/ADHD: neuropsychologist, licensed psychologist or physician
  • Psychiatric disabilities: psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, licensed social worker or neuropsychologist
  • Head injury or traumatic brain injury: physician, neuropsychologist, licensed psychologist
  • Blindness or low vision: ophthalmologist or retinologist (primary diagnosing professionals) and optometrists (additional information about visual functioning)
  • Deafness or hearing impaired: physician or audiologist
  • Physical disability and systemic illnesses: physicians whose medical specialties relate to a particular disability

Privacy and Release of Information Policy

The Enhancement Program - Disability Services at the University of St. Thomas is committed to ensuring that all documentation and communication regarding students and their disabilities be maintained in a confidential manner. Documentation of a student’s disability is considered to be private information, only to be used for the purpose of establishing protection under the law and to determine appropriate accommodations for equal access to university courses, services, programs, employment and facilities. However, there are some instances in which information about a student’s disability will be shared with appropriate faculty and staff on campus.

The Enhancement Program - Disability Services will release information about a student’s disability when authorized by the student or required by law, and may release information when permitted by law. Under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the Enhancement Program - Disability Services is permitted to release information without the student’s permission, to university faculty and staff that have a legitimate educational need to know. The Enhancement Program -Disability Services will share information necessary to assure effective implementation of approved accommodations with faculty. Students will be requested to sign an authorization to release/obtain information form to release information to individuals off campus, including parents or guardians.

Documentation submitted by students is filed in the Enhancement Program – Disability Services office. To protect confidentiality, all disability-related documentation must be filed only with our office. Students should not send their documentation to any other office for consideration of accommodations. The student’s disability status is not noted on his or her transcript or diploma. Files in the Enhancement Program office are maintained for five years after a student is no longer registered for classes. After this period the file is destroyed.

The Enhancement Program will not forward documentation that originated with another institution or professional. If students want their documentation to be sent to another professional or institution, they must contact the originator of the documentation.

It is the policy of the Enhancement Program - Disability Services not to receive disability documentation by facsimile or electronic mail because we cannot guarantee confidentiality of the information. Please provide your documentation in person or by U.S. Postal Service.

Students may request to review the content of their files when staff from the Enhancement Program is present. All information in the file is the property of the Enhancement Program.

NOTE: This policy does not replace the student’s responsibility to notify professors that he or she is registered with the Enhancement Program and needs accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate an appointment with the Enhancement Program - Disability Services in order to make an accommodation plan. If the student is approved for accommodations, the student must notify his or her professors that he or she is registered with the Enhancement Program and needs accommodations. The student does not have to disclose what his or her specific disability is, only that he or she is registered with the Enhancement Program. The Enhancement Program does not automatically notify professors that students have a disability just because the student has submitted documentation to the Enhancement Program.

Program Procedures

Accommodation Requests

In order to request accommodations, the student is required to meet with Enhancement Program staff after they have self-identified as having a disability, and it has been determined that they meet eligibility criteria. The student should discuss his or her specific needs for accommodations with the Enhancement Program in a timely manner. Students who make requests for accommodations that take extensive amounts of time to prepare are urged to do so immediately following the assigned registration date during the early registration period for the upcoming semester. Late requests may result in the delay or denial of accommodations. The staff will make reasonable effort to accommodate late requests.

Enhancement Program staff will provide the student with an Accommodations Request Form (ARF), which verifies his or her need for accommodations and outlines the specific accommodations to be provided, based on his or her documentation. The student will then present this form to the professors of the classes for which the student is requesting accommodations. No accommodations will be provided until the student’s ARFs are completed and on file with the Enhancement Program.

Notifying Professors

It is students’ responsibility to disclose their membership in the Enhancement Program to their professors if they wish to request accommodations for their courses. Accommodations cannot be provided unless students discloses to both their professors and the Enhancement Program staff. Students do not have to disclose their specific disability to their professors. However, if the Enhancement Program determines that the students’ professors have an educational need to know information about their disability, they may discuss this with them without students’ specific written permission. (see Privacy and Release of Information Policy above). It is in students’ best interest to disclose to their professors and Enhancement Program staff before the beginning of the semester so that accommodations can be provided in a timely manner. The Enhancement Program can assist students with ideas on approaching professors. The Enhancement Program does not automatically notify professors that students have a disability just because they have submitted documentation to the Enhancement Program.

Alternate Format Texts

Alternate format texts are texts that are provided on audiotape, in Braille, or provided electronically. Alternate format texts are available from several sources. The first source of alternate format texts is Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB & D). Texts from RFB & D are recorded on four-track tapes or specially formatted compact discs and therefore cannot be played on standard cassette or cd players. The student is required to provide his or her own equipment to listen to alternate format texts. The Communications Center, a branch of State Services for the Blind, is the second source of texts in an alternate format. Textbooks from these sources may arrive in installments throughout the semester. The Enhancement Program makes reasonable effort to scan textbooks using adaptive software when texts are not available from other sources.

Preparing texts in an alternate format takes an extensive amount of time. It is strongly recommended that the student requests texts in an alternate format immediately following his or her assigned registration date during the early registration period for the upcoming semester so that the texts can be provided in a timely manner. It can take two to three months to prepare texts in an alternate format. Texts from RFB & D and the Communications Center are on loan and must be returned. All tapes must be returned to the Enhancement Program at the end of the semester. There is a fine for texts that are not returned by the end of the semester.

  1. Consult with Enhancement Program staff about whether texts in an alternate format are an appropriate accommodation. Consider carefully before ordering texts in an alternate format since they take time to prepare. If students do not request texts in a timely manner, they may not receive their texts in time for classes to begin.
  2. Students are responsible for following up with the Enhancement Program to see if their alternate format texts have arrived or if scanning has been completed. The Enhancement Program will make reasonable effort to notify students of the availability of their alternate format texts, but it is ultimately students' responsibility to follow up. Students should immediately pick up their texts in the Enhancement Program office. Students should verify that the texts are the correct editions and are in good working order. If students discover any problems, they should notify the Enhancement Program.

Notetakers

Notetakers are an accommodation available to students if their disability impacts their ability to take effective notes during class. A classmate’s lecture notes are made available to supplement the student’s own notes. They are not a substitution for going to class.

  1. Consult with Enhancement Program staff to determine if notetakers are an appropriate accommodation.
  2. Request a notetaker (s) from the Enhancement Program in a timely manner. Requests received prior to or within the first two weeks of the semester will result in receiving accommodations in a timely manner. The Enhancement Program will then contact students registered in the class to see if they would like to be a notetaker. The student’s name will not be provided to the notetaker (unless approved by the student); the Enhancement Program will state only that a notetaker is needed for someone in the class. If the student prefers to choose the notetaker, they must contact the Enhancement Program and direct the notetaker to our office to complete the paperwork so they can be compensated.
  3. If the student wishes to keep his or her identity confidential, he or she may pick up notes in the Enhancement Program office. He or she may also arrange to get the notes directly from the notetaker after class.
  4. Notetakers are provided as a reasonable and appropriate academic accommodation. It is students’ responsibility to pick up their notes regularly. If they do not pick up their notes in a timely manner, the Enhancement Program may determine that it is no longer a necessary accommodation for that semester, and the notetaker may be discontinued. To discuss the possibility of reinstating the service, students should contact the Enhancement Program.

Exam Accommodations

A number of exam accommodations are available through the Enhancement Program. The most common accommodations are time extensions, use of a computer for essay exams, readers, scribes, alternate format, and a distraction-reduced room. Students must discuss with the Enhancement Program whether exam accommodations are appropriate for them.

  1. Make an appointment with Enhancement Program staff to get a signed Accommodations Request Form (ARF). Enhancement Program staff will indicate which accommodations the student is eligible to receive including exam accommodations if appropriate. Students are responsible for giving the ARF their professor prior to the exam. Students are strongly encouraged to give the ARF to their professor at the class period following their meeting with the Enhancement Program.
  2. Complete a Testing Accommodations Request form and deliver it to the professor at least one week (seven days) before the exam date. Schedule an appointment with the Enhancement Program to take the exam with extended time. The professor will provide the exam to the Enhancement Program office at least one day before the scheduled exam. A Testing Accommodations Request Form must be completed each time the student takes an exam.

The student must complete the test on the same day that the class takes the exam, and begin at the same time the class begins, unless otherwise approved by the professor. The student must complete the test in one block of time. Arriving late for the schedule exam time will result in less time to complete the exam.

If students fail to show up at the scheduled time, their exam may be returned to their professor. It is the student’s responsibility to speak with his or her professor to make new arrangements to take the exam. If the professor approves a make-up exam, the student may schedule to take it in the Enhancement Program office.

Sign Language Interpreters

Sign language interpreters are provided to students who are deaf or hearing impaired. Arrangements made with the Enhancement Program at the time of course registration for the upcoming semester will result in receiving accommodations in a timely manner. If the student cannot attend a class or other scheduled appointment that requires an interpreter, he or she must notify the Enhancement Program in advance according to the cancellation policy established by the interpreter or interpreter referral agency. If the student fails to abide by this policy, he or she may be denied the services of an interpreter for the remainder of that semester. To discuss the possibility of reinstating the service, the student should contact the Enhancement Program.

Computer Aided Realtime Translation (CART)

Computer Aided Realtime Translation is provided to students who are deaf or hearing impaired with appropriate documentation. Computer Aided Realtime Translation is the instant translation of the spoken word into English text performed by a CART reporter using a stenograph machine, notebook computer, and realtime software. The text is displayed on the computer monitor or other display device for the student who is deaf or hearing impaired to read.

Requests for CART services made at the time of course registration for the upcoming semester will result in receiving accommodations in a timely manner. CART must be scheduled well in advance. If the student cannot attend a class or other scheduled appointment that requires CART services, he or she must notify the Enhancement Program in advance according to the cancellation policy established by the CART reporter agency. If an absence is beyond the student’s control, the student must explain the circumstances of the absence to the Enhancement Program. The Enhancement Program may excuse absences. If the student fails to abide by this policy, he or she may be denied the services of the CART reporter for the remainder of that semester. To discuss the possibility of reinstating the service, the student should contact the Enhancement Program.

Captioned or Transcribed Classroom Videos

Captioned or transcribed classroom videos are provided to students who are deaf or hearing impaired with appropriate documentation. Students who notify the Enhancement Program of their request during course registration for the upcoming semester will receive their accommodation in a timely manner.

The Enhancement Program will make reasonable effort to notify students when a transcript is available, but it is ultimately students’ responsibility to follow up. Captioned videos will be provided directly to the professor.

Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive listening devices, such as personal FM systems, are available for students who are hearing impaired.

Priority Registration

Priority registration is offered to students whose disability warrants this accommodation. This accommodation will be determined on a case by case basis by the Enhancement Program.

Residence Hall Accommodations

Students with disabilities who wish to discuss their needs for living on campus should contact the Enhancement Program and Residence Life in a timely manner. A number of handicapped accessible and single rooms are available. Decisions regarding residence hall accommodations will be made on a case by case basis. Students with disabilities will be held to the same housing application deadline as all non disabled students. The Enhancement Program staff will make reasonable effort to work with Residence Life when residence hall accommodations are received after the housing application deadline has passed. Single rooms are not provided in order to secure a quiet study area as the campus libraries are available for this purpose.

Study Abroad

Students with disabilities who want to study abroad and would like to discuss their accommodation needs should contact the Enhancement Program and the International Education Center in a timely manner. Accommodations for study abroad must be requested well in advance of the student’s departure.

Foreign Language and Math Substitution Policy

Given the many diverse ways in which a learning disability may manifest itself, the university recognizes that the nature and severity of the specific documented learning disability may preclude learning in foreign language and math, even with reasonable accommodations. Consequently, students with learning disabilities and appropriate documentation may petition the university Committee on Studies for course substitutions in foreign language and math. Students petitioning the Committee for a foreign language substitution must have a learning disability in an area that directly impacts the learning of a foreign language (information processing, reading, written language). Students petitioning the Committee for a math substitution must have a specific learning disability in math.

Because the foreign language and math requirements are essential requirements of the liberal arts education, each case must be carefully considered on an individual basis. Please note that foreign language and math substitutions are not an accommodation the university is required to provide. If the Committee approves a course substitution, alternative courses may be selected from an established list approved by the Committee. The Enhancement Program is available to assist students in petitioning for a course substitution and determining alternate course selections.

Foreign Language Course Substitution Procedure

Students must complete the 111, 112, and 211 sequence in a particular language (12 credits). Please refer to the university catalog for further explanation regarding this core curriculum requirement. The following information must be provided if a student with a documented learning disability is seeking a foreign language course substitution:

  1. The student must provide the Enhancement Program staff with current, relevant, and comprehensive documentation (please refer to the university catalog for further explanation regarding this general education requirement).
    1. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Revised (WAIS-R) and individually administered achievement battery, including reading comprehension, mathematics and written language (e.g. Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Test Battery).
    2. Dates and observations regarding the student’s phonological, syntactical and semantic abilities.
    3. Complete basic language testing results from the Modern Language Aptitude Test.
    4. Documented patterns of processing or difficulties in such areas as attention, distractibility, impulsivity, auditory processing and short- or long-term memory.
    5. History of significant difficulties when trying to learn a foreign language, especially in high school or college. The documentation must substantiate both the specific learning disability and its specific impact upon the student’s ability in the area of foreign language.
  2. A complete case history is required to document the student’s history of problems in foreign language learning from high school until the date of petition. This case history should include:
    1. A personal statement by the student indicating the reasons for the request, including prior experiences with the subject manner.
    2. A statement from the Enhancement Program staff outlining the student’s challenges with foreign language.
    3. If possible, a letter from high school personnel and/or college faculty attesting to the student’s efforts and diligence in attempting to master the subject matter.

Math Course Substitution Policy

Students are required to take a core-area course in mathematics. Please refer to the university catalog for further explanation regarding this core curriculum requirement. The following information must be provided if a student with a documented learning disability is seeking a math course substitution:

  1. The student must provide the Enhancement Program staff with current, relevant, and comprehensive documentation from a certified professional. Documentation for a math course substitution includes the following:
    1. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Revised (WAIS-R) and individually administered achievement battery, including reading comprehension, mathematics and written language (e.g. Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Test Battery).
    2. Documented patterns of processing or difficulties in such areas as attention, distractibility, impulsivity, auditory processing and short- or long-term memory.
    3. History of significant difficulties when trying to learn math, especially in high school or college. The documentation must substantiate both the specific learning disability and its specific impact upon the student’s ability in the area of math.
  2. A complete case history is required to document the student’s history of problems in learning math from high school until the date of petition. This case history should include:
    1. A personal statement by the student indicating the reasons for the request, including prior experiences with the subject manner.
    2. A statement from the Enhancement Program staff outlining the student’s challenges with foreign language.
    3. If possible, a letter from high school personnel and/or college faculty attesting to the student’s efforts and diligence in attempting to master the subject matter.

Upon completion of these steps, the documentation and supporting evidence will be submitted and reviewed by the Committee on Studies. The Committee on Studies will inform the student of their final decision. Any student who receives a course substitution is expected to fulfill the university’s foreign language and/or math requirement according to the guidelines for selecting alternative courses.

T Room (Testing, Tutoring, and Technology Use)

The Enhancement Program T Room is a center for Enhancement Program students only. It is equipped with computers and is available for students to use as an alternative testing location, a place to hold tutoring sessions and as an alternate study area. Please contact the Enhancement Program about the use of this room.

Tutors

The Enhancement Program offers tutors for a few select courses on a case by case basis. Please note that tutors are not an academic accommodation that the university is required to provide. The program does not provide tutors for every course and does not provide personal tutors. Students who request tutors will first be referred to the academic departmental tutors. Students are responsible for making arrangements to meet the tutor and are expected to arrive on time for all meetings. The number of hours that the tutor is available will be determined by the Enhancement Program.