Documentation Guidelines

General Information on Documentation of a Disability

Documentation to substantiate a disability and support the request for accommodation(s) must be typed on official letterhead of the diagnosing practitioner. The practitioner must be a licensed and/or certified professional who is qualified to diagnose the stated disability. It must be current for the disability. Sufficient and appropriate disability documentation to support the request for accommodation(s) must have the following components:


State the medical or mental health impairment by a recognizable diagnosis; preferably from the ICD or DSM-IV, most recent revisions.

Date first diagnosed:

Establish an initial date when a diagnosis was made or when the certifying practitioner accepted a previous diagnosis and began treatment or services.

Names of relevant tests and results:

Establish how the practitioner arrived at the diagnosis; this is especially important when the disability is a learning disability, ADD / ADHD, psychological disability, or other disability diagnosed from the DSM-IV.

Severity of disability:

Establish the extent to which the disability substantially limits a major life activity.

Method(s) of current treatment:

Include current use of any medications and possible side-effects which may adversely interfere with clear cognitive functioning; include ability or inability to control symptoms.

Functional limitations/substantial limitations:

Explain the functional and substantial limitations from the impairment that may adversely affect the individual as a student in college.


Make recommendations based on the above functional and substantial limitations for post-secondary academic and physical accommodations to ameliorate the limitations. A practitioner's recommendation for a specific accommodation does not guarantee the granting of that accommodation. Accommodations provide access to programs and services and are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Once a student's documentation of disability is received, qualified University personnel, who have the knowledge of the professionally accepted criteria for diagnosing specific disabilities, evaluate the documentation to determine its validity. If a student does not have current documentation, the Disability Resource Center will provide referral information. At the discretion of the appropriate Coordinator or Director of the Disability Resource Center, accommodations may be granted and provided for a limited time span with incomplete, outdated, or limited documentation. This decision is determined on a case-by-case basis.

If you do not already have documentation which covers these points, you can access a printer-friendly version of these guidelines to share with your provider here: Documentation Guidelines for Providers [PDF]

Are financial barriers preventing you from being able to provide the documentation needed by the DRC? Reach out to your Student Success Coordinator to discuss your options regarding costs associated with obtaining the necessary documentation.

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Disability Resource Center

119 Stevenson Hall

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Office Hours

M-F 9:00am to 5:00 pm


tel (502) 852-6938

fax (502) 852-0924

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