Documentation of a Physical and Non-physical Disability
Requiring Reasonable Accommodations
The University of Tampa fully supports the efforts and welfare of all its students. The University faculty and staff are mindful of the diversity of the student body and act in ways to promote the academic success of each individual. One such avenue of support lies in the provision of reasonable accommodations to eligible students who may have one or more disabilities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). UT is fully committed to act in compliance with all ADA mandated requirements.
As such, UT has created a set of guidelines and criteria for documentation and certification of disability status. UT requires that each student have the appropriate diagnostician conduct tests and offer recommendations in order to qualify for reasonable accommodations. Part of this compliance includes timely notification in order for the University to respond appropriately. In most cases, this means that a minimum of two weeks notice is required before reasonable accommodations can be put into place. Disability status must also be re-applied for at the beginning of each semester and remain in compliance with the other criteria listed on that document. A valid report must address the issue of documentation for college level work.
In addition, there is a recency of testing requirement. At UT, it is required that the testing on which a diagnosis is based be no older than three years prior to the time of the request for accommodations.
The University appreciates your careful and timely compliance with these criteria. Students who do not have their diagnoses validated or do not have their accommodation recommendations specified and supported will not be given consideration for their requests. Students who are denied accommodations may file a grievance with the director of the Academic Center for Excellence.
Documentation For Physical Disabilities Requiring Accommodations
In order to provide adequate and appropriate accommodations to students with physical disabilities that substantially limit a major life activity, it is necessary to receive documentation regarding the nature of the impairment. Documentation submitted on letterhead by a qualified and appropriate physician should contain the following information:
- Student's name
- Last date patient was seen/treated
- Whether the disability is temporary or permanent; if temporary, what is the predicted time frame of treatment
- Is the disability ongoing or are chronic flare-ups expected
- Medications and side effects
- Functional limitations resulting from the disability
- Recommendations/suggestions for accommodations appropriate to the college environment
In addition to the documentation from the physician, a student must also submit a Disability Disclosure Form
. Please submit the required documents in a timely fashion so that reasonable accommodations can be put into place. Request for accommodations must be re-applied for at the beginning of each semester. The associate director reserves the right to consult with relevant professionals for help in evaluating a request.
Specific or General Learning Disability
In order for a student to receive learning disabled status and qualify for reasonable accommodations, the University requires, at a minimum, the following recent (less than 3 years old) psychological test data. (NOTE: A high school IEP is not a substitute for a psychological report.)
- An individual intelligence test score (e.g., WAIS-IV)
- A measurement of cognitive processing (e.g., Woodcock-Johnson cognitive scores)
- Achievement test data (e.g., Woodcock-Johnson achievement scores)
- A DSM-5 diagnosis
- An evaluation of ability to function in a demanding college environment which requires independent social functioning.
A diagnosis cannot be accurately made without such data. Difference scores between the IQ and processing and/or achievement standard scores should be more than 1.5 standard deviations, as generally recognized in the American adult educational system.
In addition, your provider must also document any specific weakness or disability area and specify an accommodation that would remedy the problem area. In other words, it is the responsibility of the diagnostician to document the student's disability area (e.g., short-term memory processing problem or lack of organizational skills) and specify what actions UT should take to allow the student the opportunity to pass the course (e.g., extended test time or note-taking).
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Other Attention/Concentration/Processing Problems
For ADHD, it is also necessary for some test documentation to accompany this diagnosis. A psychiatric diagnosis or impression is insufficient to certify a student for ADHD disability status. The University recommends an intelligence test and other measures of concentration/attention deficits to document an ADHD diagnosis. In these cases, it is also the responsibility of the diagnostician to delineate what specific accommodations are needed to remedy the situation.
For the purpose of in-house certification, the following information related to diagnosis should be submitted:
- A DSM-5 diagnosis
- A summary report of reporting psychological test data including:
- An individual intelligence test score (e.g., WAIS-IV, Distraction Index)
- Behavioral or cognitive processing tests which document attention/concentration problems or other ADHD related symptoms
Psychiatric or Psychological Disability
In the case of psychiatric or psychological disability, the provider must document the specific clinical diagnosis and specify what accommodations the student will need. A checklist of typical accommodations follows at the bottom of this page. The diagnostician must document why the accommodation(s) is/are being recommended.
At a minimum, the following information related to diagnosis should be submitted:
- A DSM-5 diagnosis
- A summary report of supporting psychological test data
- An evaluation of ability to function in a demanding college environment which requires independent social functioning
- A summary of the current treatment status
- Notification of any medications which would have side effects or other impact on academic or other school performance
- The time period for which the accommodations are being recommended (no more than one year without re-certification of need)
Typical Reasonable Accommodations
- Extended test time (150 percent of actual test time)
- Distraction reduced test environment
- Note taking in class and/or permission to audio record lectures
The psychological evaluation is referred to the University’s independent disability consultant. The consultant makes recommendations to Jennifer Del Valle, the associate director of the Academic Center for Excellence for the appropriate and reasonable accommodations. The student and associate director then meet to discuss the recommended accommodations. If the student wishes to appeal for special accommodations that have not been recommended by the consultant, the student may appeal to the Committee on Students with Disabilities.
If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Jennifer Del Valle
, Office of Student Disability Services, at (813) 257-3266 or FAX (813) 258-7331.