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Documentation: How much is enough?

Colleges typically use your student’s age, the evaluator’s assessment approach, and the level of detail provided in the last eligibility evaluation to determine the level of support she will receive at the college level.  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which is the primary enforcement agency for college access under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), makes the following points about documentation in their booklet Students with Disabilities Preparing for Post Secondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities:

Schools may set reasonable standards for documentation.  Some schools require more documentation than others.  They may require you to provide documentation prepared by an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician.  The required documentation may include one or more of the following: a diagnosis of your current disability, the date of the diagnosis, how the diagnosis was reached, the credentials of the professional, how your disability affects a major life activity, and how the disability affects your academic performance.  The documentation should provide enough information for you and your school to decide what is an appropriate academic adjustment.”

 “Although an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan, if you have one, may help in identify services that have been effective for you, it generally is not sufficient documentation.  This is because post-secondary education presents different demands than high school education, and what you need to meet these new demands may be different.  Also, in some cases, the nature of a disability may change.If the documentation that you have does not meet the postsecondary school’s requirements, a school official must tell you in a timely manner what additional documentation you need to provide.  You may need a new evaluation in order to provide the required documentation.”

 So, how much documentation will be enough?  Tomorrow, I’ll outline the six core elements of documentation that should help you evaluate your current documentation.

Heather Creech, M.A. CCC-SLP
Educational Consultant

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