Documentation Guidelines

Below are documentation guidelines for you and your qualified professional. Please use these guidelines when obtaining your disability documentation. Generally, the more specific your documentation, the faster we can process your accommodation request.  In the event you are not able to obtain disability documentation that meets all elements stated within the guidelines, you should still submit as much as you have.

A qualified healthcare professional may choose to submit a narrative report or other records if they contain all information listed in the documentation guidelines. Alternately, the professional may complete the Disability Assessment Form.

General Disability Documentation Guidelines

Provision of reasonable accommodations at SF State is based on a combination of the student’s self-report, disability documentation submitted by an appropriate clinician and DPRC staff’s professional judgment.

We provide guidance and support in obtaining additional documentation if needed. Provisional DPRC services may be available during this process on a case-by-case basis.

Most temporary conditions do not rise to the level of disability and are not eligible to receive accommodations. However, depending on the nature of the temporary condition, support may be provided.

The guidelines below help to establish a student as an individual with a disability and provide a rationale for reasonable accommodations. Documentation should indicate that the disability substantially limits a major life activity. Further, the documentation will present evidence that the student has current functional limitations and/or may currently experience accessibility barriers to any University programs or services.

General guidelines

  • Documentation should be recent, relevant, and comprehensive.
  • Demonstrate substantial impact to one or more major life activities.
  • Adequately verify the nature and extent of the disability in accordance with current professional standards and techniques.
  • Clearly substantiate the need for all of the student’s requests for accommodations.
  • Documentation should be written in English, current and printed on the letterhead of the evaluator (unless using the DPRC Disability Assessment Form).
  • If the original documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or reasonable accommodation, the University has the discretion to require additional documentation.

The most comprehensive documentation includes the following:

1. Verifying Professional’s License or Credential

Date, sign, and include name, title and identify the license or credentials of the verifying professional with specific expertise related to the condition being diagnosed, and who is not related to the student.

2. Diagnosis

Provide a clear statement of disability (e.g. diagnosis), including diagnostic sub-types where relevant, that describes the disability and provides information on the functional impact of the disability. A full clinical description will convey this information. For example, diagnostic codes from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) are useful in conjunction with a narrative statement.

3. Assessment Procedures

Describe the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, and/or evaluations and dates of administration, and the specific results. Methods may include formal instruments, medical examinations, structured interview protocols, performance observations and unstructured interviews. Where appropriate, include detailed assessment reports and scores (e.g. learning disability, audiograms, etc.)

4. Symptoms/Disability Related Characteristics & Functional Limitations

Describe how the symptoms/disability related characteristics, exhibited by the student, result in a functional limitation that will impact participation in the academic program or other services at SF State. Please identify the scope of the symptoms/disability related characteristics, in terms of severity, frequency and pervasiveness.

5. Description of the Progression or Stability of the Disability

State whether symptoms/disability related characteristics are stable and permanent or are subject to change and/or fluctuate over time and context. If cyclical or episodic in nature, please identify known or suspected environmental triggers to episodes. Include recommended timelines for re-evaluation as appropriate.

Conditions that fluctuate may require more recent documentation. If absences from class or campus or anticipated, please identify the projected frequency and extend of each absence. (e.g. “misses class about 2 times per month for 1-2 days each episode”).

6. Current & Past Accommodations, Services and/Medications

Describe current and past accommodations, services if known. Please include their effectiveness in ameliorating functional impacts of the student’s disability. Identify any significant side effects from current medications that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance.

7. (Optional) Recommendations for Reasonable Accommodations

Recommend reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis that address the known functional limitations the student experiences as a result of the disability.

Recommended practitioners for accepted documentation

The following practitioners are accepted to provide documentation on the respective disabilities or conditions (all must be appropriately credentialed and licensed in their respective fields):

Disability or Condition Acceptable Practitioners

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Neuropsychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Neurologist, Neurodevelopmental Physician

Chronic Illness/Health

Gastroenterologist, Rheumatologist, Endocrinologist, Internal Medicine, or other physician knowledgeable of condition

Developmental Disability (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Neuropsychologist, Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, Neurodevelopmental Physician

Head Injury/TBI

Neurologist, Neuropsychologist

Hearing

Audiologist (CCC-A), Otolaryngologist

Learning Disabilities

School Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, Neurodevelopmental Physician

Mental Health or Psychiatric

Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, Social Worker (LCSW), Marriage/Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Mobility/Physical

Physical Therapist, Orthopedic Surgeon, other physician knowledgeable to condition

Speech and Communication Conditions

Speech Language Clinician

Vision

Optometrist, Ophthalmologist

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should my documentation be submitted?

Students or medical providers may submit documentation to DPRC in-person, mail, via email (dprc@sfsu.edu) or via FAX, (415) 338-1041.  Our address is:

Disability Programs and Resource Center
1600 Holloway Ave. SSB 110
San Francisco, CA 94132

What if my existing documentation does not meet the above guidelines?

Students are encouraged to submit what they have for review by a Disability Specialist. Provisional accommodations may be established while additional documentation is being obtained. If additional documentation is needed the Disability Specialist can work with the student and diagnostician to clarify what information is needed. If the student does not currently have a health care provider that can update documentation the Disability Specialist can help the student identify local providers who may be of assistance.

What if I do not have any documentation for my disability and/or health condition?

Students who do not have documentation are encouraged to schedule a meeting with a Disability Specialist to learn more about relevant assessments and where to obtain them. Disability Specialists are glad to offer advice on what assessments may be helpful.

Where can I get documentation for a learning disability?

Please see our Resource List of Learning Disabilities Diagnosticians

What is the privacy requirement for health information provided to DPRC?

All information and documentation submitted to the DPRC is kept separate from an academic record and is considered private under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). HIPPA privacy and confidentiality guides do not apply to documents submitted to DPRC because they are not being used for treatment. Under FERPA guidelines DPRC cannot guarantee complete confidentiality as there may be times when sharing some information with other SF State staff/faculty is necessary in the facilitation of the accommodation process.