To be eligible for accommodations, students must present to their office of disability services current documentation that meets Board of Regents guidelines. Even if students have been granted accommodations at the high school or elementary school level, or at a non-USG institution, their documentation must be reviewed for college-level needs according to the BOR guidelines. Because students’ strengths and weaknesses can change as they grow and develop, consideration of their current functioning is critical in evaluating their needs in relation to college-level academic expectations and support services. There are instances when a student may not be eligible for college accommodations after having received them in earlier grades. Students in the public school system will have a Summary of Performance (SOP), which is required under the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). This is a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, which must include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s postsecondary goals. The SOP can be helpful in providing necessary documentation at the postsecondary level, if it includes current and complete assessment data.
Students with learning disorders who do not have current documentation can arrange to have a psychological evaluation either at the RCLD, or by another qualified professional. If the testing is not done at the RCLD, it is important to be sure that the professional who will perform the evaluation is aware of the BOR guidelines, so that all the necessary information can be included in the written documentation.(USG/BOR Academic Affairs Handbook, Students with Learning Disorders, Appendix D). This documentation must then be presented to the disability services office at the student's college or university and be reviewed to insure that it contains the information required by the Board of Regents.
All institutions of the University System use common guidelines for documenting disabilities and employ a common methodology for providing services to students with diagnosed disabilities. A clinical diagnosis is not synonymous with a disability. The specific symptoms that are present should be stated in the documentation. Evidence that these symptoms are associated with substantial impairment in a major life activity is required for provision of accommodations. A detailed description of current substantial limitation in the academic environment is essential to identify appropriate academic accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services. Specific requests for accommodations need to be linked to the student's current functional limitations, and the rationale for each recommendation clearly stated. The Suggested Assessment Measures is a list of commonly-available tests that can be used to provide documentation to meet BOR criteria.
The general criteria for documenting disabilities can be found in the USG/BOR Academic Affairs Handbook, Students with Learning Disorders, General Documentation Guidelines, Appendix D).
Specific documentation guidelines for nine disability categories are described in the USG/BOR Academic Affairs Handbook, Students with Learning Disorders, Appendix E).
The nine disability categories described are:
- Acquired Brain Impairment
- Pervasive Developmental Disorders
- Asperger’s Disorder
- Autistic Disorder
- Learning Disabilities
- Psychological Disorders
- Sensory Disorders
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Visual Disorders
- Mobility Disorders
- Systemic Disorders
- Other Disabilities