The guidelines outlined below are provided in the interest of assuring that students submit documentation that is appropriate to the purpose of verifying eligibility for disability services. Skidmore requires documentation that supports each request for reasonable accommodations on the basis that a student's disability substantially limits one or more major life activity. Documentation should validate the need for services based on the individual's current level of functioning in the educational setting and generally falls under one of three categories.
Learning Disabilities | Psychological, Medical, or Physical Disabilities | AD/HD or ADD
Students with learning disabilities should submit documentation that includes a comprehensive assessment. Evaluative instruments used to document eligibility must be statistically reliable and valid and standardized for use with an adult population. Although information contained in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan may be helpful, these documents should be viewed as supplemental information.
Testing must be comprehensive: Diagnosis of learning disabilities must be based on analysis of the individual's strengths as well as weaknesses. Minimally, domains to be addressed must include (but are not limited to):
- Aptitude: The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale 3rd Edition (WAIS III) with supplementary index scales is the preferred instrument. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Revised (WAIS-R) with subtest scores, the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery Revised Tests of Cognitive Ability, or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition acceptable.
- Achievement: Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics and written language are required. Acceptable instruments include the Woodcock-Johnson Psycoeducational Battery-Revised: Tests of Achievement, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT), Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK), Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA), or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language-2 (TOWL-2), or Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised.
- Information Processing: Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed) must be assessed. Information from subtests on the WAIS III, WAIS-R, or the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability as well as other instruments relevant to the particular learning problem(s) being assessed may be administered.
In addition, the following guidelines should be applied:
- Testing must be valid. In most cases, this means students attended to the evaluation with sincere and consistent effort.
- There must be clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability.
- Actual test scores must be provided. Standard scores and/or percentiles are also helpful. If grade equivalents are given, standard scores and/or percentiles should accompany them.
- Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities must be qualified to do so, and reports (psychological evaluations) must include the names, titles, and professional credentials of the evaluators as well as the date(s) of testing.
- A written summary of, or background information about the student's educational, medical, and family histories that relate to the learning disability should be included.
- Documentation should include recommendation for reasonable accommodations at the college level.
Psychological, Medical, or Physical Disabilities
The often changing nature of psychological, medical, and/or physical disabilities results in differing standards for documentation. Students with any one or combination of the above conditions must present documentation that is both valid and current. Generally, documentation is considered current if the diagnostic evaluation has been completed within the last three years. Request for reasonable accommodations due to psychological, medical or physical disabilities must be supported by documentation that meets the following guidelines:
Documentation should include:
- A clear diagnostic statement including a description of duration and severity of condition.
- Currently prescribed medications with effects, any treatments or services used to minimize the impact of the condition.
- The current impact of (or limitation imposed by) the disability within the college setting.
- Recommendations for accommodation that is reasonable and validated by current documentation.
- Name, title, address and phone number of certifying professional(s) including date of diagnosis and/or evaluation.
Documentation should reflect a comprehensive and detailed evaluation of the condition, verify the impact on a major life activity, and be provided by a certified or licensed physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, neurologist, speech pathologist or other appropriate professional. Skidmore College reserves the right to determine the nature and extent of reasonable accommodations, thus additional documentation may be requested to assist in identifying appropriate reasonable accommodations.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Generally students with AD/HD are expected to submit a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation completed by a qualified practitioner. Individuals qualified to render a diagnosis for this disorder are practitioners who have been trained in the differential diagnosis of ADHD and are experienced with an adolescent and adult ADHD population. Recommended practitioners may include licensed clinical or educational psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologist, developmental pediatricians, family physicians, or a combination of such professionals. Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities are indicated.
A documented evaluation should be current (completed within the last three years) and should contain a clear statement of ADD/ADHD diagnosis consistent with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). A description of present symptoms and, if pertinent, past symptoms should be included.
Documentation should also contain a narrative summary which includes:
- Assessment procedures and evaluation instruments, including all test scores and sub-scores, used to make the diagnosis.
- The functional limitations and impairments related to the diagnosis and medical treatment of the condition, including medication (if prescribed, include dosages and schedules of medication) which affect the student's current level of functioning in the postsecondary environment.
- Suggestions of reasonable accommodations that might be appropriate at the postsecondary level are encouraged.