Disability & Accessibility Resources

Division of Student Life

Disability Documentation Guidelines

Students seeking accommodations are asked to submit appropriate documentation of their disability to DAR. We request documentation in order to establish the presence of a disability, and to help us understand how a disability impacts a student in the college setting so we can make informed decisions about accommodations.

General guidelines for disability documentation

Documentation should be prepared by a qualified medical or mental health professional who does not have a family relationship with the student. Healthcare providers are welcome to include the information below in a letter (on letterhead, and signed and dated), or they may opt to use our Student Disability Documentation Form.

Disability documentation should describe the nature and extent of the disability, including how the condition impacts the student in the college setting, and it should establish the rationale for each of the student’s requested accommodations. Documentation will ideally include the following:

  • The name, title, professional credentials, contact information, and area of specialization of the professional preparing the documentation. 
  • The dates or time frame during which the student has been under their professional care
  • A diagnostic statement that specifies the current diagnoses/conditions, including the severity of each condition and the date of onset or diagnosis for each condition
  • If applicable: specific findings that support the diagnosis, including relevant history, tests administered, test results, and interpretation of those test results
  • The expected duration and progression of each condition (e.g., temporary vs. chronic, variable or progressive vs. stable, intermittent or episodic, in remission, etc.)
  • The particular symptoms the student experiences, including the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms
  • Information concerning the impact of the disability in the college setting, including a description of the physical and/or cognitive functional limitations due to the disability. This information may be specific to the student’s academics, housing or dietary needs, and/or their physical activity limitations, depending on the types of accommodations the student is seeking.
    • For example, how and to what extent does this condition affect the student’s ability to read, write, focus and concentrate, take tests, participate in class, attend class, sleep, eat, exercise, maintain their health, etc? Does this condition limit the student’s functioning in any way? If so, how?
  • Any recommended accommodations or resources to address the functional impact(s) described above. Please note that not all recommended accommodations will necessarily be appropriate in a higher education setting, but we do take this information into account when fashioning an accommodation plan for a student.
  • If applicable: Any side effects the student may experience due to prescribed medications or medical treatments
  • Any other information that may help us in working with the student

DAR evaluates all documentation on a case-by-case basis. If the documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or the rationale for the requested accommodation(s), DAR may request additional or updated documentation.

How do I submit documentation to DAR?

Students can upload documentation as an attachment when they submit an accommodation request form. Documentation can also be sent to us via email (dar@reed.edu) or fax (503-517-5532). While we recommend that students submit their documentation in advance of their intake appointment, students may also bring a printed copy to their in-person appointment.

*At this time, we highly recommend documentation NOT be sent through the US Postal Service, our staff is working remotely and will not be available to receive documentation sent via USPS mail.

Does DAR require a specific documentation form, or would a letter from my healthcare provider suffice?

For ADHD, learning disabilities, and other neurodevelopmental conditions: a neuropsychological assessment report is the preferred documentation, when available. 

For medical or mental health conditions: the student’s provider may either write a letter that includes the information listed above, or they may submit a completed Student Disability Documentation Form.

Will a 504 or IEP plan suffice as disability documentation?

A record of accommodations awarded elsewhere (such as an IEP or 504 plan, or an accommodation letter from a previous institution) is a  welcome supplement to a student’s disability documentation and can inform discussions about current accommodation needs. However, these records are likely insufficient documentation in-and-of-themselves.

How recent does my documentation need to be?

Documentation should be recent enough to reflect the student's current level of functioning.

For mental health disabilities and conditions that are variable or progressive in nature, documentation should ideally be prepared within the last 6 months. For long-established conditions whose impact is fairly stable, documentation prepared within the past 1-3 years may be acceptable.

For learning disability or neuropsychological evaluations, assessments normed for adults are preferred, though in some cases an evaluation with assessments normed for children/adolescents may suffice.

If I do not have documentation, or my documentation does not meet the requirements, can I still request accommodations through DAR?

We encourage students who are experiencing challenges related to a disability to schedule an appointment with us, whether or not they currently have documentation that meets our guidelines. DAR staff can help students explore relevant resources that are available to all students, as well as options for moving forward with the accommodation process and/or obtaining documentation.

What if I’ve already submitted documentation to the Health and Counseling Center at Reed?

Due to HIPAA regulations, DAR staff members do not have access to students’ medical records at the Health & Counseling Center (HCC). If there is documentation on file with the HCC that a student would like to submit to DAR for accommodation purposes, the student may sign a release of information at the HCC and request that certain medical records be sent to DAR.

I’m concerned about the costs associated with obtaining an evaluation. Is there financial assistance available at Reed?

Students seeking an evaluation with an off-campus provider are encouraged to work with the Health & Counseling Center to identify a local provider who is within the student’s insurance network and is a good fit for the student. If the cost of an evaluation would cause a financial hardship, financial assistance may be available through the Student Life office. Please contact us for additional information.