Documentation Guidelines

In order to fully evaluate requests for academic and non-academic accommodations, Canisius College's Office of Disability Support Services will need documentation of the disability that consists of an evaluation by an appropriate professional that describes the current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodations requested. A brief statement written on a prescription pad from the student's physician is not sufficient documentation.

All contact information and documentation received is kept in a separate confidential file within the Office of Disability Support Services. No information concerning inquiries about accommodations or documentation will be released without written consent.

Documentation provided will be used by DSS to evaluate requests for accommodations.  The evaluation process includes a review of the documentation itself and in the context of the documentation, on the fundamental goals and essential standards of the program, course, service, or benefit in question.

The evaluation process will generate a list of potentially reasonable accommodations that will then be reviewed based on potential effectiveness, preferences of the requester, maximum level of integration, and the potential for an undue financial or administrative burden.

The guidelines below were developed to assist the student in working with his/her treating professional(s) to prepare the information needed to evaluate the request.  If, after reading these guidelines, the student has any questions, please contact the Director of Disability Support Services at (716) 888-3748 (phone and TTY).

Do IEPs apply at the college level?

For individuals who have recently been receiving services from a public school system, the information requested would most likely be contained in the Psycho-Educational Evaluation report from his/her most recent Triennial Review.  Some of the information may also be contained in an Individual Educational Plan (IEP), 504 Plan, or Transition Plan.  The student may wish to include this with his/her information separately from his/her high school transcripts and should make sure that it is received by the Office of Disability Support Services.  Although, an IEP does not continue on the college level, it is a useful history of services provided at the high school level. Please review any high school documentation against the information outlined below for thoroughness.

What needs to be completed when transferring from another college or university?

For individuals transferring from another college or university, information related to his/her disability will NOT be sent to Canisius College with his/her transcript request. The student must request that information be sent to the Office of Disability Support Services separately.  Additionally, the information Canisius is requesting may or may not have been a part of the student's previous college's evaluation process. The student should check the information against the Canisius College DSS documentation guidelines.

As appropriate to the disability, the documentation should include the following six elements:

  1. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability, date of the most current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis. The diagnostic system used by the Department of Education, the State Department of Rehabilitative Services or other State agencies and/or the current edition of either the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of The American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems of the World Health Organization (ICD) are the recommended diagnostic taxonomies.
  2. A description of the diagnostic tests, methods, and/or criteria used. 
    This description should include the specific results of the diagnostic procedures, diagnostic tests used, and when administered.  When available, both summary and specific test scores should be reported as standard scores and the norming population identified.  When standard scores are not available, the mean, standard deviation, and the standard error of measurement are requested as appropriate to the construction of the test.
  3. A description of the current functional impact of the disability which includes specific test results and the examiner's narrative interpretation. The current functional impact on physical, perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral abilities should be described either explicitly or through the provision of specific results from the diagnostic procedure. Currency will be evaluated based on the typical progression of the disability, its interaction with development across the life span, the presence or absence of significant events (since the date of the evaluation) that would impact functioning, and the applicability of the information to the current context of the request for accommodations.
  4. Treatment, medications, and/or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use. A description of treatments, medication, assistive devices, accommodations and/or assistive services in current use and their estimated effectiveness in lessening the impact of the disability.  Significant side-effects that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral, or cognitive performance should also be noted.
  5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the impact of the disability over time, particularly the next five years. This description should provide an estimate of the changes in the functional limitations of the disability over time and/or recommendations concerning the predictable needs for reevaluation.
  6. The credentials of the diagnosing professionals if not clear from the letterhead or other forms. Information describing the certification, licensure, and/or the professional training of individuals conducting the evaluation should be provided.
  7. Beyond the six elements expected to be included in documentation: recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies and/or collateral support services will be considered.

Based on the context of the diagnostic evaluation, recommendations for specific accommodations, adaptive devices, and/or assistive services that may decrease the functional impact of the disability and provide fuller access should be described. As appropriate, recommendations for collateral medical, psychological, and/or educational support services or training that would be beneficial may also be included.

Recommendations from professionals with a history of working with the individual provide valuable information for the review process.  The recommendations will be included in the evaluation of requests for accommodations and/or auxiliary services.  Where such recommendations are congruent with the programs, services and benefits offered at Canisius College, they will be given deference.  When recommendations go beyond services and benefits that can be provided by the college, they may be used to suggest potential referrals to local area service providers outside the college.