Skip to main content

Psychiatric/Psychological Disabilities Documentation Guidelines


Psychiatric/Psychological Disabilities Documentation Guidelines


You must provide medical documentation of your specific disability in order to verify accommodation eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Documentation needs to be current in order to reflect present functioning. Additional documentation may be requested based upon your current status and your request(s). All documentation is confidential and is on file at the disability services office.

Psychiatric disabilities comprise a range of conditions characterized by emotional, cognitive, and/or behavioral dysfunction. A diagnosis by a licensed mental health professional including psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychiatrists, other relevantly trained medical doctors, clinical social workers, licensed counselors, and psychiatric nurse practitioners is required. The name, title, and credentials of qualified professional writing the report should be included on letterhead.

A psychiatric/psychological diagnosis is and of itself does not automatically warrant approval of requested accommodations. Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the disability has on your academic functioning. The age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, your current status and your request for accommodations.

*Please Note: Documentation guidelines are to be viewed as recommendations for qualified clinicians and students when submitting documentation.  Documentation is reviewed on an individualized basis, and accommodations are made in coordination with the disability services and the student. 

Documentation Should Include:

  • A clear statement of your disability, including the DSM-IV-TR diagnosis and a summary of present symptoms (based on the DSM-TR or ICD-10). A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used for diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable.  
  • A description of current functional limitations in the academic environment as well as across other settings. This may include a history of presenting symptoms, duration and severity of the disorder, and relevant historical and family data.  
  • Medical information relating to your needs, including the impact of medication on your ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment. This may include the current medication regimen, and side effects (if relevant).  
  • Relevant information regarding current treatment.  
  • When requesting specific accommodation, a link must be established between the accommodation and your functional limitations in the academic environment.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other diagnoses are indicated. Disability services will collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

Adapted from the guidelines for Documentation of Psychiatric Disabilities, Educational Testing Services, July 2001.