Applying for Accommodations and Documentation
When a student requests accommodations and services from Alliant, a procedure for determining appropriate and reasonable accommodations will take place. Students who think that they might need disability related accommodations should begin this process as soon as possible. Students should be aware that the process for accommodations may take time to be established and implemented (approximately 2 weeks). The first step is to contact the disability coordinator at your campus to make an official request for accommodations. This will initiate an interactive process between the student and school. Accommodations will be determined based on student disclosure, discussion with disability coordinator, and documentation from a trained professional qualified to assess the disabling condition in question. All accommodations are considered on a case by case basis.
It is standard practice for a university or college to require documentation of disabilities when an individual puts the disability at issue. Alliant has the right to request documentation of any disability, disabling condition or nature of functional limitations due to the disability, but may choose not to exercise this right in some instances when a disability is readily visible and the student is able to describe the functional limitations. Documentation must be provided by a professional qualified to diagnose the disability. Alliant reserves the right to request for further documentation at anytime.
The professional writing the letter of documentation should be qualified to diagnosis the condition the student is requesting accommodations for. For example a chiropractor could not document a learning disability, although they might diagnosis and recommend accommodations for a physical disability. If you have further questions about this, you should consult your disability coordinator to determine who is the best individual to document a disability.
Students in an academic track that leads to licensure, should take into consideration that Alliant may accept documentation that a licensure agent may not. It is strongly suggested that students consider updating their documentation to confirm that the accommodations they receive in school is consistent to the licensing agency. This consistency is important in demonstrating a history of accommodations. Students should contact the licensing awarding agency to see what standards might apply to them.
In general, documentation must include the following:
- A diagnosis of the condition
- Assessment(s) this diagnosis is based on (testing, self-reports, what diagnostic criteria are met)
- How this condition impairs or impacts the student in the educational setting
- Recommended accommodations and services
- Qualifications of the professional making the diagnosis
Please note that the University has the right to determine accommodations through an interactive process with the student. Recommendations from the professional will be taken into consideration but may not necessarily be implemented.
The following is a more specific description of what is needed in documenting a disability:
The qualifications of the evaluator, the testing procedures followed, the instruments used to assess the disability, the test results, and an interpretation of the test results, which includes a diagnosis of a specific learning disability. Such documentation must reflect the individual's present achievement level, be as comprehensive as possible, and adequately measure cognitive abilities and academic achievement skills. For assessment of learning or attentional disabilities, the achievement test should sample reading, math, and writing. It must include test results for at least the following characteristics: intelligence, vocabulary, reading rate, reading comprehension, spelling, mathematical comprehension, memory, and processing skill.
Documentation should state the disability or disabling condition that impacts the student's academic functioning. This should include the methodology used. This may include but not limited to tests, assessments and/or clinical information.
It is always preferable to have recent documentation. Many students who were tested in elementary and high school, have received services throughout their education, and reasonably can be assumed to continue to have the disability. Nonetheless, more current documentation may be requested.
Documentation should include current level of functional limitations. This should include how the disability impacts student major life functions. These limitations should substantiate the student's request for accommodations. This should include a description of the expected progression or stability of disability.
Documentation should include current and past accommodations, services, and applicable medications. This might include adaptive devices, assistive technology, and compensatory strategies.
If there is no documented record of a disability but the student feels there is one, the student may pursue an evaluation at his or her own expense. The Coordinator of the Office of Accessibility can assist you in finding an appropriate professional to perform an evaluation for a learning disability. However, the Office of Accessibility and Alliant are not responsible for the quality and nature of any subsequent evaluation.
Records and Privacy
The school will maintain confidential records related to the disability within the Office of Accessibility("Accessibility") relating to academic adjustments and accommodations based upon the student's disability. The records will include documentation submitted to verify the disability, documentation requests for reasonable accommodations, and correspondence with the "Accessibility" coordinator. Information will only be released on a need to know basis such as clarify accommodation requests or in the case of grievances. The records are subject to FERPA/HIPAA rules and regulations.