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 is required. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. The name, title, and credentials of the qualified professional writing the report should be included.
Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the disability has on the student's functioning (date of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations).
Documentation should include:
- A clear statement of the disability, including DSM-IV-TR diagnosis and a summary of present summary (based on the DSM-IV-TR or ICD-10). A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable.
- A description of the current functional limitations in the academic environment as well as across other settings. This should include a history of presenting symptoms, duration and severity of the disorder, and relevant historical and familiar data
- Medical information relating to the student's needs, including the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the post secondary environment. This should include the current medication regimen and side effects
- Relevant information regarding current treatment
- A specific request for accommodation with accompanying rationale. A link must be established between the requested accommodations and the functional limitations of the student in the academic environment. A diagnosis in and of itself does not automatically warrant approval of requested accommodations.
Academic accommodations for students with psychological disabilities are usually granted for twelve months. Renewal of accommodations requires a current recommendation from a qualified evaluator or licensed professional who is involved with the treatment of the student. Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The Office of Academic Support Services for Students with Disabilities retains the right to request further documentation, if perceived necessary.
Source: The Policy Book, LRP Publications, 2000