Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Documentation Standards

A combination of the following forms of documentation will be considered in evaluating accommodation requests at Thomas Jefferson University:

Students who wish to request reasonable accommodations must submit supporting documentation acceptable to TJU in the form of medical records or psycho-educational/neuro-psychological reports that establish a disability, detail the current functional impact of that disability, and confirms the need for each accommodation requested. A diagnostic statement alone is not sufficient to establish eligibility for accommodations. The documentation must be thorough enough to demonstrate whether and how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the disability and functional limitations.  Generally the documentation should not be more than three years old, with the exception of a permanent, lifelong impairment.  In these instances documentation may not need to be as recent, but specific recommendations for the current academic setting should still be provided by a qualified professional.  Changes in the functional impact of a condition (e.g., result of growth, development) may warrant more frequent updates in documentation.  Specific documentation standards can be found below.

Physical/Medical Disabilities

The Medical Intake form or a recent letter from a qualified physician or certified rehabilitation counselor that includes:

  • A diagnosis of the physical condition or illness.
  • A description of the functional limitations as a result of the condition or side effects of the required medications. This description must establish a substantial limitation in a major life activity.
  • A summary of the recommendations for accommodation at the post-secondary level.
  • Any pertinent background information about the disability or medical condition that will assist the University in assessing whether to grant the requested accommodation.
  • Whether the duration of the student's medical condition is temporary or permanent.

Learning Disabilities

The Medical Intake Form cannot be used for Learning Disabilities.  Learning Disabilities require a recent psychoeducational or psych-neurological report by a certified and licensed psychologist, containing the following:  

  • An assessment of the student that provides clear and specific evidence that a learning disability exists. The assessment should consist of and be based on a comprehensive assessment battery that does not rely on any one test or subtest. The assessment should include a list of the tests performed.
  • A recent diagnosis. Individual "learning styles,” "academic problems” and "test difficulty or anxiety,” in and of themselves, generally do not constitute a learning disability. The diagnostician is encouraged to use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a learning disability, avoiding the use of terms such as "suggests” or "is indicative of.”
  • Specific limitations in higher education.  The data should logically reflect a substantial limitation in learning for which the student is requesting the accommodation.
  • Specific recommendations in higher education that provides for access.

NOTE: Students who received services at a previous educational institution should also submit their Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) and transition plans that include a summary of accommodations needed at the college level. School plans (IEP or 504 plan) may not be sufficient in and of themselves, but should accompany the comprehensive assessment battery (if applicable).

Attention Deficit or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

The Medical Intake From or current and comprehensive documentation of the disorder from the licensed diagnosing physician, psychiatrist or psychologist is required to contain the following:

  • Diagnosis, date of diagnosis and last contact with student.
  • Description of symptoms that meet the criteria for this diagnosis.
  • Instruments and procedures that were used to diagnose the ADD/ADHD. Attach the diagnostic report.
  • An indication of the substantial limitation to learning or other major life activity presented by the ADD or ADHD, and the degree to which the disorder impacts the student in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.
  • Current medication, dosage and frequency.
  • Recommendations for accommodations at the post-secondary level as related to the functional limitations of the diagnosis, including the rationale for why they must be provided.  Include a discussion of previous accommodations. If accommodations were not provided in the past, include a detailed explanation as to why none were used and why they are needed at this time.

Psychological Disabilities

The Medical Intake Form or current and comprehensive documentation of the disorder from the licensed diagnosing physician, psychiatrist or psychologist is required to contain the following:

  • Diagnosis, date of diagnosis and last contact with student.
  • Description of symptoms that meet the criteria for this diagnosis.
  • Instruments and procedures that were used to diagnose the student. Attach the diagnostic report.
  • Current medication, dosage and frequency.
  • Indication of the substantial limitation to learning or other major life activity presented by the disorder and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.
  • Recommendations regarding accommodations at the post-secondary level as related to the functional limitations of the diagnosis, including the rationale for why they must be provided. Include a discussion of previous accommodations. If accommodations were not provided in the past, include a detailed explanation as to why none were used and why they are needed at this time.

In addition to this documentation students must submit the Student Intake Form, which can be obtained through Student Accessibility Services.  Students can also submit any documentation or materials that establish a history of receiving accommodations in a previous academic setting (e.g. secondary school accommodation plans such as IEPs or letters of accommodation from previous higher education institutions).  It is the student’s responsibility to pay for any costs associated with obtaining sufficient current documentation.

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