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Disability Documentation Guidelines

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The Office for Student Accessibility (OSA) at Northern Kentucky University enters into an interactive process with students in order to implement reasonable and appropriate accommodations which are individualized and based on documentation, functional limitations, and a collaborative assessment of needs. Criteria for the source, scope and content of documentation varies with each individual situation.

Documentation must be formatted as a professional letter (containing the elements listed below) typed on office or practice letterhead, dated and signed by a professional who is licensed or certified in the area for which the diagnosis is made. Name, title, and license/certification credentials must be stated and shall not be an individual with a close personal relationship to the student. Documentation submission may also be a copy of a recent evaluation (documentation that is older than 3 years may need to be updated) which has been completed by a licensed professional, physician, or specialist and/or who has recently provided treatment. An education plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Evaluation Team Report (ETR), or 504 Plan may be sufficient depending on the content included in the education plan.

Confidentiality of the information provided is ensured, and will not become part of the student’s academic record. Once completed, please give student the documentation so that they may upload it with their OSA New Student Application (found on our website). Elements to include in the letter are outlined below.

  • DIAGNOSIS: A clear diagnostic statement and clinical narrative identifying the disability and describing how the condition was diagnosed, procedure/evaluation for determining diagnosis (e.g. clinical/diagnostic interview, psychological testing, questionnaire, etc.) the initial date of diagnosis, and date of last contact with the student. 
  • DIAGNOSTIC METHODOLOGY: A full description of the diagnostic methodology used, including data and measurements from appropriate evaluation instruments. The results obtained should establish a direct link to the diagnosis and the functional limitations of the disability. 
  • IMPACT: A description of how the condition impacts the student currently in an academic setting or university life. Documentation must provide current, age-appropriate information in order to accurately assess the current functional limitations of the individual. Information regarding if symptoms are constant or episodic, and the frequency and/or duration should be addressed. Please keep in mind, accommodations are based on current functional limitations and not on diagnosis alone. 
  • INTERVENTION: A description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications for the student. This information should include an indication of their effectiveness in treating the disability. 
  • RECOMMENDATIONS: Recommendations are welcomed and considered, however, OSA makes the ultimate determination on eligibility and reasonable academic adjustments necessary to provide equal access for participation in academic courses and university life. Recommendations should be directly linked to the impact or functional limitations associated with the disability and include a clear rationale based on level of impairment. 

If you have further questions, please direct them to the OSA office at (859) 572-5282 or by email at osa@nku.edu.

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