Disability Documentation Guidelines

Documentation Guidelines

The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) has established seven basic principles to serve as the foundation for best practices used by post-secondary institutions in establishing disability documentation guidelines and determining accommodations for students with disabilities. As such, Tulsa Community College is guided by the following principles:

  • Documentation should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, examining the impact of the disability on the student and within the specific context of the request for accommodations;
  • Determination of a disability should not require the use of any specific language;
  • Presented documentation can be augmented by interview with the student and contact with the evaluator for needed clarification;
  • Determination of accommodations is an interactive process and should not be dictated by any one party;
  • Documentation of a specific disability does not translate directly into a specific accommodation or set of accommodations;
  • Disability documentation should be treated in a confidential manner and shared only on a need-to-know basis;
  • Information on the individual's disability is only one component of providing access; increasing overall accessibility through system change may reduce the need for individual accommodations.
  • Documentation assists the Accessibility Resources professional staff member in establishing a student’s disability, understand how the disability may impact a student, and working with the student, make informed decisions about accommodations. Therefore, documentation of a disability should include:
  • A diagnostic statement identifying the specific disability(ies), date of the current diagnostic evaluation and date of the original diagnosis;

  • A description of the diagnostic criteria used;

  • A description of the current functional impact of the disability;

  • A description of how the disability affects the student's academic performance;

  • A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability;

  • Treatments, medications, and assistive devices currently prescribed or in use;

  • Recommendations of specific reasonable accommodations needed for the student to participate in classes;

  • Documentation must be typed on diagnosing professional’s official letterhead;
  • Documentation must be signed and dated by the diagnosing professional and include the credentials of the diagnosing professional(s);
  • An Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Section 504 Plan, Summary of Performance (SOP) or Response to Intervention (RtI) will be accepted for verification of disability.
  • Accommodations will be determined by an interactive process between the Accessibility Resources professional staff member and student.
  • Documentation or statements written by family members will not be accepted as appropriate professional documentation.
  • Documentation will become the property of Tulsa Community College.
  • Documentation can only be prepared by a person who is not a family member of the student and who is qualified by professional training and practice to diagnose and treat the impairment leading to the disability. Documentation should be typed or word-processed and printed on the letterhead of either the practitioner or the agency hosting the practice. Handwritten notes on prescription pads or handwritten treatment records will be reviewed by an Accessibility Resources professional staff member on a case-by-case basis. A high school 504 Plan, Individual Education Plan (IEP), history of Response to Intervention (RtI) or Summary of Performance (SOP) can be used to verify a student’s educational and accommodation history, and assist in determining a student’s accommodations at Tulsa Community College.
  • All students attending Tulsa Community College must adhere to the rules and regulations set forth in the Student Code of Conduct. No documentation will waive TCC's admissions policies, regulations regarding acceptable behavior, or course objectives and requirements.


All documentation of disability submitted to Accessibility Resources will be held in confidence and will become the property of Tulsa Community College. Disability documentation provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional is not subject to free access under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The information regarding a student’s disability will be shared by Accessibility Resources on a limited basis, and then only when there is a compelling reason for such disclosure. This means that an instructor generally does not have a need to know what the disability of a student is, only that accommodations have been appropriately verified by an Accessibility Resources professional staff member. Faculty will be notified by written communication from the appropriate Accessibility Resources every semester with the student’s written permission. Students registered Accessibility Resources will hand-deliver notification letters to each of their instructors indicating their approved accommodations. Adapted materials from the Disability Resource Center at the University of Oklahoma and new Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) documentation guidelines, 2012.