Chronic Medical and Health Disabilities

These guidelines apply to students who have chronic disabilities in the following areas:

  • Mobility - such as use of wheelchair, crutches, cane, or impaired hand coordination
  • Systemic- includes chronic illnesses or conditions such as diabetes, cancer, migraines, epilepsy, as well as cardiovascular, autoimmune, and nervous system disorders
  • Acquired brain injury- affecting processing speed, memory, communication, motor, sensory, physical, and/or psychosocial abilities

Students requesting accommodations for a disability listed above are asked to submit documentation that meets the guidelines listed below. In addition, individuals with acquired brain injury may need to submit the following psycho-educational test battery:

  • an individually administered Aptitude Test battery (Intelligence or Cognitive tests) with all subtests included, such as The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – 4th Edition (WAIS-IV) or the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children - 5th Edition (WISC-V).
  • an Achievement Test battery, also called an academic achievement battery, such as The Woodcock Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery: Tests of Achievement. The Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) is not comprehensive and is not acceptable as the sole measure of achievement. Achievement tests
    must show current academic functioning in:
    • reading - decoding and comprehension of long passages typical of college texts
    • mathematics - applied word problems and calculations, specifically algebra problems
    • written language skills - spelling and written expression.
  • an Information Processing battery, such as the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude (DTLA)or subtests from the WAIS-IV or WISC-V. These assessments must describe strengths,weaknesses,and deficits in:
    • visual-spatial abilities,
    • memory (auditory and visual; short-term and long-term),
    • executive functions including: processing speed, attention, and auditory processing.
  • Suggestions of reasonable accommodation(s), which might be appropriate at the post-secondary level, are encouraged. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis.

1. A Qualified Evaluator

Professionals conducting assessments, rendering a medical diagnosis, and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. These are physicians, including licensed M.D.'s and D.O.'s.
Documentation must meet the following criteria:

  • include the name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator
  • be presented on professional letterhead, typed, dated, signed and legible
  • the evaluator may not be an immediate family member.

2. Current Documentation

Reasonable accommodations are based on the current impact of a disability. Therefore, it is critical that medical documentation describe an individual's current level of functioning and need for accommodations. A full report from a treating healthcare professional completed within the past twelve months is considered current, unless the condition is permanent/unchanging. The documentation may need to be updated annually by using the DRC 102 Form [PDF] so that we can best accommodate the student . It would be helpful to note whether the condition or diagnoses is permanent or unchanging, if applicable.

3. Comprehensive Documentation

Medical disabilities encompass a myriad of conditions. In addition, medical conditions are often changeable in nature, and sometimes difficult to categorize. Documentation must therefore be thorough, giving a full picture of the individual, not simply a diagnosis. A diagnosis alone is not a basis for accommodation. Documentation must include:

  • A clear diagnosis of medical disability must be rendered including:
    • clear statement of diagnosis, the subtype if applicable, with ICD-10 code
    • the diagnostic criteria on which the diagnosis is based
    • Cannot include wording such as "seems to indicate" or "suggests."
  • A discussion of any of the following, as applicable:
    • a history of presenting symptoms and relevant medical history
    • description of current impairment
    • a summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments/reports used
    • diagnosis duration and severity of the disorder
    • treatment and medication history, including medication side effects
    • documentation of assistive devices and technology used, with estimated effectiveness; this would include a history of any disability-related accommodation(s)
    • status of the individual’s condition - static, improving, or degrading
    • expected progression of the condition over time
  • The current functional limitations – the ways that the diagnosed disability substantially limits the student in a major life activity – of the individual in an academic environment.
  • Appropriate and specific recommendations for accommodation in an academic environment, accompanied by clear rationale supported by interview, observation, and/or testing.

4. Supporting Documentation

The qualified physician's report, while necessary, is by no means the only documentation we can use to better understand and accommodate the student with a chronic medical/ health disability. Other helpful documents include: reports/recommendations from rehabilitation centers and/or programs, records of previous accommodations, high school 504 plans or IEPs and previous medical evaluations. Please see the DRC 102 General Medical and/or Mental Health Documentation Form [PDF], should you wish to add this to your supporting documentation.

*Please note the on-campus DRC office is currently closed. Students must submit documentation as an attachment to [email protected] prior to their scheduled appointment.

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