Documentation Guidelines

Updated March 11, 2011 (PDF)

In order to fully evaluate requests for accommodations or auxiliary aids and to determine eligibility for services, Disability Services and Programs (DSP) needs documentation of your disability. The documentation should include an evaluation by an appropriate professional that makes evident the current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodation(s) requested.

Documentation must include:

  1. The current functional impact of the condition(s). The current relevant functional impacts on physical (mobility, dexterity, endurance, etc.), perceptual, cognitive (attention, distractibility, communication, etc.), and behavioral abilities should be described as a clinical narrative and/or through the provision of specific results from the diagnostic procedures/assessment.
  2. Treatments, medications, accommodations/auxiliary aids, services currently prescribed or in use. Provide a brief description of treatments, medications, accommodations/auxiliary aids and/or services currently in use and their estimated effectiveness in minimizing the impact of the condition(s). Include any significant side effects that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance. If you feel that any additional accommodations/auxiliary aids are warranted, please list them along with a clear rationale and related functional limitations. Any accommodations/auxiliary aids will be taken into consideration, but not automatically implemented.
  3. The expected progression or stability of disability over time. If possible, provide a description of the expected change in the functional impact of the condition(s) over time. If the condition is variable, describe the known triggers that may exacerbate the condition.
  4. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability. When appropriate, include International Classification of Diseases (ICD) or Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) codes, the date of the most recent evaluation, or the dates of evaluations performed by referring professionals. If the most recent evaluation was not a full evaluation, indicate when the last full evaluation was conducted.
  5. The printed name, signature, title, professional credentials/license number, address, phone number and fax number of each medical specialist/clinician/evaluator involved as well as the date(s) of testing/evaluation, all on official letterhead.

Suggestions of reasonable accommodations that might be appropriate at the postsecondary level are encouraged. These recommendations must be supported by the diagnosis and current symptoms.

Documentation for eligibility should be current (refer to the guidelines for the specific type of disability).

All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:

Disability Services and Programs
University of Southern California
3601 Watt Way, GFS 120
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1692
(213) 740-0776
(213) 740-8216 Fax