Documentation Guidelines

In addition to information gathered directly from you (the student), the basis for determining appropriate accommodations and auxiliary aids and services is provided by clinical documentation that is informative and relevant.  DSP conducts an individualized assessment of the documentation, and in consultation with the student, determines reasonable accommodations and/or auxiliary aids and services.

Important note: a qualified evaluator is considered a health care professional who is licensed to treat the condition being assessed.  Additionally, family members are not considered appropriate evaluators for a student, regardless of professional qualifications.

At a minimum, complete documentation should clearly address:

  • Functional impact(s)/limitation(s) on the student, particularly as it applies to the academic setting. If relevant to the nature of the condition, the documentation should address the functional impact on the student living or dining within a community setting (i.e. campus housing and dining facilities).
  • Frequency, duration, and severity of the impact(s), as well as exacerbating factors.
  • Medication, and any side-effects, and/or treatment plan, as well as specific required maintenance regimens.
  • (Optional) Recommended accommodations, along with rationale tied to functional impacts/limitations experienced by the student.

Types of Documentation

We recognize that documentation of a student’s disability, history of experiences, and history of accommodations may come in a variety of forms. To help provide clarity, and ease of access for the student and the healthcare provider, USC offers a selection of Disability Verification Forms (DVFs). These may be used by the student and their clinician to create documentation for the student to submit to DSP. The DVFs provide prompts to help clinicians ensure they are providing relevant, essential, and helpful information on behalf of the student.

In general, DSP would anticipate the following forms of documentation from students disclosing particular types of disabilities:

AD(H)D Psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation

Or

Download the AD(H)D DVF to be completed by medical or mental health provider
We recognize that AD(H)D is diagnosed by medical as well as psychological providers. Medical providers are encouraged to complete the DVF.
Autism-spectrum, and related disorders Psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation There are many aspects influencing how individuals are impacted by autism and related profiles. In order to thoroughly address all aspects, a multi-faceted assessment would serve the student to the greatest degree.
Blind/Low Vision (BLV) Documentation from medical providers

Or

Download the BLV DVF to be completed by vision specialist (e.g. ophthalmologist)
Please note that these are suggestions for forms of documentation for DHH or BLV students; however, for apparent disabilities and/or apparent impacts, rarely is additional documentation requested.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) Documentation from medical providers

Or

Download the DHH DVF to be completed by hearing specialist
Learning Disability(ies) Psycho-educational or Neuropsychological assessment Because numerous processes are involved in learning, we would anticipate that a student disclosing a learning disability would present documentation reflecting a full assessment of areas including: cognition, achievement, memory, visual and fine motor, executive functioning, and psycho-emotional state.

We are happy to review childhood evaluations, as well as IEPs and 504 plans. However, the student is most effectively served by a recent evaluation based on adult normed assessments.
Medical / Musculoskeletal Download the Medical/Musculoskeletal DVF form to be completed by your treating clinician Please note that medical appointment records or discharge paperwork typically does not provide a complete picture of the student and their experiences. While these records may substantiate certain relevant events, they may not be sufficient to be considered complete documentation.

Summaries of medical records may provide the necessary information to complete a review of the student’s request.
Pregnancy Medical/Musculoskeletal DVF form completed by your treating clinician: Although a normal pregnancy does not qualify as a disability under ADAAA, omplications associated with pregnancy (e.g. gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, etc) that significantly limit one or more major life activities would constitute a disability.

Additionally, DSP provides academic accommodations for pregnant students (with or without complications) through the timeframe immediately following birth.

If you are unsure of whether your questions or issues should be addressed by DSP or the Title IX office, please feel free to give us a call. DSP collaborates with the Title IX office to ensure that you have access to the information and accommodations you need.
Psychiatric Psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation

Or

Download the Psychiatric DVF to be completed by mental health provider
Documentation related to mental health should be provided by a licensed mental health provider. This may range from an LCSW, MMFT, Psychiatrist, etc. While a primary care or other medically-based professional may be aware of these aspects of a student’s life, the student is best served by connection to and assessment by a professional specializing in the field.
Temporary Illness or Injury TBD We recommend that students with a temporary disability start by meeting with DSP so that any immediate support can be put into place, and we can determine together what documentation may be necessary.
Traumatic or Acquired Brain Injury (i.e. concussions) Psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation We recognize that brain injuries progress through healing, and evaluations of impact(s) may evolve over time. We are happy to work with students experiencing brain injury to update their profiles and accommodations as healing is evaluated over time.

Please feel free to contact us directly with any questions you have about this information, or about your individual records. We are happy to provide guidance, and will gladly review any documentation you are able to provide us with your accommodation request in mind.

Important Note: Documentation of a student’s disability is not part of the student’s academic record. All information related to a disability is treated as confidential and may be disclosed only with the student’s written consent or to those with a genuine “need to know,” consistent with USC’s policy and federal laws.