Student Services

Disability Services

Disability Documentation Guidelines

A printable PDF is available for each set of documentation guidelines.


Guidelines for the Documentation of Vision Disabilities

Students who are seeking support services from Washington State University Tri-Cities on the basis of a vision disability will be required to submit documentation of a disability to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information will be kept in a separate file in the Disability Services Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student.

Documentation should show current impact of the disability. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying appropriate academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids.

Any vision loss evaluation would be considered to be in the medical domain and require the expertise of a qualified licensed eye care professional. The documentation should include:

  1. The date of most recent visit, diagnosis of the eye disorder, and its pathology specific to this individual;
  2. A brief description of the severity of the vision loss, and current impact or limitations;
  3. Any medically relevant testing results;
  4. A description of assistive devices or services currently prescribed or in use, including the possible effectiveness of these devices or services in an educational setting;
  5. A description of the expected progression or stability of the vision loss over time.

Suggestions of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids with supporting evidence may be included. The final determination for providing appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids rests with Washington State University’s Disability Services Office.

Guidelines for Documentation of Psychiatric Disabilities


Students who are seeking support services on the basis of a psychiatric disability will be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information will be kept in a separate file in the Disability Services Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student.

For the purpose of this policy, a psychological/psychiatric disability is defined as an impairment of cognitive, educational, and/or social functioning caused by a disorder as described in the American Psychiatric Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 4th edition (DSM IV) or successive editions.

Documentation should show current impact of the disability. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying appropriate academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids. The report must be prepared by a qualified mental health professional.

The documentation should:

  1. Specify the nature, severity, current impact of the disability, and anticipated duration;
  2. State the diagnosis in the nomenclature used by the DSM IV or successive editions;
  3. Address the student's current ability to function in the college environment (e.g. ability to focus, organize one's time, attend class, work in groups or alone);
  4. Include medication and the current side effects that may impact the student in an educational setting.

Suggestions of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids with supporting evidence may be included. The final determination for providing appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids rests with the Disability Services Office. Questions or concerns regarding documentation requirements can be directed to Cherish Tijerina Pearson (509) 372-7352 or ctijerina@tricity.wsu.edu.

Guidelines for Documenting of Health and Physical Disabilities


Students who are seeking support services from WSU Tri-Cities for a health or physical disability will be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information will be kept in a separate file in the Disability Services Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student.

Health and physical disabilities include but are not limited to: Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries, cancer, AIDS, Muscular Dystrophy, and Spina Bifida. Any health or physical disability is considered to be in the medical domain and require the diagnosis by a qualified medical professional. Information describing the certification, licensure, and/or the professional training of individuals conducting the evaluation must be provided.

Documentation should show current impact of the disability. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying appropriate academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids.

The documentation should include:

  1. A clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the physical disability or illness;
  2. How the disability limits a major life activity, including but not limited to walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, performing manual tasks, caring for one's self, learning, or working;
  3. A description of the type and severity of current symptoms and functional impact of the disability;
  4. Medical information relating to the student's needs to include the existing side effects of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment (physical, perceptual, behavioral, or cognitive);
  5. A description of treatments, medications, assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use, including the possible effectiveness of these devices or services in an educational setting;
  6. A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability over time.

Suggestions of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids with supporting evidence may be included. The final determination for providing appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids rests with Disability Services Office.

Guidelines for the Documentation of Learning Disabilities


Students who are seeking support services from Washington State University Tri-Cities on the basis of learning disability will be required to submit documentation of a disability to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information will be kept in a separate file in the Disability Services Office.

The student is responsible for providing this documentation. Documentation of a learning disability consists of the provision of professional testing and evaluation including a written report, which reflects the student's present level of information processing as well as his or her achievement level.

Documentation should show current impact of the disability. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are most useful for documenting eligibility and identifying appropriate academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids. The documentation should:

  1. Be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose learning disabilities, which would include: a licensed neuropsychologist or psychologist, learning disability specialist, clinical or educational psychologist, or other appropriately qualified professional. Experience in the evaluation of adults with learning disabilities is essential;
  2. Be comprehensive. The use of a single test and/or informal screening instruments (such as Slingerland, Peabody, Slossen and Scotopic Sensitivity Screening) is not acceptable for the purpose of diagnosis. Minimally, areas to be addressed must include but not be limited to:
    • Aptitude. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS III) including subtest scores is preferred. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability is acceptable. The Leiter International Performance Scale or the Comprehensive Test of Non-Verbal Intelligence is accepted when cultural bias or hearing loss is a concern;
    • Achievement. A comprehensive academic achievement battery is essential with all subtests and standard scores reported for those subtests administered. The battery should include current levels of functioning in reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and written language. Acceptable instruments include the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised: Test of Achievement; Stanford Test of Academic Skills; or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language-2,Woodcock Reading Master Test-Revised, or the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test. (The Wide Range Achievement Test Revised is NOT a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore is not suitable.);
    • Information Processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and longterm memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual perception/processing; processing speed, executive functioning, and motor ability) must be assessed. Use of subtests from the WAIS III or the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability are acceptable; (This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of testing instruments or to restrict assessment in other pertinent and helpful areas, such as vocational interest and aptitudes. Future revisions of the above listed testing instruments will be accepted.)
  3. Be current. In most cases, this means within the past three years and adult normed testing instruments. The provision of all academic adjustments and auxiliary aids is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student's disabilities on his or her academic performance. It is in a student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation to serve as the basis for decision making about adjustments in an academically competitive environment;
  4. Present clear and specific evidence, which identifies the learning disabilities and reflects the individual's present level of functioning in aptitude, achievement, and processing. Individual "learning styles" and "learning differences" in and of themselves do not specify a learning disability;
  5. Include the exact instruments used and procedures followed to assess the learning disabilities. Test results (including subtests score data), standard scores, and/or percentiles should be provided for all normed measures. Grade equivalents alone are NOT acceptable. All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, and signed.

Suggestions of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids with supporting evidence may be included. The final determination for providing appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids rests with Washington State University Tri-Cities Disability Services Office.

Guidelines for Documenting Attention Disabilities


Students who are seeking support services from Washington State University Tri-Cities on the basis of an attention disability will be required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of disability and related information will be kept in a separate file in the Disability Services Office. The cost and responsibility for providing this documentation shall be borne by the student.

Although the more generic term Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is frequently used, the official nomenclature used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) or successive editions, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), will be used in this document. Documentation should show current impact of the disability. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the evaluation and report are appropriate for documenting eligibility and identifying appropriate academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids. The report should clearly state the names, titles, professional credentials, addresses, and phone numbers of the evaluators, indicate date(s) of testing, and be on official letterhead, typed, dated, and signed.

The documentation should:

  1. Be prepared by a professional who has comprehensive training in differential diagnosis and direct experience working with adolescents and adults with ADHD which may include: clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevantly trained medical doctors;
  2. Be current. The provision of all academic adjustments and auxiliary aids are based upon the assessment of the current impact of the disability on academic performance. This means that the diagnostic evaluation should show the current level of functioning and impact of the disability;
  3. Be comprehensive. Minimally, areas to be addressed should include:
    • Evidence of early and current impairment. Diagnostic assessment should consist of more than a self-report. Due to the fact that ADHD is, by definition in the DSM-IV, first exhibited in childhood and manifests itself in more than one setting, a comprehensive assessment typically includes a clinical summary of objective historical information garnered from sources such as transcripts, report cards, teacher comments, tutoring evaluations, psycho-educational testing, medical history, employment history, family history, and third party interviews when available;
    • Alternative diagnoses or explanations should be ruled out. Possible alternative diagnoses including medical, psychiatric disorders, and educational or cultural factors affecting the individual that may result in behaviors mimicking ADHD should be explored;
  4. Include relevant testing information. Test scores or subtest scores alone should not be used as a sole measure for the diagnostic decision regarding ADHD. Selected subtest scores from measures of intellectual ability, memory functions tests, attention or tracking tests, or continuous performance tests do not in and of themselves establish the presence or absence of ADHD. Checklists and/or surveys can serve to supplement the diagnostic profile, but in and of themselves are not adequate for the diagnosis of ADHD;
  5. If applicable, present a specific diagnosis of ADHD based on the DSM-IV, or successive editions, diagnostic criteria. The diagnostician should use direct language in the diagnosis of ADHD, avoiding the use of such terms as "suggests," "is indicative of," or "attention problems";
  6. Provide a comprehensive interpretive summary synthesizing the evaluator's judgment for the diagnosis. The report should include: all quantitative information in standard scores and/or percentiles, all relevant developmental, familial, medical, psychosocial, behavioral, and academic information; and a clear identification of the substantial limitation(s) of a major life function presented by the ADHD.

Suggestions of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids with supporting evidence may be included. The final determination for providing appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids rests with WSU Tri-Cities's Disability Services Office.

Contact Information

Disability Services
Washington State University Tri-Cities
2710 Crimson Way
Richland WA 99354-1671
509-372-7352