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San Diego State University

Student Ability Success Center

Eligibility and Documentation Criteria

At SDSU, students initiate contact with Student Disability Services in order to determine eligibility for services and accommodations.  Please review the following information carefully before submitting supporting documentation and your application for services.

Eligibility

California State University policy charges Student Disability Services with the responsibility to review documentation of disability, to determine legally mandated accommodations and services, and to work with university faculty and staff to provide accommodations and services to students at San Diego State University.

Students may qualify for accommodations and services if their documentation meets the definition of disability as stated in the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).  The documentation must establish that they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  Life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.  A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function.

In addition, students with a record of impairment or who are regarded as having such an impairment are protected against discrimination, even though their current level of functioning may not establish a need for accommodations and services.

Students with temporary disabilities lasting less than six months are not eligible for protection under the ADAAA; however, Student Disability Services recognizes the need to provide services to students with temporary disabling conditions so that they can continue to make progress toward their degrees. Typical arrangements include test accommodations, golf cart service, or volunteer notetakers, depending upon the nature of the temporary disability.

Verification of Disability

The director or director’s designee has the authority to verify a disability if the nature and extent of the disability is evident. Where a disability cannot be verified by observation, documentation for either permanent or temporary disabilities may be provided by a licensed physician, psychologist, audiologist, or speech pathologist. Documentation may also be accepted from a licensed clinical social worker, rehabilitation counselor, marriage and family therapist, learning disability specialist, or other appropriate certified/licensed professional.  It is not acceptable for relatives or close friends to provide this documentation, regardless of qualifications.

Diagnostic reports must include the names and titles of the evaluators as well as the date(s) of testing. All reports should be on a letterhead, typed, dated and signed. 

Requests for accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis and the determination of actual services and accommodations will be made by Student Disability Services.

Acceptable documentation of Disability

The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and to support requests for accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids.



Acceptable Documentation of a Learning Disability (LD)

Students who are seeking support services from Student Disability Services (SDS) at San Diego State University are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility under California State University’s Eligibility Criteria for Learning Disability Support Services and Policy on Provision of Services for Students with Disabilities.

A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation.  Professionals generally considered qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities are clinical or educational psychologists, school psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, and speech and language pathologists.  Diagnostic reports must include names and titles of the evaluators as well as the date(s) of testing.

Documentation of disability must include:

1. A clear diagnosis of disability.

2. Assessment of a learning disability must be comprehensive and include developmental history, family history, psychosocial history, academic history, language history, medical history, and clinical observations.

3. Documentation must state the major life activities that are affected by the condition as well as the functional limitations of the disability within an academic environment.

4. Testing must be current and comprehensive and include test scores/data (standard scores). In most cases, this means within the past three to five years.

5. If available, include a psychoeducational report.

Recommended Instruments to be Used for Testing:

It is not acceptable to administer a single test instrument, nor is it acceptable to base a diagnosis on only one of the several sub-tests.  Objective evidence of a substantial limitation to learning must be provided.  The tests used must be reliable, valid and standardized for use with an adult population.  The test findings should document both the nature and severity of the learning disability.  Minimally, domains to be addressed must include (but are not limited to):

1. Aptitude

    • In evaluating aptitude, specific areas of information processing, memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed and reasoning must be assessed.
    • The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-III (WJ-III): Tests of Cognitive Ability with subtest scores is the preferred instrument OR the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III or IV (WAIS III or WAIS IV).
    • The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) is not an acceptable assessment instrument for an adult population.

2. Achievement

    • Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics and written language are required.
    • The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-III (WJ-III): Tests of Achievement, or the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test- III (WIAT III) are the preferred instruments.

Note: The Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) is not a comprehensive measure of achievement and is therefore not suitable as a sole measure of achievement.


 

Acceptable Documentation for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

Each student seeking accommodations and services from San Diego State University's Student Disability Services must have a comprehensive evaluation, which demonstrates impaired attention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity, on file before receiving services. The disability must be verified by a licensed professional, with expertise in the differential diagnosis of AD/HD and direct experience with an adult population. 

If possible, a psychoeducational evaluation should be provided, since it will be useful in determining the current impact of the AD/HD on academic functioning.  If provided, it must include an assessment of aptitude as well as academic achievement with all subtests and scores reported.

Documentation of disability must include:

1.  A clear statement of the DSM-IV diagnosis and instruments used in making the diagnosis.  Alternative diagnoses and medical or psychological disorders with behaviors that appear similar to AD/HD must be ruled out.

2.  A summary of educational, medical, family histories and behavioral observations, which substantiates a diagnosis of AD/HD.

 3.  Prior assessment to determine a history of attention problems if it established the diagnosis, with a statement of how the disorder substantially interferes with the student's educational progress.

4.  If applicable, information relating to current medication used to treat AD/HD and the impact (if any) of the medication on the student's ability to meet academic demands.

Recommended instruments to be used are:

1. Aptitude

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV) or Woodcock Johnson–III (WJ-III) Tests of Cognitive Ability-extended

2. Achievement 

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-III (WIAT - III) or Woodcock Johnson-IV  (WJ-IV) Tests of Achievement and Nelson Denny Reading Tests (optional)      


 

Acceptable Documentation for Psychological Disabilities

The disability must be verified by a licensed professional who has expertise in the differential diagnosis of psychological impairments and with direct experience with an adult population. If possible, a psycho-educational evaluation should be provided, since it will be useful in determining the current impact of the impairment on academic functioning.  If provided, it must include an assessment of aptitude as well as academic achievement with all subtests and scores reported.

Documentation of disability must include: 

1. A clear statement of the DSM-IV diagnosis and instruments used in making the diagnosis.

2. A summary of educational, medical, family histories and behavioral observations, which substantiates a diagnosis of disability.

3. Prior assessment to determine a history of psychological problems if it established the diagnosis, with a statement of how the disorder substantially interferes with the student's educational progress.

4. If applicable, information relating to current medication used to treat the impairment and the impact (if any) of the medication on the student's ability to meet academic demands.

Recommended instruments to be used are:

1. Aptitude

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV) or Woodcock Johnson–III (WJ-III) Tests of Cognitive Ability-extended.

2. Achievement

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-III (WIAT-III) or Woodcock Johnson-IV(WJ-IV) Tests of Achievement and Nelson Denny Reading Tests (optional).

 


Acceptable Documentation for Students who are Hard-of-Hearing or Deaf

Students who are hard-of-hearing or deaf must provide (1) a medical report and (2) a recent copy of an audiogram (within 3 years if progressive) to Student Disability Services in order to establish eligibility and assign appropriate accommodations. 


 

Acceptable Documentation for Visual Limitations

Documentation of disability must include:

1. A clear diagnosis of disability from an optometrist or ophthamologist.

2. Functional limitations of the disability for which accommodation is being requested and whether the degree of limitation is mild/moderate or substantial.

3. Medications currently being taken and their side effects.


 

Acceptable Documentation for Physical Disabilities: Mobility

Documentation of disability must include:

1. A clear diagnosis of disability, prognosis, and anticipated duration of impairment.

2. An assessment of the functional limitations of the disability  for which accommodations are being requested, and whether the degree of limitation is mild, moderate, or substantial.

3. Medication currently being taken and their side effects.


 

Acceptable Documentation for Physical Disabilties: Health-related

Examples of health-related disabilities include epilepsy, diabetes, and acquired brain injury (ABI).

Documentation of disability must include:

1. A clear diagnosis of disability, prognosis, and anticipated duration of impairment.

2. An assessment of the functional limitations of the disability  for which accommodations are being requested, and whether the degree of limitation is mild, moderate, or substantial.

3. Medication currently being taken and their side effects.