Documentation of a Disability

The purpose of providing documentation of a disability is so the student can receive the appropriate accommodations.

In postsecondary education it is the responsibility of the student to identify that they have a disability and provide documentation of their disabling condition to the appropriate representative of the institution. This is usually the Accessibility Services Coordinator.

Accommodations are to be provided based on the evaluation of the student, results and recommendations prescribed by the documenting professional.

A qualifying professional is someone trained to diagnose your particular condition and has been specifically trained to do so. A disability is an impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities. Life activities are activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself and performing manual tasks.

Bemidji State University (and most other postsecondary institutions in Minnesota) requires that students provide documentation that reasonably reflects the students’ current disability status.

  • The professional must provide a clear statement of the student’s diagnosis or impairment.They must state exactly what the student’s condition or diagnosis is.
  • When was the condition first diagnosed and by whom?
  • What assessments were given and what were the results of each assessment?
  • The professional must clearly indicate the student’s strengths and how they can be best used by the student to overcome weaker areas.
  • What is the current level of cognitive functioning?
  • Are the results indicative that the condition substantially limits the student in one or more life activities? What activities specifically and to what extent?
  • What accommodations does the professional specifically recommend and why that particular accommodations? (Accommodations and auxiliary aids may include note takers, tape recorders, separate test settings, etc.)
  • If that accommodation were not available or provided, what would be the impact to the student’s learning? What might an alternative accommodation be?