Information/documentation about a disability is essential to understanding the functional challenges that students, faculty, or staff members with medical conditions, sensory disabilities, psychological/emotional challenges, or learning difficulties are experiencing. This information may come from different sources, but begins with the individual's own report and is supplemented by medical information from clinical providers, educational evaluations, faculty observations, or from other support systems that can shed light on the challenges that need to be addressed. This information helps the Office of Disability Services use it's expertise and experience to determine the type of accommodations and services needed.
Our process begins with a conversation where we learn more about you and discuss the areas where you may need accommodations or support. We discuss possible solutions that may involve specific services, individualized accommodations, referrals for medical care or treatment, or learn strategies for academic success, job performance, utilizing resources, or improving social participation.
Information from an outside licensed professional will be required when it is necessary to determine appropriate accommodations or services. If you do not have a provider or this is a new area of concern, you are more than welcome to meet with the Disability Services Director to get things started.
The Disability Coordinator for Academic Access is also available to review existing documentation related to learning challenges, evaluate the need for further testing, help inform the process of determining necessary accommodations and advise about the appropriateness of other campus and community-based supports.
If you have information/documentation already, please bring it with you to your first meeting with us or have it sent from your providers based on the instructions below:
- Medical/Physical Disability
- Psychiatric Disability
- Learning Disability
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
It is the responsibility of the student to obtain and supply the college with all necessary disability information. However, we can assist you in finding local providers or clinicians who can do psychoeducational testing if needed. Clear, comprehensive and current documentation must be submitted with sufficient time for it to be reviewed and for any necessary accommodations to be arranged. Insufficient information that does not follow these guidelines may result in delays in receiving accommodations.
Smith College follows the suggested guidelines for Information/Documentation established by the Association of Higher Education and the Disabled (AHEAD)
Information/Documentation provided must state:
- your diagnosis and course of treatment
- the nature and severity of your functional limitations
- the duration for which they are expected to continue
- contain scores and identify tests adminstered as appropriate
- must substantiate the need for specific accommodations requested
If your clinician feels that your condition or learning difficulties are significant enough to constitute a disability, this should be explicitly stated.
Information/Documentation Not Accepted
- Examples of unacceptable documentation include a brief note from a doctor that simply requests an accommodation, information or notes written on prescription pad, or a copy of aftercare instruction given to patients.
- Documentation of a learning disability which is not comprehensive or which identifies learning "problems or challenges," but does not specifically diagnose a learning disability, will need to be supplemented in most circumstances.
- Medical documentation or testing for learning disabilities in grades K-12 under special education programs which meet individual state requirements may or may not be acceptable at the college leve.
- Disability information is not reviewed to assess the need for medical or clinical intervention or remedial educational services. Clinical consultation to correct or remedicate specific learning or medical problems is not provided or paid for by the college.
If you have any questions about whether the information you or your clinicians are providing is sufficient, please contact us.