Guidelines for Documentation of a Medical Disability

Guidelines for Documentation of a Medical Disability

To qualify for services, a student must provide documentation of a diagnosed medical disability. The guidelines that follow are provided to assure that evaluation reports are appropriate to determine eligibility and to support requests for reasonable accommodations. The Center for Academic Excellence is available to consult with students or diagnosticians regarding the following guidelines.

Practioners Who Can Provide a Diagnosis

Licensed Physicians with expertise in the area of disability, (i.e. Neurologist, Orthopedist, Psychiatrist).

Recency of Documentation

If the physical disability or other medical condition is stable, then the original diagnosis along with recent documentation of the current impact of the condition is needed. If physical condition is unstable, it is best to provide documentation that is as close as possible to the date that accommodations are requested, usually within the last six months.

Contents of Documentation

  1. A specific medical diagnosis.
  2. Functional limitations on major life activities as a result of the physical or medical condition. These may include but are not limited to:
    • Limitations on functional activity such as walking, sitting, reaching, etc., should be as detailed as possible.
    • Fatigue
    • Ability to physically attend classes
    • Cognitive impact due to medical treatment
  3. Evidence to support the functional limitations statements made in #2. This may include but is not limited to:
    • Clinical observation/interview
    • Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Evaluation or Report
    • Physician Evaluation or Report
  4. Recommended Accommodations. All accommodations should be directly related to functional limitations listed in #2. The rationale for each recommendation should be contained in #3 above.
  5. Recommendations for other supports, strategies or services that may benefit the individual in a higher education environment. This includes suggestions for the use of adaptive equipment and assistive technology. Also discuss how the use of medications may affect impairments or functional abilities and how any side effects from medication may impact the student's ability to perform adequately in the post-secondary setting.
  6. Other pertinent diagnoses or recommendations for other evaluations that may be needed. This should also include any anticipated changes in the student's condition.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list or to restrict assessment in other pertinent areas. Acceptable alternative evaluations may be determined by the Center for Academic Excellence.

Students seeking qualified professionals for assessments may find referral sources from disability services staff at a college or university, or from a physician. The Center for Academic Excellence is available to assist with selection criteria for a qualified professional.

All documentation is confidential and should be sent to:

Student Accessibility Services
Center for Academic Excellence
Franklin Pierce University
40 University Drive
Rindge, NH 03461
Phone: 603-899-4107 
Fax: 603-899-4395


Student Accessibility Services

Center for Academic Excellence(603) 899-4107

Office Hours

Mon - Fri:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.