Autism Spectrum Disorder Documentation Guidelines

The UWM Accessibility Resource Center provides academic accommodations and services to students with diagnosed disabilities. Students are required to provide comprehensive documentation to verify that the diagnosed disorder or condition meets the legal definition of disability covered under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADAAA, 2009).

The ADAAA defines disability as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”. Merely submitting evidence of a diagnosis is not sufficient to warrant academic accommodations. Similarly, nonspecific diagnoses, such as “adjustment problems,” “emotional difficulties,” “poor communication,” and/or “test difficulty/anxiety” in and of themselves do not constitute a disability.

Documentation should clearly demonstrate that a student has one or more functional limitations in an academic setting and that they are severe enough to require an accommodation to achieve equal access.

Documentation for Autism Spectrum Disorder will include ONE of the following:

Please note: comprehensive psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluations may be required to support specific accommodation requests. Evaluators should not be related to the individual being assessed. Please contact ARC at (414) 229-6287 with questions.

The student should provide a psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation in addition to an IEP from high school. The evaluation should include:

  1. DSM-V or ICD Diagnosis (text and code), given based on a formal assessment of current psychological and health status, and a formal diagnosis of a disabling condition provided by a licensed treatment provider (e.g., psychiatrist, licensed clinical psychologist, licensed social worker, etc.) Licensed treatment provider should not be related to the individual being assessed.
    • a. Date of diagnosis.
    • b. Date of last contact. The assessment must be current. Accommodations are based on an assessment of the current nature and impact of your disability.
  2. Comprehensive Evaluation
    • a. A diagnostic interview and other tools used to support the diagnosis.
    • b. The evaluation should include treatments (e.g., medication, therapy) currently in use. Information on medication side effects is useful and may be considered in accommodation decisions.
    • c. Onset, history, and prognosis of diagnosis and symptoms.
  3. Functional limitations: Should be determined WITHOUT consideration of mitigating measures (i.e. medication, etc.).
    • a. Major life activities that are functionally limited by the individual’s symptoms.
    • b. Behavioral manifestations of the diagnosis that functionally limits the individual in the academic setting. Information to consider includes the severity, pervasiveness, and frequency of symptoms.
    • c. Any special considerations that should be made (i.e. side effects of medication, etc.)
  4. Accommodations: A description of accommodations and services used in the past and recommended accommodations for the future. It is important to note that ARC makes the determination regarding what accommodations are appropriate in the University environment.

The diagnostic report must include the name and title, and license number of the evaluator. Evaluation reports should be on letterhead.

General Guidelines for all Disabilities
It is understood that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified during the initial diagnostic process. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of current need, does not in and of itself warrant provision of accommodations. ARC will make the final determination on eligibility for services based upon the documentation and an interview with the student.

Documentation submitted to ARC is considered confidential and maintained separately from the student’s educational record.

Documentation should be sent to the following address:

Accessibility Resource Center
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413 Milwaukee, WI. 53201

Fax to: (414) 229-2237
Email to: archelp@uwm.edu

Reviewed: August 2017