Psychological Disabilities Documentation Guidelines

The Accessibility Resource Center provides academic accommodations and services to students with documented disabilities. Students are required to provide comprehensive documentation to verify that a diagnosed disorder meets the legal definition of disability covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 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.

Documentation from a recognized agency such as DVR, may be considered, but specific accommodation requests may require the documentation outlined below. Students may have their physician complete the ARC Psychiatric Disability Assessment Form.  A physician, or psychologist with experience and expertise in the area related to the student’s disability, should make the diagnosis.

Students may:

  • Have their physician complete the Psychiatric Disability Assessment Form (opens in a new tab)
    -or-
  • Provide an evaluation from their physician or psychologist which includes the following:
    1. DSM-5 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.
    2. Date of Diagnosis.
    3. Date of Last Contact. Accommodations are based upon an assessment of the current nature and impact of disability. Because psychological conditions frequently change over time, a current evaluation is essential in determining reasonable accommodations. In general, this means that evaluation must have been completed within the last six to twelve months prior to accommodation requests. In addition, depending on the nature of the disability, evaluations may need to be updated on a semester-by-semester or yearly basis.
    4. Comprehensive Evaluation. This includes a diagnostic interview, history, and a summary of treatment (medication, therapy, etc).
    5. Functional Limitations. A description of major life activities substantially limited by the condition, particularly in an academic setting. This should be determined WITHOUT consideration of mitigating measures (i.e. medication, etc.). If condition is episodic in nature, level of functioning should be assessed based on active phase of symptoms. Include severity, pervasiveness, and frequency of symptoms as well as medication side effects.
    6. Accommodations: A description of accommodations and services used in the past and recommended accommodations.

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

Upload documentation when completing the online application or via ARConnect

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

July 2019