Disability Documentation Criteria

A student is not entitled to accommodations until he/she identifies her-/himself as a student with a disability. To receive accommodations for a disability, the student must provide the college with documentation of the disability from a qualified evaluator. 

There is no time period as to when a person must identify, but the college is permitted a reasonable period of time to make accommodations.

Documentation on file for the applicant must:

  1. Clearly state the diagnosed disability
  2. Describe the functional limitations resulting from the disability
  3. Be current:
    --LD--within the last 5 years
    --Psychiatric disabilities—within last six months 
    --All other—within last 3 years 
    This requirement does not apply to physical or sensory disabilities of a permanent or unchanging nature.
  4. Include complete educational, developmental, and medical history relevant to the disability for which accommodations are requested.
  5. Include a list of all test instruments used in the evaluation report and relevant subtest scores used to document the stated disability. (Does not apply to physical or sensory disabilities of a permanent or unchanging nature.)
  6. Describe the specific accommodations requested.
  7. State why the disability qualifies the applicant for the accommodations requested.
  8. Be typed and printed on official letterhead and signed by an evaluator qualified to make the diagnosis (include information about license or certification and area of specialization.)

If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability and reasonable accommodations, the Academic Support Center Director has the discretion to require submission of additional documentation. The cost of obtaining documentation is the student's responsibility.

The student must initiate the action by contacting the Academic Support Center located on the first floor of the Memorial Library. Call 706-233-4080 for assistance.

If the student does not provide documentation, no accommodations will be provided. Parents cannot identify special needs for their child. Only accommodations supported by the recommendations of a licensed evaluator will be implemented. Students with the same disability may require different accommodations.

Upon receipt of the release of information form and the medical documentation, the information will be evaluated to determine reasonable accommodations. Only the ASC will identify and accommodate students with disabilities. All accommodations must originate from the ASC outlining the accommodations to be implemented for the student.

Students with documented special needs (i.e. learning disabilities, emotional, psychological, or physical disabilities) are urged to self-identify to the Academic Support Center director as soon as the student decides to attend Berry College.

Required Documentation for Specific Learning Disabilities (LD)

The student must submit a current, written diagnostic report of specific learning disabilities that is no more than five years old, if testing is done after age 18. The assessment must be administered by a trained and qualified (i.e., certified and/or licensed) professional (e.g., psychologist, school psychologist, neuro-psychologist, educational diagnostician) with direct experience with adolescents and adults with learning disabilities.

An appropriate psycho-educational evaluation must include comprehensive measures in each of the following areas:

  • Aptitude The evaluation must contain a complete intellectual assessment, with all sub-tests and standard scores reported.
  • Academic Achievement The evaluation must include a comprehensive achievement battery with all sub-tests and standard scores reported. The test battery should include current levels of functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written expression.
  • Information Processing The evaluation should assess specific information processing areas such as short- and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed, executive function, and motor ability.

Examples of Acceptable Measures

Aptitude

  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R)
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition
  • Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability
  • Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test

Achievement

  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised: Tests of Achievement (W-JR)
  • Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK)
  • Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA)

Information Processing

  • Subtests of the WAIS-R or WAIS Third Edition
  • Subtests on the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability

A Written Diagnostic Report

The diagnostic report must include: relevant historical information, past and current academic achievement, instructional foundation, past performance in areas of difficulty, age at initial diagnosis, and history of accommodations used in past educational settings and their effectiveness.

  • A list of all instruments used in the test battery
  • A discussion of test behavior and specific test results
  • A diagnostic summary statement with the following information:
  • A clear and direct statement that a learning disability does or does not exist, including the ruling out of alternative explanations for the learning problems. Terms such as "appears," "suggests," or "probable" in the diagnostic summary statement do not support a conclusive diagnosis.
  • A clear statement specifying the substantial limitations to one or more major life activities.
  • A psychometric summary of scores
  • Recommendations and a rationale for accommodations.

Any diagnosis of specific learning disabilities without psycho-educational measures may not be used for determining eligibility for academic accommodations. For example, school plans such as Individualized Education Plans (IEPS) or 504 Plans are not adequate documentation; however, they may be included with the required evaluation.

Required Documentation for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

The student must submit a current (no more than five years old) diagnosis of ADHD based on appropriate diagnostic evaluations administered by trained and qualified (i.e., certified or licensed) professionals (e.g., psychiatrists, psychologists, or neuro-psychologists).

The diagnostic report must include:

  1. A diagnostic interview addressing relevant historical information, past and current academic achievement, age at initial diagnosis, discussion of medication, and history and effectiveness of accommodations in past educational settings.
  2. The procedures used to diagnose the disability including a list of all instruments used in the assessment
  3. A discussion of the testing results and the behaviors and symptoms that meet the criteria diagnosis.
  4. DSM-IV diagnosis (include all five axis)
  5. Diagnostic summary statement that includes the following information:
  • A clear statement that ADHD/ADD does or does not exist and   rules out alternative explanations for behaviors. Statements such as "appears," "suggests," or "has problems with" in the diagnostic summary do not support a conclusive diagnosis.
  • A clear statement specifying the degree of severity and the substantial limitations to one or more major life activities. If the limitations are in learning (i.e., reading, mathematics, and/or written expression), an appropriate psycho-educational evaluation must also be administered to substantiate these ability/achievement discrepancies.
  • A recommendation for medications or further medical evaluation.
  • Recommendations and rationale for accommodations.

Students with sensory, physical, psychological or other health impairments are also required to submit written documentation; typically, this will be a medical report or letter from a physician.   

The Academic Support Center reserves the right to request reassessment when previous assessment is inadequate and/or out-of-date.  

The ASC determines appropriate academic adjustments and arranges to provide needed auxiliary aids. Accommodations are provided at no expense to the student and are based upon each individual’s unique needs. The process of requesting and receiving accommodations is interactive; all people involved—the student, the instructor and the ASC, and sometimes individual departments and programs, work together to make sure the process works. It is the responsibility of the director of the ASC to determine eligibility for services based on documented disability and consultation with others as needed.