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OAR Documentation Guidelines

NOTE: Individualized Education Plans (IEP) or 504 Plans DO NOT fulfill documentation of disability.

Documentation of a disability should:

  • Be current and within five years
  • Indicate the full name and birthdate of the student
  • Contain contact information and credentials of a qualified and "Reliable Medical Professional"
  • Specify a clearly stated diagnosis or diagnostic statement that identifies the disability with information that describes:  
         -how the condition was diagnosed
         -notes the functional impact, and
         -details the typical progression or prognosis
  • Denote the visit(s)/session(s) of the evaluation and the lenth of treatment, if applicable
  • A description of current functional limitations in an academic and/or environmental setting
  • On letterhead with the date, name and signature of the licensed professional making the diagnosis.

If the student is having difficulty obtaining their documentation, or if the university needs additional information, the OAR may provide the supplemental "Documentation of Disability" form.

Helpful Tips about Documentation of a Disability:

  • Provide the best, most recent documentation (accommodations are based on the current impact of the disability).
  • Evaluations conducted in childhood may not be sufficient.
  • Remember to address the student's ability to function in an academic environment and include recommendations for accommodations.
  • Keep in mind WCU is not obliged to approve every accommodation by qualified, reliable medical professionals.
  • IEPs or 504 Plans do not alone serve as documentation of disability (thought it is often helpful and may be included in a student's overall assessment).
  • A physician's prescription pad note is not acceptable as documentation of disability.
  • The OAR does not obtain information regarding a student's disability through the admissions process.
  • We do not pay for testing, evaluations and/or a diagnosis.
  • All accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and in consideration of that student's unique situation.


To ensure the provision of reasonable and appropriate accommodations, a student must submit their current documentation of a disability. Documentation must validate the presence of a disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act.  With respect to the individual, the definition of a person with a disability includes (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment.  Documentation helps establish if the student meets the definition of a person with a disability and should describe functional limitations to support the need for, and reasonableness of specific accommodations. All documentation is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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