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Psychological Disabilities

Documentation Guidelines for Psychological Disabilities

Students requesting accommodations and/or services from Counseling and Disabilities Services (CDS) at Catawba College are required to submit documentation of the disability to determine eligibility in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended 2008.

The following guidelines are provided in order to insure that the documentation is current, complete, and Accurate. CDS determines eligibility and appropriate services based on a case-by-case review of one's documentation and on an interactive process between the student and the Director of CDS.  

Documentation of a disability is not a part of the student's admission, academic, or disciplinary records with the College. All documentation is confidential and is securely maintained by CDS.

A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation. The professional conducting the evaluation must be qualified to make the diagnosis of psychological disabilities and to recommend appropriate academic and/or service accommodations. Professionals such as physicians, medical specialists, psychiatrists, Psychologists, social workers, and counselors with training and experience in diagnosing psychological disabilities is essential.

It is recommended that documentation should include the following:

  • A diagnostic report that identifies the disability, describes how the condition was diagnosed, provides information on the functional impact, details the typical progression or prognosis of the condition, and includes a review of developmental and medical history, academic, family, and psychosocial history. Diagnoses based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual- Fourth Edition, Revised (DSM-IV-TR) are preferred.               
  • The information must be current. This usually means that testing has been done within the past 5 years, physicians' reports should be current to within the past year, reports on current accommodations are to be within the past year, and suggestions for treatment be current to within the past year. Or, the above reports can be a current update on records from the past.              
  • Quantitative and qualitative information that supports the diagnosis.              
  • Summary and interpretation of any assessment instruments (formal assessment instruments and/or clinical interview); neither a 504 plan nor an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) constitute sufficient documentation alone but may be submitted as part of a more comprehensive evaluation report. IEP plans may date back through high school.                                    
  • For any testing, actual test scores must be provided;  standard scores are required; percentiles and grade equivalents are only acceptable if standard scores are also included.              
  • Information regarding the specific academic and/or environmental functions affected by the disability and the severity of the impairment.              
  • Investigation/evaluation of dual and/or confounding diagnosis (e.g., mood, substance abuse, learning, and personality disorders, etc.).              
  • Current and past accommodations and treatment including medication, vocational rehabilitation, assistive technology, auxiliary aids, support services, etc. This should also include how effective these things were in addressing the functional impact of the disability. A discussion of significant side effects that may impact perceptual, behavioral, or cognitive performance is helpful as well.              
  • Recommendations for academic/service accommodations that are logically related to the functional limitations. The final determination of appropriate accommodations/services rests with CDS of Catawba College.              
  • Evaluation reports should be typed on letterhead, signed, dated and be legible;  the report must include the name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator- including information about licensure and/or specialization.