Center for Students with Disabilities

Disability Documentation Policies

In accordance with the Americans and Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination and assured services and accommodations that provide equal access to the activities and programs of the university. To establish that an individual is covered under the ADA, documentation must indicate that the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities. If academic or classroom-based accommodations are requested, learning must be one of the major life activities affected. Documentation submitted must:

  • Be appropriate to verify eligibility
  • Demonstrate a current substantial impact of one or more major life activities, and
  • Support the request for accommodations and or auxiliary aids

To qualify for disability services through the Center for Students with Disabilities students are required to provide diagnostic documentation from a licensed clinical professional familiar with the history and functional implications of the impairments. Disability documentation must adequately verify the nature and extent of the disability in accordance with current professional standards and techniques, and it must clearly substantiate the need for all of the student's specific accommodation requests. All documentation must be submitted on the official letterhead of the professional describing the disability. The report should be dated and signed and include the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification. If the original documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or reasonable accommodation, the University has the discretion to require additional documentation. Any cost incurred in obtaining additional documentation when the original records are inadequate is borne by the student. If the documentation is complete but the University desires a second professional opinion, the University bears the latter cost. In general, it is not acceptable for such documentation to include a diagnosis or testing performed by a member of the student's family. Additionally, students requesting accommodations for the manifestations of multiple disabilities must provide evidence of all such conditions.


The WI Disability Documentation Guide is strictly a guide, not a statue policy or set of mandated procedures. This individual postsecondary institutions are responsible for establishing and implementing their acceptable disability documentation criteria and procedures. Generally, postsecondary institutions are requesting disability documentation from an official medial/professional, licensed/certified to diagnosis and provide evidence and recommendations for the students disability(ies). Examples of medical/professionals that postsecondary institutions are generally currently accepting as qualified to make a diagnosis are private and educational psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed physicians, other licensed health professionals, such as optometrists, speech/language pathologist, and others. In most cases, the IEP Team recommendation of the special education category in K-12 will not satisfy this requirement. Each of the WI Technical College, UW Institution, and WI Independent Colleges Disability Services website is listed in Section 6 of the Guide for your reference and to check their institutional requirements, forms, process, and recommendations.

WI Postsecondary Disability Documentation Guide (January 2011) [PDF]