Documentation Guidelines

Disability documentation is information from an appropriately certified professional who has completed an assessment of disability or is providing medical treatment to address your disabling condition. Such professionals include physicians, educational psychologists, therapists, mobility specialists, and rehabilitation counselors. Documentation is used to determine eligibility for disability supports and services.

Accommodations are reasonable modifications to university policies and practices, where necessary to address barriers and ensure equitable access to University programs and services.

To see guidelines for specific conditions, please click on the links below.

Documentation Components

  • Completed by a provider who is licensed or properly credentialed to diagnose or treat the condition disclosed to SDS (not a family member), including the date, signature and license number of the examiner
  • A description of the disability, including the diagnosis and history
  • A description of the current impact in daily living and in an educational setting
  • A description of the expected duration, frequency, severity, and progression of the condition
  • A description of the past use and effectiveness of disability services.

Disability Documentation Examples

  • Educational, psychological, or medical records;
  • Reports and assessments created by healthcare providers, psychologists, or an educational system;
  • Documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as standardized exam accommodation confirmation (i.e. SAT, ACT, and GRE) or a previous institution’s accommodation verification letter. Please note that these documents only establish a historical use of accommodations and additional documentation may be required.
  • SDS Disability Documentation Forms for mental health and medical conditions
  • Statement from a health or other service professional
  • Vocational Assessment

Keep the Following in Mind

  • Disability is defined by federal disability laws as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include, but are not limited to: sensory conditions, walking, learning, concentrating, communicating, and speaking.
  • Submit a Request for Disability Services Form via the AIM Student Portal. Additionally, all supporting documentation must be submitted to SDS with sufficient time for a review of the information before accommodations and services are expected to be implemented. Accommodations may be approved for present and future needs, but they may not be approved/applied retroactively.
  • SDS may need to ask you to provide additional information if the submitted documentation is incomplete or does not support your accommodation request. Please note that images alone including but not limited to MRIs, X-Rays, or personal photos do not meet documentation guidelines for supporting documentation. Students are strongly discouraged from submitting images.
  • If you do not have documentation, we encourage you to meet with an SDS Staff member to discuss your situation and possible referrals for documentation.
  • Professionals may recommend reasonable modifications, but SDS (in consultation with appropriate faculty, staff, and/or a third-party reviewer) make the final decision about eligibility and appropriate modifications based on the essential requirements of the academic program or service.
  • You are encouraged to keep a copy of the documentation that you submit to SDS for your personal records.
  • Documentation and disability files are destroyed six years after a student leaves the University. SDS will keep records for up to seven years and will shred paper files when the secure electronic file is created.
  • UChicago documentation requirements may differ from other educational institutions and may not be accepted by other institutions, testing agencies, licensure exams, and certification programs. When seeking accommodations from outside organizations, please check with the specific program to determine their documentation guidelines.
  • All documentation must be submitted in the English language.
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