Physical, Medical, and Sensory Disability Accommodations

A physical or medical 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. Examples of physical and medical disabilities include diabetes, epilepsy, sensory disabilities, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries.

Disability documentation is required unless your disability and access needs are visible.

Disability documentation is used to determine eligibility for disability services and reasonable accommodations to address the impact of your condition. Documentation must be provided 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 services and accommodations.

Physical, Medical, and Sensory Disability Documentation Standards

Physical, medical, and sensory disability documentation can be provided using the Medical Conditions Verification Form (PDF, 213 KB) or in the form of a letter from an appropriate, licensed health care professional.

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.

Physical, medical, and sensory disability documentation should include the following 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 diagnosis and history of medical treatment and description of the current treatment plan
  • A description of current symptoms of the condition (including severity and frequency)
  • A description of the prognosis (anticipated progression, duration, and stability)
  • Currently prescribed medications and side effects impacting the student
  • A description of the current impact in daily living and in an educational setting
  • A recommendation for accommodations to support the student and the rationale for these recommendations
  • Medical Conditions Verification Form (PDF, 213 KB) for medical conditions
  • Statement from a health or other service professional
  • Reports and assessments created by healthcare provider
  • 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. These documents only establish a historical use of accommodations and additional documentation may be required.
  • Vocational Assessment

Additional Information

  • SDS may request additional information if the submitted documentation is incomplete or does not support your accommodation request.
  • Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and Section 504 Plans provide supporting information that help establish a history of accommodation use but may not be sufficient documentation for eligibility or disability services.Students are encouraged to submit recent plans and approval forms for national standardized exams (ACT, SAT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT), and/or verification of approved accommodations at prior educational institutions. Please note that these documents alone only establish a historical use of accommodations but may not be sufficient documentation for eligibility or disability services. Additional documentation may be required.
  • SDS uses a third-party expert, as needed, with the review of medical documentation.
  • 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.
  • The SDS staff (in consultation with appropriate faculty and staff) will make the final decision about eligibility and appropriate modifications based on the essential requirements of the academic program or service.
  • 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.

Process for Requesting Accommodations

To begin a review of your eligibility for accommodations, you will need to submit a request for accommodations using the AIM Student Portal.

Once you log in, you must complete the request form with information about your disability and the accommodations that you are requesting. You will also need to submit documentation to support your request by uploading the following:

  • Medical Conditions Verification Form (PDF, 213 KB) completed by your health care provider (required)
  • Copy of correspondence from the College Board/ACT/GRE, if accommodations were approved for standardized entrance exams (optional)
  • Copy of your accommodation records from a previous institution, such as a high school IEP or 504 Plan, or a University accommodation letter, if applicable (optional; this information is not required in order to determine your eligibility)

Next Steps

All documentation should be uploaded to your account in the AIM Student Portal. A director or associate director will also meet with you, either in person or over the phone, after which an eligibility review will be conducted in consultation with medical/clinical experts. SDS will consider the requested accommodation(s) within the context of the University’s academic program to determine what may be reasonable in each case. If necessary, SDS will consult with the area Dean of Students and other pertinent faculty and staff to determine the essential requirements of a particular course.

SDS and the instructors are responsible for implementing accommodations in the College. In the graduate/professional programs, the area Dean of Students (or a designee) is responsible for their implementation.

Emergency Evacuation Plan

Students who may require some degree of assistance in the event of an emergency evacuation are strongly encouraged to complete the Disabilities Self-Identification Questionnaire.

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