Prove It! What is Disability "Documentation"?
Three Types of Documentation
Your experience as a student with a disability is essential to the documentation process. You are the only one who can explain how you interact with people and the world - how you learn, work, and have fun.
You can best explain the barriers or problems you encounter with transportation, buildings, classrooms; classes, reading course materials, taking notes or exams.
It's important that you know how to explain this to the disability services office and others who might need to know.
Here's a handy Self-Report Worksheet (a Word doc) you can download, print and take into your first meeting with disability services.
Observation, History & School Records
Parents, teachers, family members and friends can be a good source of information about how you experience your disability. They can tell about your childhood, and how you did things at school and home.
If you were in special education, got a 504 plan, or received other supports or accommodations in high school, your teachers, school counselor or parents probably kept notes of that. You should try to get copies of those records to share with the disability services office, as well. Some examples of these are: IEP's, 504 Plans, Summary of Performance, teachers' notes, letters to your parents or report cards.
In addition to your self-report and history, disability services offices seem to really need information from your doctor, psychologist, or other health service providers. Hearing and vision exams, medical reports, psychological tests, psycho-educational evaluations are all examples of this kind of information. Because most disability services staff are not health professionals, they need this kind of information to help verify and support your request for accommodations.
Each disability services office will have different requirements about the kind of clinical reports it wants to see. It's important to have reports that show your current disability experience, so you might need to meet with your doctor to update your records.
On our last page, we'll give you some tips and additional resources about disability documentation.
For more examples of documentation, download our Examples of Documentation handout (Word doc)