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Documentation Guidelines


University of Utah students requesting accommodations and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 must provide information and documentation of a disability and of the need for disability-related accommodations.

Documentation submitted to the Center for Disability & Access (CDA) must indicate that a specific condition exists and that the condition substantially limits one or more major life activity (e.g. walking, seeing, speaking, hearing, breathing, learning, etc.). A diagnosis of a condition alone does not automatically qualify a student for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The documentation should demonstrate that the condition rises to the level of a disability.

Documentation should include the following components:

  1. Format
    Documentation should be typed/printed on letterhead, dated, and signed with name, title, and professional credentials.
  2. Qualifications
    Documentation should be completed by a licensed provider (e.g. physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, therapist, audiologist, ophthalmologist or other relevantly trained professional who is licensed and qualified to make the diagnoses).
  3. Diagnosis
    Documentation should include the conditions and diagnoses, how they were assessed, and include the most recent treatment dates.
  4. History and Prognosis
    Provide a summary of the history, prognosis, and expected duration of the condition(s), and if applicable, include details about the episodic nature of the condition(s).
  5. Impact and Limitations
    Focus on and provide details specific to the student about the current impact of the conditions, including the severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms. Documentation should also include information about the limitations caused by the student’s condition(s) and effect on academic functioning and major life activities. (ADA Major Life Activities).
  6. Suggested Accommodations
    Documentation may include suggested accommodations and should provide a rationale as to why they would be needed.

Additional Documentation

The following details what additional or specific information would be requested for specific conditions:


A psycho-educational evaluation, neuropsychological evaluation, or other objective testing measures may be required depending upon the accommodations that are requested. If additional information is required, the student’s CDA advisor will let the student know what additional documentation would be needed.

  • The assessment should consist of more than a subjective evaluation or self-report by the student, and should have been completed or updated recently to help in determining the current impact of the condition.
  • The assessment should include objective test measures which assess inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, executive functioning, working memory and/or information processing as appropriate, and should list the tests completed and results including standard scores and percentiles (see examples of common testing measures below).
  • The report should summarize the findings, provide the diagnosis, and describe the effect, impact, and limitations on learning and major life activities.

Learning Disabilities

A psycho-educational evaluation or neuropsychological evaluation is required and essential in determining the impact of the condition on learning and academics.

  • Evaluations should be recent and should be based on adult normed measures to determine the current impact of the condition and to approve accommodations. However, applications for accommodations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and childhood evaluations, and secondary school IEP’s or 504 plans are also helpful in determining services.
  • The assessment should list the specific aptitude, cognitive ability, academic achievement, and information processing tests or measures used and include the results of the testing with all subtests, standard scores, and percentiles (see examples of common testing measures below).
  • The report should summarize the findings, provide the diagnosis, and describe the effect, impact, and limitations on learning and major life activities.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A neuropsychological evaluation or psycho-educational evaluation may be required depending upon the accommodations requested and should have been completed recently. However, older documentation will be considered depending upon the stability of the condition and current impact of the injury.

  • Evaluations should include objective testing measures which assess learning, cognitive and academic abilities, memory, processing speed, and executive functioning and include the results of the testing with all subtests, standard scores, and percentiles (see examples of common testing measures below).
  • The report should summarize the findings, provide the diagnosis, and describe the effect, impact, and limitations on learning and major life activities.

Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, or Low Vision Students

Documentation for students who are Deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision, or who have physical conditions that are readily apparent and easily identifiable may not need to provide additional documentation when the requested accommodations are directly tied to the apparent impact.

Psychological or Psychiatric Conditions

Documentation related to psychological or psychiatric conditions is encouraged to be provided by a licensed mental health provider. Although a primary care professional may be aware of the conditions and impact, the student is best served by connection to and assessment by a professional specializing in mental health.

Assistance Animals / Emotional Support Animals

The Center for Disability & Access (CDA) evaluates requests to approve Assistance Animals in University of Utah owned housing (Housing & Residential Education and Sunnyside Apartments - Family & Graduate Housing).  To schedule an initial intake appointment with an advisor, please contact CDA at (801) 581-5020. You do not need to have the following documentation at your intake appointment. It can be submitted afterwards for evaluation.

If your request is approved following your intake appointment and submitting documentation, CDA will notify you and your University housing entity.

Approval requires that a resident must have a physical or mental impairment that rises to the level of a disability in that it substantially limits one or more major life activities, and the presence of an Assistance Animal will have therapeutic benefit in alleviating one or more of the identified effects of the mental health disability.  

We accept documentation from health care providers who have personal knowledge of the resident through a professional relationship involving the provision of health care or disabilityrelated services and who are practicing within their ethical, legal, and professional obligations.  

To consider requests for Assistance Animals, documentation provided should include the following specific components. The absence of one or more of these components should not be considered an automatic reason to disqualify the supporting documentation: 

  • Format – health care provider documentation should be typed/printed on official letterhead, dated, and signed from a licensed and qualified professional (e.g. psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, licensed counselors, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and other relevantly trained healthcare professionals).   It is also recommended that the healthcare professional provide contact information and any professional licensing information. The documentation should include the resident’s name.
  • Contact Dates - date when provider first met with the resident regarding the condition and date of the last professional interaction with the resident regarding the condition.
  • Substantial Limitations – a statement(s) that the resident has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and describes the nature of the impairment (that is, how the resident is substantially limited). 
  • Type of animal – the type of animal that is requested and that it is necessary in university housing. 
  • Necessity of Assistance Animal – a statement that the resident needs the Assistance Animal because it provides therapeutic emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of the disability of the resident and not merely as a pet.  Please include specifically how the animal mitigates the symptoms or effects of a disability. 
  • Documentation should be specifically written to provide support for an Assistance Animal in University of Utah Housing.

Please also note the following: 

  • Approved Assistance Animals must be under the control of their owner/guardian at all times.  Assistance Animals may be excluded if they pose a direct threat to the health and/or safety of others.  Assistance Animals that are not under the control of their owner/guardian or who disrupt other guests may be considered a nuisance and will be asked to leave.  Nuisance behavior could be any of the following examples or any other behavior that disrupts other guests, patrons, students, or employees.  Examples: consistent non-stop barking, growling, making noise, giving off offensive odors, chewing.  
  • Assistance Animals are subject to the U of U Policy 3-231 for Control of Animals on Campus as defined at  Exotic or wild animals may not be allowed under the state, county and city laws. Additional information regarding Service and Assistance Animals can be found at
  • The Assistance Animal owner or custodian must maintain sanitary conditions and clean any animal excretions (or eliminate waste) in public (or surrounding areas).
  • An approval for an Assistance Animal only applies to housing and does not permit owner to bring animal to other areas on campus where pets are normally prohibited.
  • Owner is responsible for any and all damage to apartments or University property associated with the Assistance Animal.


Additional Notes Regarding Documentation

The Center for Disability & Access (CDA) is the designated office at the University of Utah which evaluates disability documentation for students and determines eligibility for accommodations. Each student’s documentation and accommodation requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the CDA case management team determines what reasonable accommodations would be approved.

Documentation of a student’s disability provided to CDA is covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). All information related to a disability or accommodations is treated as confidential and may only be disclosed with the student’s consent to school officials with a legitimate educational reason to assist in providing accommodations. Disability documentation is maintained separately from a student’s general academic records and is not included on a transcript, diploma, etc.

Reasonable accommodations are based upon the current impact of the student’s disability, and documentation should be recent to address the student's current level of functioning and need for accommodations.

Students who are experiencing a temporary physical/medical condition or disability are encouraged to contact our office so that CDA may determine if support can be put into place, and when documentation may be necessary.

Documentation may be provided from more than one source when a clinical team approach consists of a variety of educational, medical, or counseling professionals has been used.

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan helps establish a history of accommodations and may be helpful in determining services.

Diagnoses documented by family members will not be accepted due to professional and ethical considerations.

Once a student has completed the intake process and submitted documentation, CDA will review the student’s application for accommodations. Following review, the student’s CDA advisor will follow up with the student to discuss their eligibility status and if any additional documentation might be needed.

These documentation guidelines apply to student accommodation requests at the University of Utah only and do not apply to other educational institutions, outside agencies, professional licensing exams, or high-stakes testing such as the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc.

Testing and assessment measures commonly used in psycho-educational and neuropsychological evaluations: (Not intended as a complete or comprehensive list.)

General Cognitive/Intellectual Ability – Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV), Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV), Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability (WJC-IV), Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test (KTEA-II), and Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test (SB-V).

Academic Achievement – Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement (WJA-IV), Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-III), Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA), Test of Written Language (TOWL-3), and Nelson-Denny Reading Skills Test.

Information Processing and Memory – Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML-2), Wechsler Memory Scale, Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System, and Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP-2).

Attention and Focus – Conners Continuous Performance Test and Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA).

Students should contact their CDA advisor directly with any questions they may have about these guidelines and their CDA advisor can provide additional guidance and details about the documentation requested and the process to be eligible for accommodations.

Last Updated: 6/20/24