Physical/Sensory Disabilities

Note: There is a specific form related to Physical/Sensory Disabilities that must be completed and submitted to our office before we can consider accommodation requests.

A Qualified Professional Must Conduct the Evaluation

  • Name, title, professional credentials, licensure/certification information, and location of practice must be included on any reports submitted.
  • Evaluators must have training in, and experience with, the diagnosis of like or similar conditions in adults.
  • Appropriate professionals are usually licensed physicians, often with specialty training. Optometrists are appropriate for visual conditions addressed in their training. Allied health professionals (such as audiologists, neuropsychologists, or physical therapists) may be considered appropriate as well, often as part of a team.
  • Evaluations performed by members of the students family are not acceptable.
  • All reports must be signed by the primary evaluator, and should include a completed Upstate Medical University form (if feasible), as well as any additional information typed on letterhead. Note: Evaluator must also number and initial each page of the evaluation.

Documentation Must Be Current

  • Reports should be based on evaluations performed within a reasonable time frame, depending on the degree of change associated with the diagnosed condition(s). Generally a reasonable time frame is not more than three years, but it may be much shorter in many instances.
  • Reports should accurately describe the current impact of the diagnosed condition.
  • Reports should indicate the currently anticipated course of the condition.
  • Reports should mention any currently mitigating factors (e.g. medication or hearing aids).

Documentation Must Be Comprehensive

  • Reports should include a history.
  • Reports should include both description and evidence of impairment.
  • Reports should briefly describe any current treatment plan.
  • A specific diagnosis (or more than one) must be included.
  • Documentation should address any coexisting conditions, suspected coexisting conditions, or other confounding factors.
  • Documentation must indicate whether or not the diagnosed condition(s) rises to the level of a disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA (substantially limiting a major life activity).
  • There must be a clear indication of the individual students functional limitations.
  • Documentation should include recommendations for accommodations that are directly related to the functional limitations (and relevant to a medical school environment if possible.)
  • If no prior accommodations have been provided, the qualified professional expert should include a detailed explanation as to why no accommodations were given in the past and why accommodations are needed now.
  • A rationale, explaining why each recommendation for accommodation is appropriate, should be provided.
  • If the student is considered a potential danger to self or others, including patients under his or her care, that information must be included. If there are only certain circumstances under which a potential danger exists, that should be explained as well.

Adapted from: Learning and Disability Services, Dartmouth Medical School