UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Ability Services

Future Students

The arrangement of accommodations is guided by a federal civil rights law called the Americans with Disabilities Act.It's important to understand that accommodations are not intended to ensure students will be successful with something. The goal is to ensure they have equal access and opportunity.

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

 

Documenting a Disability

When documenting a disability, students should use the parameters listed below as a general guideline. On the second half of this page, refer to your specific disability for detailed requirements needed to support your disability through documentation. If students would like a PDF version of each disability category documentation requirements to share with their see the Forms page to retrieve those documents. 

  • Be recent and comprehensive
  • Demonstrate a substantial more of life’s major activities
  • Verify the nature and extent of the disability
  • Support the need for the student’s requested accommodations
  • Be provided by a licensed clinical professional familiar with the impairment/condition
  • Be dated, signed and on letterhead; it should include name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator
  • The evaluator may not be anyone related to the student

NOTE: Documentation must be from an appropriate professional who has diagnosed the student's disability or who has sufficient history with the student to support a previous diagnosis.  If applicable, any testing in the documentation must be adult normed and should be from a recent evaluation. Students may also elect to have the appropriate clinician complete the Ability Services Collaborative Document Form to get started. The form is meant to guide the documentation process for clinician’s and evaluators in order for them to effectively explain from their perspective how a student’s disability affects them academically. It also intended to identify helpful accommodations that could benefit the student based on their individual needs. See the Collaborative Document Form for more details.  While they are helpful in establishing past accommodations, IEPs and 504 plans are not sufficient documentation and more information would be required to be completed. 

Students have an option to upload documenation through the "New Student Application" process. Documentation can also be submitted via email, fax, in person, or USPS.

Email: alicia.reinketuthill@uwrf.edu

Alicia Reinke-Tuthill, Ability Services Manager

Secure fax: 715-425-0742
 
Address:
Ability Services
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
129 Hagestad Hall
410 South Third Street
River Falls, WI 54022
 
 
 
 
Acquired Brain Injury

 

  • It’s written by a licensed expert, identifies the author’s credentials, and indicates where the expert works, including postal address and phone number. It’s written with an obvious focus on the student’s specific circumstances. (Not written in a generic way like; “People with this issue often experience the following circumstances.”) 
  • It indicates how the brain issue arose, the method used to assess the issue, and notes any important changes that have already occurred. 
  • It lists the brain injury’s symptoms, indicating their magnitude, frequency, and duration. 
  • It explains how much difficulty the injury causes in relation to things that must work well for a college education. These could be things like: paying attention; accurately perceiving things; effective reasoning; memory; use of language; motor skills; managing difficult emotions; independently solving problems or making plans; and, any impact on academic skills like reading, writing, knowing basic math facts, etc.. When appropriate it should include statistically relevant measurements of those difficulties with outward explanations for what the resulting numbers mean. When pertinent there’s also an explanation of any other health related issues that impact the brain injury. All the above information is stated in a way that someone who’s not an expert can understand it. 
  • It provides an outward diagnosis that fits the circumstances using terminology that’s conventional to the author’s field of expertise. This aspect of the document should be written in such a way that it’s clear the expert HAS assigned the diagnosis to the student. (Not written like; “These difficulties tend to indicate there’s a concussion.”) 
  • It outwardly explains how the brain injury will impact specific things college students need to do for favorable achievement. These are things like: attending class; writing lecture notes; completing reading and/or writing assignments; taking tests; making speeches and/or presentations. It could also be things like living in a residential hall on campus, or having a given number of credits per semester. It suggests how long the impacts may be expected to last. 
  • There should be a recommendation regarding the kinds of academic accommodations the student will need for equal access and opportunity in a college setting. 
     
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • It should be written by a licensed clinician (psychologist, neurologist, pediatrician, psychiatrist, or family physician). 
  • It should identify the doctor’s agency, mailing address, and phone number. 
  • Specific diagnosis as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V or DSM-IV) and date of onset.
  • It should describe a conventional method the doctor used to evaluate the student for ADHD.
  • There should be a concise historical summary about the student “as a youngster” that supports such a diagnosis. 
  • There should be sufficient information about the student as an adult. For instance, there may not be enough information if all the information was written when the student was a child or young adolescent.
  • There should be descriptions of existing ADHD symptoms, their magnitude and frequency, to the extent that the diagnosis seems justified. 
  • There should be an explanation regarding how the symptoms will substantially limit the student’s functioning in relation to important aspects of college (listening to lectures, writing notes, taking tests, completing assignments, etc.).
  • It should outwardly assign the diagnosis, preferably using the multi-axial format described in the DSM-V. 
  • There should be recommendations about the kinds of appropriate and reasonable accommodations that will be needed for equal access and opportunity.
     
Autism Spectrum
  • Specific diagnosis as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V or DSM-IV) and date of onset.
  • Current functional limitations on major life activities resulting from the Autism spectrum disorder to include but not be limited to: communication or language skills, social interaction, restricted, repetitive and/or stereotyped patterns of behavior and activities, sensory functioning and sensitivity to environmental conditions, and motor planning.
  • Evidence to support the functional limitations. This statement may include aptitude testing, standardized tests of language skills, clinical and teacher observations, and standardized scales of symptoms related to autism. 
  • Recommendations for accommodations related to function and their rationale should be stated and any other strategies or services that may benefit the individual in a higher education environment.
  • Signature, License/Certification, and contact information of diagnostician including mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address.
Vision Impairment
  • The agency where the author works is identified, including mailing address and phone number. 
  • The author’s name, credentials for evaluating the vision issue, and a dated signature are included. 
  • There’s a summary of how the vision issue development, any significant changes over time, and how it was already accommodated for educational purposes.
  • There are appropriate measurements of the student’s ability to see, and explanations regarding what the measurements mean (or a statement saying the student is legally blind, if that’s the case). 
  • An appropriate vision related diagnoses is given. 
  • If the student isn’t blind, there should be explanations regarding how the limited vision issue will probably impact important academic functioning (such as, taking tests, writing lecture notes, completing reading assignments, writing papers, etc.) and limit any other important aspects of college (such as living in a residential hall).
  • There are recommendations regarding the kinds of reasonable and appropriate accommodations that will be needed to create equal access and opportunity for college.
Physical/Mobility
  • The expert’s name, phone number, name of the agency and postal address where the expert works, an indication of the expert’s credentials to confirm there’s sufficient expertise on the issue (some clinicians attach a vita for this purpose), and be signed and dated by the expert.
  • A historical summary of the issue, indicating how it arose and any significant developments over time. 
  • A description of the clinical methods that were used to evaluate the issue. 
  • A list of the student’s current symptoms, indicating their magnitudes, duration and frequency; outwardly assign a diagnosis; and, describe any other important circumstances that are needed to understand the issue, such as how it may be expected to change over time. 
  • An explanation of how the issue will substantially limit the student in relation to an important aspect of college. For limitations related to learning the focus could be such things as: attending classes; taking notes during lectures; writing papers; performing reading assignments; giving speeches; taking tests, etc.. For limitations related to the physical aspects of a campus the explanation could focus on such things as: relatively small classroom desks; use of computers; traveling from one building to another; using stairways; living in a residential hall, etc.
  • There are recommendations regarding the kinds of reasonable and appropriate accommodations that will be needed to create equal access and opportunity for the student’s college education. 
Psychological
  • The author’s credentials are indicated and confirm an appropriate level of expertise for the issue. It is signed and dated by the clinician practitioners with a Master’s degree should obtain the dated co-signature of an appropriate doctor.
  • Specific diagnosis as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V or DSM-IV) and date of onset.
  • There’s sufficient information regarding the student as an adult
  • Submit comprehensive evaluation (diagnostic interview, history, summary of treatment, medication, therapy, etc.).
  • There should be an adequate summary of the issue: a concise explanation regarding how the issue originated; any significant changes over time; a list and description of current symptoms, including their frequency, magnitude, and duration; an outward assignment of a specific diagnosis; description of any coexisting diagnosis that compounds the circumstances of the primary diagnosis; description regarding how the circumstances can be expected to change over time. A multi-axial assessment is encouraged using the format described in the most recent DSM. 
  • There’s an explanation regarding how the diagnosed condition will substantially limit the student’s functioning in relation to important aspects of college. For academic accommodations it could be limits to: class attendance, listening to lectures, writing notes, completing reading assignments, taking tests, writing assignments, working on projects in a peer group; participating in class discussions, etc.. For accommodation to living in a residential hall it could be limitations related to sharing a relatively small living area with a roommate, many peers living nearby, use of communal bathrooms, etc.
  • There’s a recommendation for the kinds of reasonable accommodation that will be necessary to create equal access and opportunity in a college setting. 
Specific Learning Disability
  • The document's author is outwardly identified by name, agency, phone number, postal address.
  • The author's credentials for evaluating the learning issues are indicated. For an evaluation conducted before a student graduated from high school the author may be a school staff with an appropriate Master's degree and professional license. For an evaluation conducted after high school graduation the author should have an appropriate doctor degree and professional license.
  • There is the following information about the student at an adult stage oflife (during high school or after finishing it):
  • An explanation regarding why the student was evaluated;
  • A summary of the student's academic history reviewing previous learning issues, earlier evaluations, and any special services that were received;
  • A detailed summary of a thorough psycho-educational  evaluation with all the scores obtained with standardized tests that are appropriate are for the student's issue. They should include a test of academic skills such as the Woodcock Johnson-III Test of Achievement. (Please see the next page for an example of those scores.) And if there's an information or cognitive processing issue it should also include standardized tests that measure executive functions such as: processing speed; abilities to process auditory and visual information; attention; memory; and motor abilities. For all tests the range of significant scores and standardized deviations should be noted. All statistically significant scores should be outwardly identified and explained.
  • A conventional diagnosis of the student's issue is outwardly assigned.
  • There should be explanations regarding how the diagnosed condition can be expected to impact the student's learning and common academic tasks such as: completing reading assignments, completing writing assignments, writing lecture notes, taking tests, etc..
  • There should be recommendations  for the kinds of reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations that will be needed to create equal access and opportunity.
Health Related Issue
  • The expert’s name, phone number, name of the agency and postal address where the expert works, an indication of the expert’s credentials to confirm there’s sufficient expertise on the issue (some clinicians attach a vita for this purpose), and be signed and dated by the expert. 
  • A historical summary of the issue, indicating how it arose and any significant developments over time. 
  • A description of the clinical methods that were used to evaluate the issue. 
  • A list of the student’s current symptoms, indicating their magnitudes, duration and frequency; outwardly assign a diagnosis; and, describe any other important circumstances that are needed to understand the issue, such as how it may be expected to change over time. 
  • An explanation of how the issue will substantially limit the student in relation to an important aspect of college. For limitations related to learning the focus could be such things as: attending classes; taking notes during lectures; writing papers; performing reading assignments; giving speeches; taking tests, etc.. For limitations related to the physical aspects of a campus the explanation could focus on such things as: relatively small classroom desks; use of computers; traveling from one building to another; using stairways; living in a residential hall, etc.
  • A recommendation for the kinds of reasonable and appropriate accommodations that will be necessary to create equal access and opportunity for the student’s college education.
Hearing Impairment
  • Documentation of a deaf or hard of hearing circumstance should be written by a licensed audiologist or equivalent specialist. 
  • An indication of the author’s credentials to verify a sufficient level of expertise on hearing topics. 
  • Historical summary about the student’s hard of hearing or deaf circumstances. 
  • A copy of an audiogram and the summary from a relevant audiological evaluation. For circumstances involving progressive loss of hearing the summary should be no more than 3 years old. For circumstances that involve complete deafness the summary should be from when or after the deafness was first discovered.
  • An explanation of the functional limitations the circumstances create, indicating whether the degree of severity is mild, moderate, or substantial. 
  • There should also be an explanation about how those things are expected to change over time. 
  • There should be an identification of the aspects of college towards which the circumstances will create a negative impact. Examples could be the student’s ability to: live in a residential hall; participate in meetings with professors; hold a job on campus; perform common academic tasks (create le lecture notes, take tests, participate in class discussions, deliver speeches, etc.). 
  • Recommendations for the kinds of accommodation that should occur to create equal access and opportunity. 

How to Access Services

Students are required to independently seek out services through the Ability Services office. Students can start the process by completing the "New Student Application" on the homepage. The online application will give the Ability Services office information from the student’s perspective in order to learn about individual needs, strengths, learning styles, and academic barriers.

 

Disability Information

In order to receive an accommodation, students are required to have a disability under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). To learn more about how disability is defined, click on What is Disability?

Testing and Evaluation 

For students who currently are undiagnosed and suspect they may have a disability, we encourage you to connect with Ability Services to learn more about resources and individuals in the area who are able to perform initial testing, evaluation, and assessment. UWRF is not able to provide such an expert on campus, nor pay any fees an expert may charge. For basic information check out the Resources For Undiagnosed Students found on the Resources page. 

For more detailed resources and information contact Ability Services at ability.services@uwrf.edu or call 715-425-0740.

Contact Us

Ability Services
Your Access Resource Center

715-425-0740

ability.services@uwrf.edu
Fax: 715-425-0742
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
129 Hagestad Hall

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