Eligibility for Services
To receive services
from the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS),
you must be a registered student at St. Cloud State
University and have a disability recognized under the
Americans with Disabilities Act. Verification of a disability
must be provided prior to receiving services from SDS.
Verification may be in the form of confirmation of
disability from a previous school, institution or medical
documentation related to your disability.
Step 1: Acceptance
to St. Cloud State University
Step 2: Obtain and complete application
Request an application form:
Step 3: Include
acceptable documentation from a certified professional
(i.e. physician, psychologist, or counselor) of
the disability along with the completed application. Documentation
must be current within the last three (3) years.
Step 4: Once the director has read
the documentation you will be contacted to set up
an appointment to discuss services available.
Criteria for Documentation of a Disability
In order to be eligible to receive services or accommodations, you must identify that you have a disability and provide written documentation from a qualified professional verifying a recognized disability. All documentation provided to request accommodations must be from a professional who has comprehensive training and relevant experience in the area being assessed.
It is the responsibility of the student to provide adequate documentation. Acceptable documentation varies depending on the nature of the disability. The approval of accommodations will be based on the documentation provided. A postsecondary institution has the discretion to require additional documentation if the existing documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or the need for reasonable accommodations. Any cost incurred in obtaining additional documentation when the original records are inadequate for postsecondary purposes is the responsibility of the student.
Comprehensive disability documentation should include evidence of an existing impairment such as an interview and review of records, relevant testing, and a specific diagnosis, ruling out an alternative diagnosis or explanation and an integrated summary.
Reasonable accommodations are made on an individual basis and cannot fundamentally alter the basic nature or essential curricular components of the institution’s courses or programs.
Documentation must be current within the last three years.
Documentation needs to be reflective of current level of functioning. Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the disability on academic performance, it is in the individual’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. Assessment procedures and instruments and a summary of the results used to make the diagnosis must be included.
Learning disability documentation needs to include assessment of intellectual functioning/aptitude, a comprehensive academic achievement battery, information-processing abilities, diagnosis of a specific learning disability, a clinical summary and accommodation recommendations. Generally, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan from a secondary school by itself does not provide adequate information for the provision of academic accommodations at the post-secondary level unless it includes a recent testing assessment summary.
Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder should be diagnosed with a comprehensive assessment that includes:
- current referral concern
- evidence of early impairment in two or more settings with symptoms present by the middle school years, evidence of current impairment
- relevant testing which includes measures of aptitude, achievement, information processing, attention and impulsivity
- a specific diagnosis ruling out alternative explanations such as psychiatric conditions or poor study skills
- an co-occurring disorders
- if indicated, a discussion of prescribed medications
- a rationale for recommended accommodations
The following will not suffice in and of themselves as a complete assessment of ADD or ADHD sufficient to determine and provide accommodations and services:
- a successful medication trail or prescription for medication
- a diagnosis without a comprehensive report
- phrases such as “suggestive of” or “seems to indicate”
- screening tools in and of themselves such as the TOVA, Connors
Psychiatric disability documentation needs to be provided from a professional who has the training and relevant experience in differential diagnosis and the full range of psychiatric disorders (e.g. licensed psychologist, psychiatrists, neurologists and other relevantly trained medical doctors).
Documentation for a student requesting accommodations on the basis of a psychiatric disability should include:
- an interview with the appropriate professional
- current specific psychiatric Axis I and Axis II diagnosis as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – IV (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association
- Nature, frequency and severity of the symptoms associated with the diagnosis (a diagnosis without a listing of the current symptoms is not sufficient)
- A measure of Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale in the DSM-IV is highly recommended
- Prescribed medications, dosages and medication schedules which may impact the types of accommodations provided, including positive responses and/or possible side effects from the medications.
- An integrated summary identifying the substantial limitations to major life activities posed by the psychiatric disability, the extent these limitations impact the student in an academic setting and suggestions how the specific effects of the disability may be accommodated
Acquired Brain Injury documentation must include a neuropsychological evaluation containing assessment of intellectual, conceptual and cognitive competence; sensory, perceptual and processing efficiency; visual, auditory and tactile facility; speech, language and communication ability; and evaluation of memory and attention and an integrated summary which describes the substantial limitations to major life activities posed by the specific brain injury; the extent to which these limitations impact the academic context for which those accommodations are being requested, suggestions for accommodations and how the recommended accommodations mediate the effects of the brain injury.
Physical disability documentation needs to clearly state the diagnosis and verify interference with a major life activity, affecting the ability to participate in the educational process. The symptoms, functional limitations and impact of medication and/or treatment on educational functioning should be included.