Documentation Guidelines

Explanation of the Need for Documentation

Since each student has different needs for accommodations, Northwestern University requires that each student provide documentation that includes a diagnosis of his or her disability, defines the functional limitations he or she will experience in an academic environment, and describes appropriate academic accommodations. In order for decisions to be made regarding the appropriate accommodations for each student, documentation of the disability by a licensed professional unrelated to the student that includes resulting limitations and recommended accommodations will be required. The documentation provided by the professional will not become part of the student's educational records and will be kept in the student's confidential file at SSD.

SSD professional staff will review the documentation for diagnosis of a disabling condition and the functional limitations experienced by the student. A diagnosis of a disorder, condition, or syndrome in and of itself does not automatically qualify an individual for accommodations. Staff will determine the appropriate academic accommodations, if any, for each student on a case-by-case basis that entails an in-depth intake interview with the student and the documentation provided.  If the student's documentation is unclear, it may be referred to other professionals on campus for review and recommendation. Additional documentation may also be requested to verify a student's condition or to substantiate certain accommodation requests.

Documentation Guidelines by Type of Disability

Northwestern students present documentation related to a variety of disabilities. The most common disabilities of students registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) are learning disabilities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; thus, their guidelines are listed first.