Documentation Guidelines

While students are a vital source of information, in order to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations, the University requests the submission of information from other appropriate sources in order to establish the presence of a disability and the impact it has on the student in a postsecondary environment. The University of Richmond considers all documentation when reviewing applications, however, documentation that meets our guidelines is recommended for submission in order to help ensure it has enough information to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Generally speaking, all documentation, regardless of a student’s diagnosis, should:

  • Be provided by a qualified professional licensed and/or specialized to practice in the area of the diagnosis (for example, an optometrist should not provide documentation for a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis, a clinical psychologist should not provide documentation for a diabetes diagnosis, etc.)
  • Specify the name of the student to whom it is referencing
  • Be dated
  • Include the name and title of the person who is providing the documentation
  • Be relatively recent in relation to the type of diagnosis
  • Include a clear/specified recognized diagnosis and/or condition
  • Be legible
  • Be verifiable (on letterhead with signature, PDF so that it cannot be edited, etc.)
  • Clearly specify the impact that the diagnosis has on the student’s everyday life (depending on the diagnosis, this can include academic impact, mobility concerns, housing needs, etc.) 
The type of recommended documentation varies by request, but the following is a useful guide by general category:
  • ADHD
    Recency guidelines for full evaluation: student should have been a minimum of 12 years old at the time of their evaluation 

    Recency guidelines for detailed letter: less than 2 years 

    Ideally, students seeking accommodations for an ADHD diagnosis should be evaluated holistically by a clinical psychologist, with information gathered through cognitive testing, achievement testing, ratings scales, and possibly other neurocognitive measures. These submitted evaluation reports should include: 
    • Test scores and/or percentiles 
    • A clear diagnosis made by the evaluator based on the evaluation (not purely based on historical report of a previous diagnosis) 
    • A description of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s everyday life in the area(s) of concern 

    If a student is unable to obtain an in-depth evaluation, they may submit a detailed letter from a provider for which ADHD falls in their scope of practice (ideally a psychologist). This letter should include: 

    • The length of time the provider has known the student and/or the number of times the provider has interreacted with the student 
    • The means/information used to make the diagnosis 
    • A clear diagnosis made by the evaluator based on the evaluation (not purely based on historical report of a previous diagnosis) 
    • A description of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s everyday life in the area(s) of concern 
  • Blindness and/or Low Vision
    Recency guidelines: less than 5 years  

    Documentation of this type of diagnosis typically comes in the form of a detailed letter. It should include: 
    • The type and degree/intensity of vision loss 
    • A discussion of the permanence/transience/likely progression of vision loss 
    • A description of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s everyday life 
    • Information on any technologies/supports used to aid everyday functioning (CCTVs, screen reader/JAWS/NVDA, etc.) 
  • Deafness and/or Hard of Hearing
    Recency guidelines: less than 5 years 

    Documentation of this type of diagnosis typically comes in the form of a detailed letter. It should include: 
    • The type and degree/intensity of hearing loss 
    • A discussion of the permanence/transience/likely progression of hearing loss 
    • A description of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s everyday life 
    • Information on any technologies/supports used to aid everyday functioning (hearing aids, cochlear implant, ASL, assistive listening systems, etc.) 
  • Learning Disabililty
    Recency guidelines: student should have been a minimum of 16 years old at the time of their evaluation, or the evaluation should be no more than 5 years old (whichever is more lenient)

    In order to be diagnosed with a learning disability, students should be assessed via psychoeducational evaluation, and submit their full report. This should include:
    • The date(s) of evaluation
    • Background information/history
    • Broad cognitive and achievement batteries
    • Test scores and/or percentiles
    • A clear diagnosis made by the evaluator based on the evaluation (not purely based on historical report of a previous diagnosis)
    • A description of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s everyday life in the area(s) of concern
  • Medical/Chronic/Limited Mobility Conditions
    Recency guidelines: less than 5 years 

    Documentation of this type of diagnosis typically comes in the form of a detailed letter. It should include: 
    • A specific diagnosis 
    • A discussion of the permanence/transience/likely progression of the student’s condition 
    • A description of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s everyday life in the area(s) of concern, including any patterns in symptoms/presentation
    • Information on any technologies/supports used to aid everyday functioning (insulin pump, inhaler, medication injections, wheelchair, specialized keyboard, etc.) 
  • Psychological Conditions/Diagnosis
    Recency guidelines: less than 2 years 

    Documentation of this type of diagnosis typically comes in the form of a highly detailed letter from a provider who knows the student well. This should include: 
    • The length of time the provider has known the student and/or the number of times the provider has interreacted with the student 
    • A description of the treating relationship between the provider and student  
    • The means/information used to make the diagnosis 
    • A clear diagnosis made by the provider 
    • Discussion of comorbid conditions, if applicable
    • A description of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s everyday life in the area(s) of concern, including any patterns in symptoms/presentation 
  • Traumatic Brain/Head Injury
    Recency guidelines: less than 1 year 

    *Please note: Mild concussions with impacts that do not persist beyond 6 weeks are considered temporary and are handled by the Deans of Richmond College or Westhampton College. 

    Documentation of this type of diagnosis typically comes in the form of a detailed letter. It should include: 
    • The date/general age of the injury 
    • A discussion of the permanence/transience/likely progression of the student’s TBI/heady injury 
    • A description of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s everyday life in the area(s) of concern, including any patterns in symptoms/presentation