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Documentation Guidelines

Eligibility for Services

Documentation establishing the presence of a disability is the first step in legally obtaining higher education accommodations, and it helps us work together to determine academic accommodations that will work best for you during your time at UMass Dartmouth.

Descriptions of the approved types of documentation to register with our office are listed below.

Documentation must meet the following initial guidelines:

  • Be in one of the forms below as most appropriate to your disability
  • Be dated within the past 5 years
  • Be signed
  • Be on official letterhead

Please review the information below and choose which best describes your disability circumstances.

I have ADD/ADHD and/or a Psychological and/or Medical Disability and I am currently receiving treatment from a licensed professional.

Reasonable Accommodation Form

Note: Students need to complete the first section of the form and the provider will need to fill out and sign the form completely.

I had an (IEP) Individualized Education Program or a 504 in high school.

An official signed copy or your IEP or 504, along with any neuropsychological testing or assessment that was conducted as part of the plan.

A comprehensive assessment battery and resulting diagnostic report should include:

  • Diagnostic Interview
  • Assessment of aptitude
  • Academic Achievement
  • Information processing
  • Diagnosis

I am a Veteran.

Service Connected Veterans: If you are a military veteran who is service connected, please provide paperwork from the VA specifically detailing your percentage of service connected disabilities.

Medically Discharged Veterans: If you are a military veteran who was medically discharged, please provide us with your Member 4 copy of your DD214.

If you are unable to obtain information from the VA, you may prefer to use our  (pdf) to establish the presence of your disability.

Directions on How to Print or Save Documentation from the VA Website

Please see our webpage specifically designed for our veterans. 

I have a Learning Disability but did not receive services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504.

An official signed copy or your IEP or 504, along with any neuropsychological testing or assessment that was conducted as part of the plan.

A comprehensive assessment battery and resulting diagnostic report should include:

  • Diagnostic Interview
  • Assessment of aptitude
  • Academic Achievement
  • Information processing
  • Diagnosis

I am a law school student.

By law, students with a disability do not have to self-disclose or register with the Office of Student Accessibility Services. If, on the other hand, a student is seeking academic accommodations or adjustments, he/she must contact our office to request services.
The Office of Student Accessibility Services determines reasonable and appropriate accommodations according to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008. The Office of Student Accessibility Services will review information from the following three sources:
  • Documentation should be current (within five years), provide a clear diagnosis and impact on the student’s education and be written by an appropriate medical/psychological professional.
  • Observation of an apparent disability or effect. The Office of Student Accessibility Services will apply common sense in determining evidence of a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity.
  • Self-report by the student of information which will provide insight for the Office of Student Accessibility Services in determining reasonable accommodations.
After the Office of Student Accessibility Services reviews the student’s documentation, completes observation, and listens to the student’s self-report, the Office of Student Accessibility Services and the student will have an interactive process to discuss reasonable an appropriate accommodation.

Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis. Accommodations cannot be made retroactively.

Please note: Accommodations on the MPRE and the Bar Exam are determined by separate entities not associated with UMass Dartmouth or UMass School of Law Dartmouth. Receiving accommodations at UMass School of Law does not guarantee you will receive accommodations on any other licensing exam, including the MPRE and the Bar Exam.
Accommodations cannot be a fundamental alteration to the course or program requirements.

I would like a foreign language waiver.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth allows students with well-documented learning disabilities to be waived of the foreign language requirement and be allowed to take substitution courses approved by the Foreign Language Department. 

The documentation must state specifically how the diagnostic assessment supports the waiver of the foreign language requirement in lieu of substitution courses. This is generally a language-based learning disability and / or extreme difficulty with information processing, decoding, memory problems (esp. auditory, short term and working memory), etc.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 states that in order for a student to demonstrate the need for accommodations in their classrooms he/she must provide documentation that contains a specific diagnosis of a disability and specify how this disability substantially limits a major life activity. “Major life activities” include, but are not limited to, seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, and learning. The documentation must also specifically contain the disability’s current impact on academic performance.  

All accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis.

  • Documentation must be typed, current (no more than five years old), be appropriate to the postsecondary environment, and include the name and credentials of the evaluator. The following professionals considered qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities, providing he/she has experience and training in evaluating adolescent/adult learning disabilities, include, but are not limited to school psychologists, clinical or educational psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, and medical doctors. Examples of professionals who are generally not qualified to make a specific diagnosis of a learning disability are speech language pathologists, vocational counselors, social workers, and elementary or secondary special education teachers. Because an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and/or a 504 Plan address a student’s needs in the K-12 educational program and accommodation requirements for postsecondary education and high school education differ significantly, providing this and/or these alone may not be sufficient to establish eligibility for accommodations at the University and additional information may be required. 
  • Actual test scores of neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessment, data, and data summary must be provided with the specific diagnosis of a disability and, again, specify the functional limitations related to the disability and its current impact on academic performance.
  • A diagnostic summary must include specific recommendations for academic accommodations (foreign language waiver / substitution courses). The foreign language waiver / substitution courses must be based on significant functional limitations and must be supported by the diagnostic assessment.

The Office of Student Accessibility Services at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will not accept a statement such as “waived for foreign language” or “He/She can’t learn a foreign language” at face value. We would require more clarification for those statements.

Neuropsychological or Psychoeducational Assessment
It is not acceptable to administer only one test for diagnosis.  The two essential areas of cognitive ability / aptitude and academic achievement must be assessed. Therefore, a student must submit results of one test from each of the two categories.

The possible assessment instruments listed below are not intended to be an exhaustive list. These tests are merely recommended due to their reliability and validity for use with adolescents/adults.  

Cognitive Ability / Aptitude

  • Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test
  • Nelson - Denny Reading Test
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fifth Edition (SB 5)
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS-III)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery-III: Tests of Cognitive Ability (WJ III-Cognitive Ability)

Academic Achievement

  • KeyMath, Revised NU
  • Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA) 
  • Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK)
  • Test of Written Language-4 (TOWL-4)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery-III: Tests of Academic Achievement 

Once the student obtains the proper assessments and documentation, he/she must make an appointment with a director of the Office of Student Accessibility Services by calling 508-999-8711.

At that point, the documentation will be reviewed to determine eligibility for the foreign language waiver / substitution courses.

If the foreign language wavier is granted, a letter to the Foreign Language Department will be submitted on the student’s behalf. 

The student is then required to go to the Foreign Language Department, Liberal Arts Building, Room 350, to fill out appropriate paperwork. The student will also be given a list of the substitution courses available.

Foreign Language Waiver: Substitute Course Policy

 When students are assigned a Foreign Language waiver that requires them to take two (2) additional courses, these courses:

  • Must be above and beyond the course being waived
  • Must be from the approved list
  • Cannot be used or shared with the Major or Distribution college requirements
  • Can be in the same area as your Major, as long as it is not being used to fulfill a requirement
  • Can be shared with a Gen Ed requirement

If you are not sure if a course satisfies the Foreign Language waiver requirement, please contact the Assistant Registrar at 508-999-8614.