Documentation Guidelines

Documentation Guidelines for Students with Disabilities

This page contains the following sections:

General Documentation Guidelines
Documentation Guidelines for Learning Disabilities
Documentation Guidelines for Emotional Support Animals in University Housing


Students seeking accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, should register with the SHSU Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office located in the Lee Drain Annex, Huntsville Campus. In order for students with disabilities to be eligible for accommodations at SHSU, they must provide SSD with documentation of a disability, i.e., a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The documentation must be from a qualified professional who is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question. All tests used to document the disability must be technically sound and standardized. Documentation should be recent enough to reflect the student's current level of functioning and must be typed on the professional's letterhead, dated, and signed by the professional.

SSD reserves the right to request additional or updated documentation, as necessary, to evaluate the student's request for accommodation. SSD may require annual updates for disabilities that are dynamic in nature. 

SSD does not provide or fund evaluation services. The student is responsible for obtaining and paying the cost of an evaluation from a qualified professional.

Documentation may be submitted to SSD via e-mail to, fax to 936-294-3794, mail to SHSU Services for Students with Disabilities, Box 2091, Huntsville, Texas 77341-2091, or in person at the SSD Office in the Lee Drain Annex, Huntsville Campus. Questions regarding the General Documentation Guidelines may be addressed to SSD by any of the above-noted means or by telephone at 936-294-3512.

General Documentation Guidelines

Documentation of mental and physical impairments that require academic and/or housing accommodations (with the exception of emotional support animals in university housing - see below) should include the following information:

    1. A specific diagnostic statement identifying the disability including severity and date of current diagnostic evaluation.

    2. Findings that support the diagnosis, such as clinical interview and observations, relevant history, results of diagnostic tests or instruments, and interpretation of said results (See "Documentation Guidelines for Learning Disabilities" below for additional information on testing required to document a Learning Disorder).

    3. A description of the student's functional limitations in the educational setting and/or living environment due to the disability.

    4. Recommended accommodations and rationale for same.

    5. The evaluator's name, address, telephone number, and professional credentials

Documentation Guidelines for Learning Disabilities:

In addition to the above, documentation of a Learning Disorder in Reading, Mathematics, or Written Expression should include the following information:

    1. Testing must be comprehensive. It is not acceptable to administer only one test for the purpose of diagnosis. Domains to be addressed should include but are not limited to:

      1. Psycho-educational and medical history.

      2. Intellectual assessment in standard scores. Preferred instruments include the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities.

      3. Academic achievement tests in standard scores. Current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics, and written language are required. Preferred instruments include the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT). The Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) is not a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore, is not acceptable as the sole measure of achievement.

      4. Cognitive processing abilities in standard scores. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short-and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, and processing speed) should be assessed. Information from subtests or clusters of the WAIS or the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities may be used to evaluate functioning in these domains.

    2. Actual test scores must be provided in standard-score format based on age norms. The assessment must present evidence or normative deficits in academic skills that result in substantial functional limitations in learning. There must be clear and specific evidence and identification of a Learning Disability. Individual "learning styles" and "learning differences" alone do not constitute a Learning Disability.

Documentation Guidelines for Emotional Support Animals in University Housing

Documentation supporting a student's request for the possession and use of an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in university housing should include the following information:

    1. The student's name.

    2. Whether the health care professional has a professional relationship with the student involving the provision of health care or disability-related services.

    3. The type of animal for which the reasonable accommodation is sought (i.e., dog, cat, bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes).

    4. Whether the student has a physical or mental impairment.

    5. Whether the student's impairment substantially limits at least one major life activity or major bodily function.

    6. Whether the student needs the animal because it provides therapeutic emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of the student's disability and not merely as a pet.

    7. The professional's name, contact information, and professional licensing information.

For additional information on emotional support animals in university housing, please see Campus Access for Students or Visitors with Disabilities Using Service or Emotional Support Animals.