Learning Needs Evaluation Center
Guidelines for Documenting a Psychiatric Disability
Students seeking support services from the Learning Needs and Evaluation Center (LNEC) on the basis of a diagnosed psychiatric condition (e.g., Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia) that impacts their learning and daily functioning skills are required to submit formal documentation that verifies their eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The following guidelines are provided in an effort to assist you and your treatment provider in completing the formal request for accommodations here at the University of Virginia. These guidelines allow us to determine your eligibility and the appropriate accommodations you may receive. The Director of the LNEC is available for consultation with regard to these guidelines and their implementation.
1. A formal assessment of your current psychiatric and health status, and a formal diagnosis of a disabling condition must be provided by a licensed treatment provider, preferably a psychiatrist, or a licensed clinical psychologist or social worker.
2. The assessment must be current. Accommodations are based on an assessment of the current nature and impact of your disability. You are required to submit a report that includes an assessment of the impact of your disability on your learning and social functioning. Because psychiatric disabilities can change over time, current evaluations are critical for providing reasonable accommodations. In general, this means that evaluations must have been conducted within the last twelve months prior to accommodation requests. In addition, depending on the nature of the disability, evaluations may need to be updated on a semester-by-semester basis.
3. The evaluation must be comprehensive. Evidence of a substantial limitation in cognition and learning must be provided. Minimally, the domains to be addressed by the treatment provider must include, but are not limited to the following:
A. A diagnostic interview, which includes relevant background information in support of the diagnosis. The diagnosis requires a DSM-IV code.
B. The dates of evaluation and/or treatment, in order to establish a history of the condition and recency of the evaluation. The evaluation should include current treatments (e.g. therapy, medication) in use and provide a description of the expected progression of the disability over time (i.e., permanent/chronic v. short- term/temporary).
C. If pertinent with regard to learning issues, the results of a complete neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation should be provided. These findings must demonstrate that your functional limitations are due to the diagnosed disability(ies). All documentation should indicate how the disability(ies) might affect the individual in the university setting.
D. The diagnostic report must include the names and titles as well as license number of the person conducting the evaluation. The date of the testing must be included, also.
All documentation submitted for consideration to LNEC is confidential. Documentation supporting your disability may be sent to:
Learning Needs and Evaluation Center
University of Virginia
Elson Student Health Center
400 Brandon Avenue
PO Box 800760
Charlottesville, VA 22908
(434) 243-5188 (FAX)