Specific, appropriate and acceptable documentation must be current, comprehensive and include the following:
- The evaluator’s name, address, telephone number (in the event our office needs to contact the evaluator), and professional credential relevant to the diagnosis. (i.e., M.D., Ph.D., LSSP).
- The documentation must be on professional letterhead, typed, dated, and signed.
- Documentation must relate to assessment conducted no longer than five years from the date upon which SDS services are being requested. If a student submits documentation that is more than five years old, he or she may be asked to seek an updated assessment and documentation of disability. Applications that do not meet these criteria will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Any additional assessments needed to support the student's application are the sole cost and discretion of the student and/or the family.
- A specific diagnosis, if applicable, including level of severity; diagnosis should adhere to a widely recognized diagnostic system such as the DSM-IV-TR. If no diagnosis is rendered, that should also be clearly documented in the written report.
- The specific findings in support of this diagnosis including relevant history, observations of the individual, tests administered, test results and the evaluator's interpretation of those test results.
- For a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disability or ADHD, a comprehensive neuropsychological examination or psychoeducational evaluation is required to determine eligibility for services as a student with a disability. Objective evidence of a substantial limitation must be provided.
Depending on the specific nature of the diagnosis, such assessment should, in most cases, include some combination of the following:
- Cognitive/intelligence assessment (required for LD diagnosis; highly recommended for ADHD diagnosis)
- Academic achievement assessment (required for LD diagnosis; highly recommended for ADHD diagnosis; Note: The WRAT instruments are not appropriate for LD diagnosis)
- Behavioral Checklists
- Continuous Performance Tests
- Personality assessment
- Social-emotional assessment
- Adaptive functioning assessment
- A description of the student’s functional limitations as they are directly related to the stated disabilities and necessitate any accommodations.
- Specific academic recommendations (recommendations related to social and/or residential situations are also appropriate and helpful for some disabilities)
Appropriate Diagnostic Professionals
The professional making the diagnosis of a disability should be an appropriately trained evaluator, such as a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist or educational diagnostician. For example, an audiologist would diagnose a hearing impairment, while a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker would diagnose a psychological disability such as a learning disability or ADHD. In general, when a student is suspected of a diagnosis that is primarily psychological in nature, an assessment from a physician who is not trained in psychology or psychiatry is not sufficient and should be accompanied by an evaluation from a credentialed mental health professional. Documentation from a family member or family friend is not acceptable.
The Cornerstone University Learning Center reserves the right to request additional information or evaluation.
Additional Grand Rapids area referrals are available from Dr. Nicole McDonald upon request. Contact her during the academic year via email or telephone (616.949.5300, ext. 1909).