General Documentation Guidelines

Since the laws guiding eligibility for accommodations in grades K-12 and post-secondary education differ, current documentation (generally within one to five years depending on the nature of the disability), including recommendations which correspond with the demands of college, will help to support your transition. The documentation should address how your impairment presents a substantial limitation to learning or another major life activity

If documentation is not current or sufficiently comprehensive, the College may require an updated evaluation, the cost of which will need to be covered by the student.  Please contact our office if you have questions about the currency of your particular evaluative information as these are general guidelines and we review each student’s situation on a case-by-case basis.

Documentation must be submitted on the evaluator’s letterhead.  For students seeking accommodations based upon learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorders, the evaluation must be conducted by a professional with training and experience in the assessment of adolescents and adults.

Documentation needs to describe the impairment/condition/illness and how the impairment functionally limits your participation in the Bowdoin College experience.  For students seeking accommodation based upon a learning disability and/or attention deficit disorder, the documentation needs to include the results of comprehensive testing, including standardized, professionally acknowledged measures for adolescent and adult assessment.

Documentation needs to include recommended accommodations for college level participation. Each recommended accommodation should include a rationale that correlates with specific functional limitations which are supported by specific assessment results, clinical observations or some other professional measure.  Students should understand that we will consider all recommendations but that the College will ultimately determine what accommodations are reasonable.

Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working and the operation of a major bodily function.  The following list may not include all possible examples of disability and appropriate documentation guidance.

Disability General Currency Elements of Documentation
ADD/ADHD Within 3 years Evidence of early impairment from more than one setting; evidence of current impairment; summary of neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessments to determine the current functional limitation pertaining to an educational setting; prescribed medications, dosages and schedules.
Autism spectrum disorder/ Asperger’s syndrome Within 3 years Academic testing – standardized achievement tests, including standard scores; impact of symptoms on learning; ability to function in a residential college community; prescribed medications, dosages and schedules that may influence the learning environment.
Chronic illness and physical impairment Varies with condition Documentation will vary based on the diagnosis, which would include conditions such as asthma, arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, allergies, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis and mobility impairments.
Learning Disability Within 5 years Assessment must be comprehensive and address intellectual functioning/aptitude, preferably the WAIS-III with standard scores; achievement – current levels in reading, math and written language (acceptable instruments include the Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test or others); and information processing utilizing subtests from the WAIS-III, WJ III or others. Individual “learning styles,” “learning differences,” or “academic problems” and “test difficulty or anxiety” do not constitute a learning disability.
Psychological disorder Within 6 months Discussion of dual diagnosis; current diagnosis (DSM-IV TR) indicates the nature, frequency, severity of symptoms - diagnosis without an explicit listing of current symptoms is not sufficient; prescribed medications, efficacy, dosages and schedules that may influence the educational environment, including an possible medication side effects.
Visual or Hearing impairment  Depends if condition is static or changing

Ocular assessment/evaluation; assistive technology evaluation recommended. Audiological evaluation or audiogram administered by a licensed audiologist; interpretation of the functional implications.

To download this information as a PDF, click this link.

Contact the Office of the Dean of Students at (207) 725-3149 if you have questions.

Revised 07/2017