Documentation Requirements for Academic Accommodations

There are many types of disabilities. Chronic illnesses, physical limitations, mobility impairments, visual and auditory impairments, mental health conditions, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities are among the categories of conditions that may require accommodations in the academic setting. Due to the diverse nature of these many types of conditions, documentation requirements may vary based on the taxonomy of the condition.  In general, all documentation must include the following:

1)      1) A clear diagnosis of the condition (meeting industry standards) made by a licensed clinician;

2)      2) The duration of the diagnosis and the duration of the relationship between the clinician and student;

3)      3) The functional impact the diagnosis has on the studentís academics;

4)      4) The expected prognosis of the condition;

5)      5) Recommendations for accommodation based on the condition;

6)      6) The documentation must be signed, original, and current. (Within 4 years of the date of matriculation for psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluations; a treating clinician's letter within 6 months of the date of registration with the Student Accessibility  Services Office and each fall there after).

7)      A letter written by the student explaining his/her interpretation of the disability, itís impact on his/her individual education, and what kinds of accommodations he/she is seeking.

Documentation can be mailed or faxed to:

Linda Sullivan
Director, Student Accessibility  Services Office
Tufts University - Dowling Hall, Suite 720
419 Boston Ave
Medford, MA 02155
Fax: 617-627-5447

Further documentation requirements are needed based on the type of condition:

Medical Conditions

Conditions which are treated by an M.D. or specialist are considered to be medical.  Some conditions are chronic and unchanging (e.g. neuropathy), some are temporary (e.g., broken bones), some are in a state of flux (e.g., Lupus).  These types of conditions require a current (within 6 months of matriculation date) statement by a licensed clinician, as outlined above, and must be updated annually.*  Students with chronic health conditions should also notify Dr. Margaret Higham, Medical Director of Health Services of their conditions (

Mobility Impairments

Mobility impairments may be chronic or temporary.  Students with temporary mobility constraints should contact the Student Accessibility  Services Office to discuss assistance while a student is incapacitated. A note from the treating M.D. is needed for temporary conditions.  For chronic impairments, documentation from the treating physician following the criteria listed above, is necessary only once at the time of registration with the Student Accessibility  Services Office.  Students with chronic mobility impairments who need assistance with the co-curricular components of their time at Tufts should contact, Ms. Yolanda King, Director of Residential Life at 617-627-3248, to discuss how to best accommodate their needs. 

Auditory and Visual Impairments

Students with chronic and unchanging auditory or visual impairments (e.g., deafness, blindness) must submit current documentation (within 6 months of matriculation) from their treating physicians, including any certifications of deafness or blindness (if applicable), psycho education testing or neuropsychological testing (if performed) using adult measures within 4 years of the matriculation date of the student.  Students who have conditions such as these should register with the Student Accessibility  Services Office early as their needs will require a team approach to coordinate services in and out of the classroom. Documentation for chronic Auditory or Visual impairments is submitted to the DSO once during a studentís academic career. 

Mental Health Conditions

Mental health conditions occasionally require academic accommodations.  In order for a mental health condition to rise to the level of a disability, the diagnosis must be older than 6 months, the condition must be impairing the studentís ability to learn or perform the necessary components of learning, and must be consistent with the latest version of the DSM available to the community (currently the DSM-IV).  Documentation for mental health disabilities must be in accordance with the criteria listed above and be signed by the clinician within 6 months of matriculation and updated annually at the start of the academic year (fall semester).

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, (ADHD), is a life-long condition which typically presents in prior school settings.  ADHD may impact a personís learning in many differing ways and has many different presentations for students.  Students with a diagnosis of ADHD, or ADD, should submit a letter as specified above, along with a psycho-educational, or neuropsychological evaluation using adult measures that demonstrates the impact of the condition on the studentís learning. The clinicianís letter must be within 6 months of matriculation and the testing dates within 4 years of matriculation, documentation is submitted once during a studentís career at Tufts. 

Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities encompass many different types of disabilities and impact a studentís performance in many different ways.  Documentation for students with learning disabilities is submitted once and should be within 4 years of date of matriculation and include the criteria stipulated above.  Additionally a copy of the most current Individualized Education Plan, (IEP), for the student should be submitted with the studentís documentation.

Please note, documentation submission is one part of the registration process with the Student Accessibility Services Office.  Students should expect a receipt of documentation by email, or U.S. postal service within 1 week of the date of receipt.  If you have submitted documentation and have not received a confirmation regarding its receipt please contact the Student Accessibility Services Office at 617-627-4539.

*Annual documentation is not required for conditions that are considered stable and unchanging.

  Academic Resource Center, Dowling Hall, Medford, MA, 02155  |  Tel: (617) 627-4345  |  Email