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Disability Resources for Students

Documentation for a Health or Sensory Disability

Overview

For students requesting services for a health or sensory disability, the Disability Resources for Students (DRS) office requires documentation from a qualified professional that describes the disability and its functional impact on the student’s academic experiences. This documentation serves three purposes:

  • To establish that the student can be considered a person with a disability, and therefore eligible for protection against discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • To supplement information from the student regarding the impact of the disability.
  • To support and inform the development of reasonable accommodation (auxiliary aids and services) designed to facilitate equal access to University environments on a case-by-case basis.

Documentation needs to include:

  • A diagnosis of the disability/health condition
  • A description of the current impact/limitations of the disability/health condition with specific focus on barriers to the educational and/or housing environment
  • A discussion of whether the disability/health condition is permanent or temporary
    • If temporary, please provide information on the expected duration of the disability/health condition and timeline for re-evaluation

Documentation for episodic conditions:

Some disabilities/health conditions may have episodic flare-ups. A few examples of such are Crohn’s disease, chronic migraines, seizure disorders, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.  To help DRS understand the impact of these types of conditions, documentation should discuss the following:

  • Triggers and warning symptoms of onset
  • Symptoms experienced during an episode
  • Frequency and duration of episodes
  • Care plan for management

Documentation needs be from a qualified healthcare provider and include:

  • Contact information
  • License number
  • Signature or electronic signature

Documentation may be submitted in, but is not limited to, one of the following formats:

  • DRS Healthcare Provider Form
  • Qualified providers professional letterhead
  • Official visit summary, such as emergency department discharge papers
  • Audiogram
  • Vision screening results

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should my documentation be submitted?

Students can submit documentation directly to their myDRS application, or students or their health care providers can email it to uwdrs@uw.edu, fax it to 206-616-8379, or drop it off in-person to DRS in Mary Gates Hall 011.

What if my existing documentation does not meet the above guidelines?

Students are encouraged to submit what they have for review by a DRS Coordinator. Provisional accommodations may be established while additional documentation is being obtained.  If additional documentation is needed the DRS Coordinator can work with the student and diagnostician to clarify what information is needed. If the student does not currently have a health care provider that can update documentation the DRS Coordinator can help the student identify local providers who may be of assistance.

What if I do not have any documentation for my disability and/or health condition?

Students who do not have documentation are encouraged to schedule a meeting with a DRS Coordinator to learn more about relevant assessments and where to obtain them.  DRS Coordinators are glad to offer advice on what assessments may be helpful.

What is the privacy requirement for health information provided to DRS?

All information and documentation submitted to the DRS office is kept separate from an academic record and is considered private under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). HIPPA privacy and confidentiality guides do not apply to documents submitted to DRS for they are not being used for treatment. Under FERPA guidelines DRS can not guarantee complete confidentiality as they may be times when sharing some information with other UW staff/faculty is necessary in the facilitation of the accommodation process.