AccessAbility Services

Documentation guidelines

In determining reasonable accommodations, we consider each student's experience, history, request, and the characteristics of each Goodwin course and program. In line with The Association on Higher Education And Disability guidance on documentation practices, as consistent with changes in our society's understanding of disability and the updated regulations and guidance on Titles II and III of the ADA, acceptable sources of documentation can take many forms. We invite all Goodwin students who request reasonable accommodations to meet with the Coordinator of AccessAbility Services to discuss your experience, past use of accommodations, and any disability-related barriers you anticipate or are experiencing at the University.

Primary documentation: student's self-report

Students are a vital source of information. Your narrative of your experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective academic accommodations and/or auxiliary aids is an important tool that may be sufficient for establishing disability and a need for these. Please complete the OAS Registration Form

Secondary documentation: observation and interaction

During interviews and conversations with students, impressions and conclusions formed by the Office of AccessAbility Services, or in evaluating the effectiveness of previously implemented or provisional academic accommodations, are important forms of documentation. Observations of student language, performance, and strategies are another tool in validating student narrative and self-report.

For new students, we welcome you to connect with OAS as soon as you have formally confirmed your commitment to attend Goodwin. For students who are still in exploratory stages, we are happy to schedule an informational meeting with you.

Tertiary documentation: information from external or third parties

Documentation from external sources may include educational or medical records, and reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as IEPs, SOPs, and teacher observations. External documentation will vary in its relevance and value depending on the original context, credentials of the evaluator, the level of detail provided, and the comprehensiveness of the narrative.

Suggested documentation elements:

  1. Typed on letterhead, dated, and signed by a qualified professional.
  2. State the disability or disabilities.
  3. Describe the impact or symptoms of the disability.
  4. If appropriate, discuss the severity and/or expected progression.
  5. If appropriate, list medication side-effects.
  6. Current and/or past accommodations
  7. Any recommended accommodations

It is important to note that all forms of documentation are meaningful and may provide pertinent information. Documentation will be reviewed on an individual, case-by-case basis. Please submit your information as soon as possible, as often determinations of reasonable accommodations can take up to two weeks depending on complexity.

As each person's situation is unique, students are encouraged to contact us to discuss their situation.

Please note the following:

  • To receive accommodations, students at the postsecondary level are required to seek out the Office of AccessAbility Services in order to request accommodations.
  • Reasonable accommodations are determined based on the student's self-report, OAS knowledge of the academic environment, and additional documentation/self-reports. A student's program of study will also inform the types of accommodations available.
  • Section III of the ADA (2010) states that, while considerable weight is to be given to documentation of past accommodations, or auxiliary aids or services received in similar testing situations, and provided in response to past IEPs and/or Section 504 Plans, it does not state that a particular accommodation must be granted if it is deemed not reasonable or other suitable strategies are available at the postsecondary level.