How to Obtain Disability Services
The following guidelines apply to requests for academic reasonable accommodations (also referred to as academic adjustments). Students must self-identify to the Office of Disability Services and supply appropriate documentation prior to the approval or use of accommodations. Accommodations are available to students in face-to-face, combined online and online courses. Students are encouraged to submit documentation as soon as possible; accommodations are not retroactive. No student should delay in contacting Disability Services out of concern for not having the appropriate documentation. Determinations on individual documentation needs can be discussed by contacting the Office.
Appropriate documentation will establish a current disability and enough supporting information to allow for a determination of what is an appropriate accommodation. Generally, documentation should be no more than three years old.
Types of Documentation
All documentation information students can share is helpful. Documentation can include:
- Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Plans* AND
- Recent psychological or psychoeducation evaluations OR
- Letters from appropriate medical doctors or psychologists
*IEPs and 504 Plans may be helpful in identifying services that have been effective for you previously but are generally not sufficient documentation to support the existence of a disability and the need for an accommodation in the College setting, standing alone, because of the differences between high school education and college education. What you need to meet the new demands of postsecondary education may be different from what worked for you in high school (see the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights transition guidance.) Also, in some cases, the nature of a disability may change.
All documentation provided by a third party must be prepared by a person (not a family member of the student) who is qualified by professional training and practice to diagnose and treat the impairment leading to the disability. Documentation should be on letterhead of the practitioner or agency employing the practitioner.
Additional documentation may be required depending on the range and variability of functional limitations within any given disability or when additional/new accommodations are requested.
Content of Documentation
As appropriate to the disability, documentation should include:
Diagnostic Statement: A diagnostic statement identifying the specific disability, including identification of how the condition substantially limits a major life activity, the date of the current evaluation, and the date of original diagnosis. Psychiatric diagnoses, including ADHD, must include the DSM diagnosis and a summary of current symptoms. Clear identification of a disability is necessary. Language indicating individual learning styles or difficulties, or the possibility of a disability or diagnosis is not sufficient.
Diagnostic Criteria and Tests: A description of the diagnostic criteria or diagnostic tests used. All test and subtest scores must be included as standard scores and the norming population identified. Diagnosis of a Learning Disability may include comprehensive psychoeducational assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, and information processing. Where appropriate and relevant, psychoeducational or neuropsychological testing measures may also be required to support requests based on limitations of cognitive or perceptual functioning such as ADHD, psychiatric, and some medical disabilities. Evaluations must be of sufficiently recent occurrence to allow determination of the current impact of the disability in the college academic environment.
Functional Impact: A description of the functional impact of the disability is needed. The current functional impact on physical, perceptual, and/or cognitive functioning should be described.
Treatments: Currently prescribed treatments, medications, assistive devices, and auxiliary aids or services may be described. Description should include all currently in use and their estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability. Significant side effects that may affect physical, perceptual, or cognitive functioning should be identified and described.
Recommendations: Recommendations for modifications, auxiliary aids and/or services and accommodations should be supported by objective evidence of a substantial limitation to learning, living, or working in a postsecondary academic environment (as appropriate). Prior use of academic adjustments and level of benefit should be identified. If no academic adjustments have been used in the past, a rationale for current use is helpful. Subjective evidence (student report) of the efficacy of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services, or accommodations will also be considered. Not all accommodations recommended in an IEP or medical documentation are appropriate in a College setting. All approved accommodations will be reviewed with the student during their meeting with the Disability Counselor.
Disability documentation is considered confidential information and does not become part of a student's permanent educational record. In accordance with federal and state law, the College shall maintain confidentiality of student records. For example, this documentation and information is not shared with the faculty members of courses in which the student is enrolled. All documentation and records will be maintained in the Office of the Disability Services and may include electronic records.
Documentation can be emailed to your home campus:
Ammerman Campus: DisabilityA@sunysuffolk.edu
Eastern Campus: DisabilityE@sunysuffolk.edu
Michael J. Grant Campus: DisabilityG@sunysuffolk.edu