How to Document a Disability

To receive accommodations through the Office of Accessibility Services (formerly ODS), you must provide documentation establishing the presence of a substantially limiting condition and describing its current impact on your academic access. This information is necessary for identifying possible accommodations. A clinical diagnosis is not synonymous with a disability. Evidence sufficient to render a clinical diagnosis may not be adequate to determine if an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity.

Documentation will be reviewed in the order it is received; therefore it is recommended that it is submitted in advance of any accommodation needs. If you have any questions, please call 585-245-5112. Documentation can be submitted by fax (585-245-5091), attached to email (, or mailed to:

Office of Accessibility Services
SUNY Geneseo
1 College Circle, Erwin 22
Geneseo, New York, 14454

The cost of obtaining documentation is the responsibility of the student. This includes any additional information requested if the initial documentation does not determine the extent of the disability or support the need of the requested accommodations.

Documentation Criteria

All Documentation must: 

  • Be prepared by a professional (unrelated to the student) who is licensed to practice within a field directly related to, and associated with, the student’s condition.
  • Be printed on official stationery and include (if applicable) printed name, profession, license number, contact information, and signature of the provider.
  • Include a clear statement of diagnosis identifying the disability and describe by what means the condition was diagnosed.
  • Meet specific guidelines as outlined on the OAS website
  • Be completed within the last five years. Conditions subject to episodes of progression or improvement may require updated documentation every six to twelve months. Sensory and/or mobility conditions unlikely to change significantly over time may be acceptable if over five years old.
  • Contain information supportive of the student’s request for specific academic supports, auxiliary aids, and accommodations.
  • Contain a clearly defined logic relating provider recommended accommodations/strategies to specific functional limitations.

OAS does not accept the following documentation: 

  • Handwritten letters from licensed professionals
  • Handwritten patient records or notes from patient charts
  • Documentation provided by a member of the student’s family
  • Diagnoses on prescription pads
  • Self-evaluations
  • Research articles
  • Correspondence from educational institutions or testing agencies not directly addressed to ODS
  • Individual Education Program (IEP) and 504 Plans
    • A possible exception would be an IEP, CER, or 504 Plan that meets all of the requirements defined by the above guidelines. 

Additional Guidance

For additional guidance regarding documentation for a specific disability, please refer to the documents below: