Psychiatric Disabilities

Note: There is a specific form related to Psychiatric Disabilities that must be completed and submitted to our office before we can consider accommodation requests.

A Qualified Professional Must Conduct the Evaluation

  • Name, title, professional credentials, licensure/certification information, and location of practice must be included on any reports submitted.
  • Evaluators must have training in, and experience with, the differential diagnosis of psychiatric disorders in adolescents and/or adults.
  • Appropriate professionals may include clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists or other specifically trained medical doctors, clinical social workers, licensed mental health counselors, and psychiatric nurse practitioners.
  • Evaluations performed by members of the students family are not acceptable.
  • All reports must be signed by the evaluator, and should include a completed Upstate Medical University form (if feasible), as well as any additional information typed on letterhead. Note: Evaluator must also number and initial each page of the evaluation.

Documentation Must Be Current

  • Initial documentation should, in general, be based on evaluations performed within six months.
  • If a report is older than six months, and the student has remained in clinical contact with his or her evaluator, that professional may supplement the original report with a letter (on letterhead) describing any and all changes since the previous report. [The supplement would be in lieu of another complete report.]
  • The timing of follow-up, supplemental documentation is typically based on the professional's recommendation, and is usually required every 3, 6, or 12 months.
  • All documentation (including any supplements), should describe the current impact of the diagnosed condition(s).
  • All documentation should describe any currently mitigating factors, such as medication or other treatment.
  • All documentation should make recommendations currently appropriate to a medical school environment.

Documentation Must Be Comprehensive

  • Reports should include a brief history of the students psychiatric problems, and must include any prior behavior that was violent or destructive.
  • A specific diagnosis, or more than one, must be included.
  • Reports must indicate that DSM-IV criteria have been met for each condition.
  • Other potential diagnoses must be ruled out in the report.
  • Documentation must indicate whether or not the evaluator believes the diagnosed condition(s) rise(s) to the level of a disability as defined by Section 504 and the ADA (substantially limiting a major life activity).
  • There must be a clear indication of the individual students functional limitations, in a medical school environment and across other domains.
  • Documentation should include recommendations for accommodations that are directly related to the functional limitations.
  • If no prior accommodations have been provided, the qualified professional expert should include a detailed explanation as to why no accommodations were given in the past and why accommodations are needed now.
  • A rationale, explaining why each recommendation for accommodation is appropriate, should be given.
  • A statement regarding potential for harm to self or others must be included.
  • A clinical summary is helpful.

Adapted from: Learning and Disability Services, Dartmouth Medical School