Register with Accessibility Services
In order to fully register with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS), a student must provide documentation of the disability that substantially limits a major life activity, such as learning, hearing, seeing, reading, walking, and speaking. All submitted documentation must include the name and professional credentials of the evaluator on the diagnostician's letterhead in clear and legible writing.
New students entering a Simmons University program may begin to submit documentation upon enrolling. Documentation for a future semester should be submitted to OAS two to four weeks prior to the start of the semester to allow time for full review of eligibility. While students can register with OAS at any time during the year, OAS recommends starting early so that documentation can be reviewed and accommodations can be requested in a timely manner. See steps below.
Submitting Documentation to OAS
Ways to Submit Documents to OAS
- Students may use the Documentation Submission and Accommodation Request Form to submit documents to the Office of Accessibility Services alongside their academic accommodation requests if their health care provider returned their completed documentation to the student.
- The OAS Practitioner’s Verification of Diagnosis Form may be completed by a licensed healthcare practitioner and submitted in the place of other qualifying documentation.
- Health care providers and offices may use the OAS secure file transfer portal to submit their patient's documentation directly to the OAS if they are unable to return the completed documentation to the student.
Please note: students must be signed into their Simmons University Gmail account in order to access our student request forms. To keep diagnosis information confidential and secure, do not email documentation to the OAS. Standard email is not as secure as using either of the methods described above in order to submit documentation to the OAS.
What is qualifying documentation?
Qualifying documentation is documentation from a licensed health care professional that verifies a student’s diagnosis or disability and provides enough information for the OAS staff to confirm that the student is eligible for academic accommodation under the ADA. Students seeking OAS registration should submit the Practitioner’s Verification of Diagnosis form (or an equally comprehensive diagnostic report such as a neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation) as qualifying documentation. The Practitioner’s Verification of Diagnosis form can be used as primary documentation for medical, physical, learning, and psychological or psychiatric diagnoses. In order to be considered qualifying documentation, the completed form must address all of the criteria and requirements indicated above.
Students may also wish to submit supplementary documentation with additional information not included in their qualifying documentation to support their requests for accommodations. While supplementary documentation may provide additional background, it must accompany qualifying documentation as described above. Examples of supplementary documentation include the following:
- IEP or 504 plan documentation
- Letters from licensed health care providers
- Accommodation letters from previous postsecondary institutions
Why is documentation required for registration?
All accommodations are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Students submit documentation to OAS so that OAS staff are able to understand each student's individual circumstances and needs and how the student’s educational experiences are impacted by their diagnosis and symptoms. This information allows OAS staff to assess the student's accommodation requests and their need for OAS services.
Documentation Criteria and Requirements
In order to qualify for full registration with the OAS and establish their eligibility for academic accommodations, students must submit qualifying documentation that addresses the following criteria:
- Documentation must include descriptions of the following:
- Diagnosis and DSM-IV or DSM-V (if applicable)
- History of the diagnosis (date diagnosed, treatment/management up to current date, etc.)
- Robust description of the diagnosis’ current impact on this student relative to the education setting and on this student’s ability to learn. The description of the impact should refer to the documented or measured experience of this student, not to people with this diagnosis in general.
- Effects of any current medication or medical equipment on the educational setting and the student's ability to learn.
- Academic accommodations recommended by the licensed health care professional.
Documentation must meet these five requirements in order to be processed:
- Documentation must be received on the OAS's Practitioner's Verification of Diagnosis form or on letterhead from the health care professional
- Documentation must be signed by the health care professional
- Documentation, if hand-written, must be legible
- Documentation must be complete (e.g., no pages omitted, no white out, includes all above criteria, all questions are answered)
- Documentation must be current (within four years from the date of the diagnostic tool). If documentation is not current or does not yet exist, the student must request updated documentation from a licensed health care provider
OAS is not able to accept or process documentation that does not meet these requirements and criteria.
When is documentation reviewed?
- First-year or transfer students starting classes in the fall semester: Documentation will be reviewed starting in late July, even if received by OAS earlier.
- First-year or transfer students starting classes in the spring semester: Documentation will be reviewed starting in January.
- Documentation from any student submitted after the start of the current semester: Documentation will be reviewed within five to seven business days after receipt by OAS.
- Online Students: Documentation will be reviewed within five to seven business days after receipt by OAS or in the month prior to the start of the student’s first semester.
OAS Registration Timetable
For new and transfer students starting in the Fall semester, OAS will review documentation and accommodation request forms beginning in Early August.
- New student submits documentation and the Accommodation Request Form to OAS
- OAS first reviews the student's documentation. Once the student’s eligibility for accommodations is established by review of their documentation, the OAS then reviews the student’s Accommodation Request Form
- OAS emails the student to confirm the student's registration with OAS and eligibility
- New Student meets with OAS staff to review accommodations and OAS policies and procedures
- Student receives their Academic Accommodation Authorization (AAA) document from OAS by secure email (5-7 business days)
- Student provides their AAA document to each faculty member for whose course the student intends to activate their accommodations
On Ground Programs