Documentation and Eligibility Services

Documentation Guidelines

About Documentation

It is the responsibility of the student to provide information which verifies that the student's condition meets the definition of a disability as defined by applicable laws (i.e., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008). Federal Law requires that requests for services for student with disabilities be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Documentation Guidelines

Sources of information used for determining a disability and/or accommodations may include a student’s self-report, direct observation and interaction with the student, and/or documentation from qualified evaluators or professionals.

Student Self-Report:

Students should complete the online AIM registration process, which provides students an opportunity to describe their disability and accommodations they are hoping to receive. Students may submit an additional narrative by providing a letter that further describes their disability and/or accommodations they are requesting through the AIM online system. Students may consider including information about their experiences related to their disability, barriers faced, and/or previous accommodations (effective or ineffective).


Disability-related documentation should provide information on the functional impact of the disability so that effective accommodations can be identified. Criteria for the source, scope and content of documentation differs by disability type. Documentation may include assessments, reports, and/or letters from qualified evaluators, professionals, or institutions. Common sources of documentation are health care providers, psychologists, diagnosticians, and/or information from a previous school (e.g., accommodation agreements/letters, 504, IEP, or ARD documents).

Suggested Documentation Elements:

1.   Typed on letterhead, dated, and signed by a qualified professional.

2.   Diagnostic Statement with any related diagnostic methodology (diagnostic criteria and/or procedures).

3.   Functional limitations or symptoms. (Limitations inform which accommodations are appropriate.)

4.   Severity and/or expected progression.

5.   Current medication(s) and any related side-effects.

6.   Current and/or past accommodations.

7.   Any recommended accommodations.


How to Obtain Documentation 

The professional making the diagnosis of a disability should be an appropriately trained evaluator, such as a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or educational diagnostician.  For example, an audiologist would diagnose a hearing impairment; a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker would diagnose a psychological disability.  Documentation from a family member or family friend is not acceptable.

Disability Resource Center reserves the right to request additional information or evaluation.  However, information regarding resources to use in obtaining an evaluation is available from our office.  We also maintain a list of local evaluators.

Requirements of Service Animals’ Partners/Handlers:

Service animals are animals trained to assist people with disabilities in the activities of daily living. This procedure sets forth university requirements regarding the treatment of service animals, both by university employees and students and the animal’s partner/handler; designates campus locations that may be off-limits to service animals; specifies when a service animal may be removed from campus; and provides for a grievance process. This procedure also differentiates service animals from therapy/companion animals and pets. If approved as a reasonable accommodation for a disability, allow a service animal to accompany the partner (see definitions) except where service animals are prohibited or may be in danger.

1. Licensing and Vaccination: The service animal must be licensed and immunized in accordance with the laws, regulations, and ordinances of the State of Texas and local county and city authorities, if applicable.

2. Health: The service animal must be in good health and care. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its partner/handler. Service animals that are ill should not be taken into public areas. A partner/handler with an ill animal may be asked to remove the animal from university facilities.

3. Leash/Restraint: The animal must be on a leash or otherwise under the control of the partner/handler at all times.

4. Cleanup: The University may require the partner/handler to clean up after the service animal relieves itself. Individuals with a disability who physically cannot clean up after their service animal should notify the Disability Resource Center so that other arrangements can be made.

 Areas That May Be Off Limits to Service Animals

Research Laboratories and Similar Facilities:

Natural organisms carried by dogs and other animals may negatively affect the conduct of research. Similarly, chemicals and/or organisms used in research may be harmful to service animals. In consultation with appropriate faculty member(s), Disability Resource Center for Students will determine, on a case by case basis, whether or not a service animal will be allowed in a laboratory or other such facility.

Areas Where There May Be a Danger to the Service Animal:

Any area where there are sharp objects protruding from a floor or surface, where there are hot surfaces or flames, where there is moving machinery or equipment, or where there are other conditions potentially dangerous to an animal, may be designated as off-limits to service animals. The Disability Resource Center should be consulted if any of these conditions exist and a partner/handler is seeking access.

When a Service Animal May Be Removed

The partner/handler of an animal that is unruly or disruptive may be asked to remove the animal from university facilities. If this occurs, the partner/handler may be allowed to remain on university facilities without the service animal.

Requirements of Approved Therapy/Companion Animals

Under limited circumstances that must be approved in advance by the Disability Resource Center, therapy/companion/trainee animals may be allowed on university facilities. When allowed access to university facilities, the same requirements apply to therapy/companion animals as apply to service animals.


An individual dissatisfied with a decision made by the Disability Resource Center concerning a service or therapy/companion animal can file a grievance in accordance with Disability Resource Center grievance procedures.

Related Statutes, Policies, or Requirements and Definitions

Partner/Handler: An individual accompanied by a service or therapy animal. Such an individual who has a disability is called a partner; otherwise, the individual is called a handler.

Pet: A domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship. Pets are not permitted inside university facilities.

Service Animal: The ADA defines a service animal as “…any…animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.”

 If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program as a service animal.

 08.01 Civil Rights protections and Compliance

08.01.01 Civil Rights Compliance


Therapy/Companion Animal: An animal with good temperament and disposition, and who has reliable, predictable behavior, that lives with or visits people with disabilities and/or people who may be experiencing loneliness, depression, or other mental impairments as a therapy tool. A therapy/companion animal does not assist an individual with a disability in the activities of daily living.

Trainee: An animal undergoing training to become a service animal. A trainee must be housebroken and fully socialized. To be fully socialized means the animal will have a good temperament and disposition; will not, except under rare occasions, be disruptive; and will not be aggressive. A trainee must be under the control of the handler.

This page was last updated on: May 1, 2019