Documentation and Eligibility Services
A. General Documentation Requirements: The purpose of the documentation requirement is to assure consistency and compliance with federal statutes, to legitimize students’ request for accommodations, to assist in the determination of appropriate accommodations for the student, and to personalize students’ rights to equal access to the institution.
- In general, the documentation of a disability must include:
- A specific diagnosis (including level of severity).
- The documentation must be on letterhead, typed, dated, and signed.
- Documentation must reflect the current status of the disability. For most disabling conditions, documentation is considered current within a period of 5 years. The Disability Resource Center will request periodic updates regarding a student’s functional limitations due to his/her disability.
- The specific findings in support of this diagnosis including relevant history, tests administered, test results, and an interpretation of those tests results.
- A description of the student’s functional limitations as they are directly related to the stated disabilities.
- Specific recommendations for academic accommodations for both the curriculum and testing, including an explanation of why these specific accommodations are needed.
- A description of the condition that may interfere with one or more of a major life activity
- The evaluator’s name, address, telephone number (in the event our office needs to contact the evaluator), and professional credentials relevant to the diagnosis.
B. Assistance and Referral to Obtain Documentation: To be eligible for services, the student must present appropriate documentation from a professional qualified to diagnose his or her disability. The student may be referred for additional documentation if the documentation initially provided is not sufficient. In such cases, a student providing documentation showing good evidence of a disability will be served for one semester on a provisional basis to allow for referral, funding and processing time. TAMUK is not required to provide assessment of disabilities or related funding. (See section “Provisional and Temporary Services” for more information.)
• Documentation of Medical Conditions: Students whose disabilities are medical conditions must present documentation from a medical professional that is qualified to diagnose the specific medical condition. If a student has multiple conditions, each condition for which the student is seeking academic accommodations must be so documented. The documentation must sufficiently indicate the functional limitations of the disability to determine and support appropriate accommodations.
• Documentation of Psychiatric/Psychological Conditions: Students with psychiatric, psychological, cognitive and learning impairments must present a comprehensive psychological evaluation presenting DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. This report must provide sufficient indication of the functional limitations posed by the disability to determine appropriate academic accommodation(s). The DRC office will review the documentation to determine if it is sufficient to support the accommodations requested by the student.
Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of submitted documentation and requests for accommodation(s) on a case-by-case basis. Additional information may be requested to determine eligibility for services. Documentation acceptable for other agencies and institutions (e.g., vocational rehabilitation agencies, public schools) may not be sufficient for determining post-secondary services. Generally, an Individualized Education Plan, 504 Plan, or General Education Initiative from a secondary school does not provide thorough information for the documentation of disability and needed accommodations in the post-secondary setting.
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 29, 2012