Students, staff, and faculty requesting accommodations at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) are generally required to submit documentation to receive services and/or accommodations.

General Documentation Guidelines

JHU acknowledges that once a person is diagnosed as having a disability the disability may be life-long. While the disability may continue, the severity of the condition and/or how it impacts an individual in different settings may change over time. The purpose for requesting documentation is to consider each person individually and to understand if and how the individual is currently impacted by their disability in a higher education or work environment. This information is necessary to make an informed decision about the need for accommodations and services and help identify effective options.

In order to determine if a specific accommodation(s) is reasonable and appropriate, the following factors will be considered:

  • Disability
  • Accommodation history
  • Personal self-reported statement
  • Observations and Interactions with Disability Services/ADA Compliance Officer
  • Previous accommodations received
  • Accommodations being requested
  • Unique characteristics of course and/or employment
  • Any other documentation provided

Accommodation decisions typically are not made until, at a minimum, some written documentation is provided and an interview has been conducted.

Definition of a Disability

In order to receive accommodations, an individual must have a mental or physical condition that substantially limits a major life activity. Types of disabilities include (but are not limited to): Blind or Low Vision, Chronic Health Conditions, Cognitive Disabilities (ADD, LD), Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Physical Disabilities, and Psychological Disabilities.

Documentation from External Sources

Appropriate disability accommodations are determined based on documentation which may include records of receiving accommodations at past educational institutions; JHU Documentation Forms completed by a qualified provider; and reports, assessments, and letters from clinicians and/or psychologists. Documentation of accommodations previously approved for standardized tests is helpful supplementary documentation but no sufficient by itself. Medical records should not be submitted as they may contain information that is not needed.

A 504 Plan, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Summary of Performance (SOP) can be submitted as documentation so long as the information provided indicates the functional limitations of the condition and helps to identify a connection between the disability and the appropriate accommodation(s) being requested.

The following documentation is requested:

A completed JHU Documentation Form or type written/signed letter from an appropriate professional is needed. The letter should include:

  • History of the disability
  • Description of the current impact and functional limitations as it relates to:
    • Students: Meeting the various demands of higher education and residential living (academically, socially, emotionally, physically, etc.)
    • Employees: The limitations caused by the condition and how those limitations impact the employee’s performance of the essential functions of the job (please refer to the position description)
  • Expected progression or stability; anticipated return to work date (if applicable)
  • Recommendations for accommodations or services
  • Any relevant implications of existing co-morbid conditions
  • Additional observations and/or recommendations

Learning Disabilities, conditions or incidents impacting the brain, Attention Deficit Disorder, Asperger’s and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders):

  • A comprehensive neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation that includes aptitude and achievement (preferably one with measures normed for an adult) in order to determine current functional impact and to support accommodation requests
  • Rating scales and objective measure of attention (for ADD)
  • Standardized scales of symptoms related to Autism (Asperger’s and PDD)
  • Language learning related scales and interpretation (if student is requesting accommodations related to second language learning)
  • Conclusions and recommendations
  • Report should not have redacted content

Transfer and Graduate Students

In addition to the documentation you provide, you are also encouraged to send a letter from any institution you previously attended that includes the timeframe in which you were provided services and the accommodations used. 

Accommodation needs can potentially change over time and updated information should be submitted so the most effective services and accommodations can be provided. Updates at reasonable intervals may be requested when needs are not considered ongoing.

For Additional Information

Students should contact the disability services staff in their school. A list of JHU student disability coordinators by school can be found on this website. In addition, this PDF provides more information about Student Disability Services’ Documentation Guidelines.

Faculty and staff should contact the Office of Institutional Equity via phone (410-516-8075) or email ([email protected]).