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Office of Institutional Equity

Documentation Guidelines for Individuals with Disabilities

Students, staff, and faculty who are requesting accommodations at Johns Hopkins University are required to submit documentation under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination and may be entitled to reasonable accommodations and the right to equal access to programs and services.

General Documentation Guidelines

Johns Hopkins University acknowledges that once a person is diagnosed as having a disability the disability is normally viewed as life-long. While the disability will continue, the severity of the condition and/or how it is impacted in different settings may change over time. Therefore, the purpose of requesting documentation is:

To consider each person individually and to understand if and how the individual is impacted by their disability in a higher education environment in order to make an informed decision about the need for accommodations and services.

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 Coordinator
  • Previous accommodations received
  • Accommodations being requested
  • Unique characteristics of course and/or employment
  • Any other documentation provided

Accommodation decisions cannot be 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 we serve includes (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 educational or medical records, reports and assessments from health care providers and psychologists.

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 impact of the condition and helps the identify a connection between the disability and the appropriate accommodation(s) being requested.

The following information must be submitted:

For All Disabilities: A type written report or letter from the appropriate medical professional.  The letter must 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. Medically)
    • 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
  • Functional living skills (i.e. orientation and mobility and activities of daily living (ADL’s)
  • Notation of any medical equipment that is required
  • Notation of medications, if any, and potential impact on learning and/or side effects
  • Implications of existing co-morbid conditions
  • Additional observations and/or recommendations for appropriate accommodations

For All Cognitive Disabilities (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 accommodations requests
  • Rating scales and objective measure of attention (for ADD)
  • Standardized scales of symptoms related to Autism (Asperger’s and PDD)

For Physical and Medical, Chronic Health and Psychological disabilities

  • A treating professional is asked to complete a medical form in addition to a written letter that addresses the bullet points above.

For Blind and Low Vision and Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  • A recent report from your doctor must be provided.

Transfer and Graduate Students:

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

Because some accommodation needs can potentially change over time, individuals should try to submit updated information as conditions change in order to provide the most effective services and accommodations possible.

Disability Services reserves the right to request additional documentation in order to support specific accommodations. If additional information is needed, Disability Services may determine that it is appropriate to provide temporary accommodations. Temporary accommodations will be determined based on the information that has been provided.

The aforementioned guidelines are provided so that Disability Services can respond appropriately to the individual needs of the student. Disability Services reserves the right to determine eligibility for services based on adherence to these guidelines and established policies and procedures.

For additional information:

Students should contact their coordinator.  A list of coordinator’s by school can be found at:

JHU employee’s should contact the Office of Institutional Equity: