Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Psychiatric Disability

Guidelines for Documentation of Psychiatric Disabilities


Please refer to General Guidelines for Disability Documentation in addition to these specific guidelines for psychiatric disabilities. The general guidelines are available at the Disability Services office and at: http://www.fandm.edu/disabilityservices/documentation-guidelines

The following guidelines describe the necessary components of acceptable documentation for students with psychiatric disabilities. Students are encouraged to provide their clinicians with a copy of these guidelines.

Documentation of psychiatric disabilities must include all of the following elements:

1. The evaluation must be performed by a qualified individual: Testing must be performed by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or clinical social worker unrelated to the student by birth or marriage. An assessment from a general physician typically will not suffice. The College reserves the right to require that a certified copy of the report be transmitted directly from the evaluator to the College.

2. Currency of documentation: Evaluations should be dated within 6 months of the date of DS registration. Older evaluations will be considered if submitted with more recent supplemental documentation.

3. Current treatment and medications: Documentation should include any counseling, specific therapies, current prescribed medications and any side-effects that would compromise academic functioning as well as the ameliorative effects of such treatments/medications.

4. Specific diagnosis: This should not merely refer to symptoms and should correspond to a specific diagnosis as per the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – IV TR / V (DSM-IV TR / V ). Please note that a diagnosis in and of itself does not automatically warrant approval of requested accommodations.

5. Clinical Summary: A narrative clinical summary must include the following:

• A history of presenting symptoms, the current severity and expected duration of symptoms, a description of functional limitations and the impact of the disability on the student’s current participation in courses, programs, services, or any other activities of the College and a basis for the opinion.

• A statement as to what major life activity(ies) is substantially limited by the student’s condition(s) and a rating of the limitation, such as mild, moderate, substantial, or severe of each affected major life activity, both with and without the use of mitigating measures, such as treatment and medication.

• Recommendations for academic or other accommodations, including a rationale for each.