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Guidelines for Neurological Disorders

Penn State's Documentation Guidelines for Neurological Disorders

Students seeking academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services from Penn State University are required to provide diagnostic documentation from a licensed clinical professional familiar with the history and functional limitations of the student's impairments. All documentation must adequately verify the nature and extent of the disorder in accordance with current professional standards, techniques and practices. Also, the documentation must clearly substantiate the need for the student's specific academic adjustment, auxiliary aid, and/or service request. All documentation must be submitted on the official letterhead of the professional. The report should be typed, dated, signed, and include the professional credentials of the evaluator including information regarding licensure or certification. The cost of obtaining documentation is borne by the student. If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability and reasonable academic adjustment, auxiliary aid, and/or service, Penn State University has the discretion to require additional documentation. Any cost of obtaining additional documentation is also borne by the student.

Documentation of a neurological disorder must include reports from a neurologist and a neuropsychologist. The report from the neurologist must include results of a neurological evaluation. The report from the neuropsychologist must include objective neurological testing. Both reports should address the type of neurological impairment (i.e., memory loss, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with attention, difficulty with balance, difficulty with sleep patterns), and the degree of neurological deficit. The reports must reflect the current functional limitations of the impairment (documentation for neurological disorders may require periodic updates, especially if changes occur in the student's functioning). In addition, documentation of a neurological disorder must fully explain the following criteria of the student's impairment (if applicable):

  • Medical diagnosis
  • Duration (chronic, episodic, or short term) of the condition
  • History of the condition and the symptoms related (include information related to hospitalization, physical/psychological/occupational therapy)
  • Severity (mild, moderate, or severe) and an explanation of the severity
  • Dates and frequency of contacts with the student
  • Differential diagnoses and reasons for ruling out these diagnoses
  • Explanation of how the symptoms related to the student's disorder cause significant impairment in a major life activity
  • Detailed explanation of how the disorder limits the student's functioning for the learning or testing environment ( Psycho-educational testing may be necessary for certain neurological disorders to determine functional impairment in the classroom. See Penn State's documentation guidelines for Learning Disorders for complete information regarding Penn State's guidelines for psycho-educational testing ).
  • List of the student's current medication (dosage, frequency, and adverse side effects) and an explanation of the extent medication mitigates the symptoms of the disorder
  • Explanation of any significant limitations in functioning directly related to the prescribed medication
  • Specific recommendations regarding academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services related to the student's disorder and a rationale as to the reason these academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services are warranted based upon the student's functional limitations
  • Indication as to why the stated academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services are necessary if the current treatments are successful
  • Information regarding situations that may exacerbate the student's condition

In addition to the above documentation guidelines for Neurological Disorders, the student must have their provider fill out the Verification Form for Neurological Disorders. The Verification Form for Neurological Disorders is not to be utilized in place of the documentation requirements above; rather, it is supplemental to a full neurological evaluation and report from the evaluator.

An electronic version of the Verification Form for Neurological Disorders is available. The form can also be obtained from the Office for Disability Services (ODS) located in Room 116 Boucke Building, University Park, PA, from the Disability Services Coordinator at any Penn State location or call 814- 863-1807 (V/TTY) to have a copy of the form sent.

All documentation submitted should be sent with the student's identifying information (name, social security number, address and phone number). f the student is attending the University Park location, the documentation should be returned to the ODS. If the student is attending another Penn State location, the documentation should be returned to the Campus Disability Services Coordinator at the location. Information regarding the Campus Disability Services Coordinator at other PSU locations can be found on this website.