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NOVA Disability Documentation Guidelines

  • sign language
  • assistive technology
  • interpreter services

Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process between a Disability Support Services (DSS) counselor and the student who is making the request.

To be eligible for services, students must submit documentation of their disability from a licensed professional who is qualified to make the specific diagnosis and to recommend appropriate accommodations (licensed psychologist, medical doctor, psychiatrist). Documentation must establish the presence of a disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Documentation must be relevant to the accommodations being requested. An accommodation will not be considered reasonable if it creates a functional alteration to a program or service, even if it is recommended by a testing or treating practitioner. Upon receiving the documentation, the DSS counselor will review it and set up a meeting with the student.   

Documentation must clearly state:

  • the name, address, title and professional credentials of the person completing the evaluation (ex. licensed psychologist, medical doctor) and the area of specialization;
  • the diagnosis, using DSM-5 or ICD-10 codes;
  • test, methods and/or criteria used, and when available, both the summary and specific test scores;
  • the nature of functional limitations; and
  • the current impact of the impairment on your ability to participate in NOVA's educational programs and services;
  • and recommendation(s) of accommodations.
  • NOTE: Doctor's prescription pad notes will not be accepted.

IEP's, 504 Plans, and testing from high school or earlier, may not always be sufficient for college. You are advised to review your documentation to see whether it addresses each of the items described above. 

All documentation submitted to DSS is kept strictly confidential. 

Specific Guidelines by Disability

Learning Disabilities

  • A specific learning disability must be clearly diagnosed.
  • The evaluation must include standardized measures of cognitive development, academic achievement, information processing and adaptive/emotional functioning.
  • Test scores must be provided.

Developmental Disabilities (including Autism-Spectrum Disorders)

  • A specific disability must be diagnosed and include the date of onset.
  • Evaluations must include standardized measures of cognitive development, academic achievement, information processing, and adaptive/emotional functioning.
  • Actual test scores must be provided.
  • The evaluation must address the impact on behavioral, social and communication domains. 

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

  • Documentation must include a description of present symptoms across multiple settings, and the impact of symptoms in a college environment.
  • If submitting a psycho-educational evaluation, it must include standardized measures of cognitive development, academic achievement, information processing, and adaptive/emotional functioning, in addition to measures of attention.
  • Actual test scores must be provided.
  • Exclusion of differential diagnoses must be included (example: ID, mental health disorders).

Psychiatric Disabilities

  • Documentation must include a narrative summary specifying present symptoms and date of onset.
  • If applicable, address any medications or treatments currently prescribed that may have an impact on your learning.
  • Updated documentation may periodically be requested to determine current functioning.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing 

  • An audiogram confirming the diagnosis of the hearing loss and the severity of the loss.
  • For individuals requesting Assistive Listening Devices, recommendations from an audiologist are helpful, but not mandatory.

Blind/Visually Impaired

  • A diagnosis of visual impairment including acuity and prognosis.
  • Recommendations from treating practitioner or assistive technology specialists are helpful, but not mandatory.

Traumatic Brain Injury/Acquired Head Injury

  • Documentation should include diagnosis of brain injury and indicate the date of the initial injury.
  • Evaluations must include a narrative summary specifying present symptoms, and the current functional limitations.

Speech/Communication Impairments

  • Documentation must include a diagnosis of speech/communication impairment and the impact of symptoms in a college environment.
  • Recommendations from treating practitioner or assistive technology specialists are helpful, but not mandatory. 

Medical Conditions and Physical Impairments 

  • Documentation must include a current and comprehensive medical report or practitioner's letter describing present symptoms and prognosis.
  • Current functional limitations and their impact on the college environment must be addressed.
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