Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and rights of equal access to programs and services.
Students and employees must provide medical/psychological documentation establishing the presence of a disability and explaining the nature and degree to which the disability affects major life activities, including learning. Documentation, along with student/employee report, is necessary for RCPD staff to accurately determine which accommodations will be most effective.
The provision of reasonable accommodations and services is based upon an assessment of the impact of the individual's disabilities on academic or job performance at a given time. Therefore, RCPD requires recent documentation relevant to the individual’s learning/living/working environment. Information regarding disability is confidential and used on an as-needed basis by Ability Access Specialists directly involved in the accommodation process. Documentation can be submitted to the student's or employee's assigned specialist via email, mail, fax, or drop off to the RCPD office (120 Bessey Hall). When submitting documentation, please retain a personal copy for future use. RCPD has limited capacity to regenerate these materials.
Documentation can be submitted by the treatment provider or the student/employee seeking services in the following ways:
- Via email to RCPD.Docs@msu.edu
- Direct email to the student's or employee's assigned RCPD specialist. Students/employees immediately receive an email from their specialist's direct email address after completing the first step for registration on our Get Started page.
- Fax to RCPD at 517-432-3191
- Drop off or mail to RCPD at Bessey Hall: 434 Farm Lane, Suite 120 East Lansing, MI 48824-1033
A Note on Online Documentation: "Fee for Diagnosis" - Insufficient for Registration
There are numerous online entities that offer diagnoses in exchange for a fee. These predatory companies often operate completely on a self-report surveys and the “patient” does not have direct contact with a licensed clinician/evaluator. We’re seeing this most often with ADHD diagnoses. We cannot accept this kind of documentation and will support students to retrieve additional documents to complete their registration. We want to make sure our students are protected; if you have questions about an online diagnosis service, please feel free to reach out to an ADHD or Neurodivergent specialist!
How do I ask my treatment provider for documentation? What if they refuse?
Suggested email template (customize the bolded parts!)
I am a student/employee at Michigan State and I’m seeking academic/employment accommodations through the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). For me to get registered with accommodations, RCPD requires documentation that includes my specific diagnosis, information about how my diagnosis was reached, and importantly, details about the current functional impacts of my diagnosis. Can you please fill the relevant documentation form (found here: https://www.rcpd.msu.edu/documentation) or provide a report with equivalent information? You can return the completed documents to me, fax to RCPD at 517-432-3191, or email directly to my RCPD specialist at (your specialist’s email address).
If your provider can't provide documentation...
When a provider refuses to complete paperwork, there might be a good reason (it is outside the scope of their specialty or you are a very new patient), but you can ask these questions to inquire about further resources, to document the current refusal, and to attempt to establish a history if they are uncomfortable:
- Can you refer me to any providers who can assist me with what I need?
- Can you document the refusal to complete this (test, documentation) in my chart?
- Can I provide you with any additional paperwork/diagnostic information from past providers to establish a history of care/history of this diagnosis?
- Are there any assessments/diagnostic tests I can participate in that would help establish a diagnosis for my current concerns?
Are IEPs or 504 Plans Sufficient Documentation?
It depends! Some IEPs/504s contain enough information for registration and some don't. RCPD seeks documentation that states the specific disability diagnosis and descriptions of functional impacts for the student. For example: if you have an IEP related to a learning disability, the IEP must state the area of learning and explain the specific impacts you experience.
Documentation related to psychiatric/mental health conditions must come from a mental health professional, so there are times when IEPs/504s are not sufficient for registration related to these diagnoses. Your RCPD specialist can review your documentation to ensure it has the needed information, and help you gather additional documents if needed.
RCPD Documentation Forms
To aid the documentation process, RCPD offers guidelines and fillable forms below to facilitate the provision of needed clarity and detail from treating professionals. Submission of these fillable forms or equivalent will speed the registration process. Documentation can be submitted to the student's or employee's assigned specialist via email, mail, fax, or drop off to the RCPD office (120 Bessey Hall).
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing Documentation
- Blindness/Visual Impairment Documentation
- Mobility and Motoric Documentation
- Brain Injury Documentation
- ADHD Documentation
- Learning Disabilities Documentation
- Psychiatric Documentation
- Autism Spectrum Disorders Documentation
- Chronic Health Documentation
- Other Conditions including little person/dwarfism, speech, and hands/arms
- Assistance Animal Request Form
- Assistance Animal in University Housing Documentation Form
- Air Conditioning in University Housing Request Form
Next Steps- Determining Accommodations
After documentation of a disability has been provided and a needs assessment is completed, reasonable accommodations are determined. RCPD will provide students with a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) and employees with a Statement of Employee Accommodation Determination(SEAD). The VISA and SEAD documents provide, (a) verification of disability and registration status with the RCPD (b) an outline of reasonable accommodations.
Review the Get Started page for additional information about registering with RCPD, accommodations, and resources.