Office for Disability and Access

Documentation Guidelines

The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. Individuals with disabilities who attend or plan to attend a post-secondary institution may need reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids to have equal access to the programs and services offered. The laws that require post-secondary institutions to provide these services to otherwise qualified students include Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). To receive accommodations in the post-secondary environment, a student must notify the institution's Disability Services Office and initiate the process for determining their eligibility for accommodations. The Office for Disability & Access (ODA) is the designated office at Oberlin College.


These documentation guidelines have been provided to assist students in obtaining appropriate documentation from qualified professionals. While proper documentation of a disability is only one part of determining eligibility for accommodations, the provision of this documentation assists the Access Coordinators in understanding the impact of the disabilities, needs, and potential accommodations. Oberlin College and Conservatory also utilizes documentation for the following reasons:

  • to verify the existence of a disability;
  • to support the request for each specific accommodation;
  • to review the nature of the disability (ies) and its impact on the post-secondary environment; and
  • to assist in the collaborative determination of eligibility for auxiliary aids and services to minimize the impact of the disability.

Fillable Provider Forms *

Documentation Guidelines 

Provider Documentation Form for Housing/Dining Requests 

Provider Documentation Form for ESA Requests

Provider Documentation Form for Severe Allergies 


* It is important to note that a diagnosis or medical provider recommendation does not guarantee that the student’s request for specific accommodations will be approved. The ODA completes a holistic review of the provider’s recommendations, current nature of the student’s symptoms, student’s self-report, and all available accommodations and college support resources when making final decisions and recommendations.



An Individualized Education Plan (IEP), 504 Plan, or General Education Initiative from a secondary school may not provide thorough information for the documentation of disability and needed accommodations. Please refer to the institution's documentation guidelines for the required information. There are differences between high school and college documentation and accommodations. Please refer to the Differences Between High School and College form for more information.