Attachment XI



Guidelines for Psychological Disability Accommodation


Who is Considered a Qualified Student with a Disability?


In order to provide quality services to students with disabilities, Texas State University requires a student to provide verification of disability to the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at the time services are requested. Verification of a psychological disability includes a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation by a licensed mental health practitioner, which has been completed within 12 months of the first day of class of the initial semester for which the student is requesting accommodations. A student may submit this documentation to the ODS for consideration. In certain cases, updated information may be required. To qualify for services and accommodations at the university, a diagnosis for psychological disability must meet the criteria outlined in this guideline.


Those disabilities addressed in this guideline include: bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders. For cognitive disorders refer to the “Guidelines for Acquired Brain Injury Accommodation (Attachment VII); for Attention Deficit Disorders refer to the "Guidelines for Attention Deficit Disorder Accommodation" (Attachment VIII); for mobility and other disabilities refer to the "Guidelines for General Disability Accommodation" (Attachment IX); and for learning disabilities refer to the "Guidelines for Learning Disability Accommodation" (Attachment X).


A student needing documentation of a psychological disability can receive referrals from the ODS. It is the responsibility of the student, not the ODS or the university, to pay for the cost of an evaluation. Disability documentation from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, or other state or federal agencies will also be considered.

Students should keep a copy of any disability documentation provided to the ODS for their own records. The ODS will maintain a student's file no longer than five years after graduation or the last semester services are requested.


What is Psychological Disability Criteria?


An evaluation for a psychological disability should include a multiaxial diagnosis according to the diagnostic codes established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV), and should identify the learning areas impaired by the disorder. Accommodations cannot be granted without a DSM-IV diagnosis verified by a psychologist or psychiatrist.


The diagnostic report should include the following information:


1)   A DSM-IV diagnostic code*

2)   Psychological test results used to support the diagnosis

3)   Learning areas impaired by the mental disorder

4)   Academic accommodations recommended by the examiner

5)   The time period for which academic accommodations are recommended

6)   Examiner's name, address, phone number and credentials to include professional license number


*Academic accommodations are not granted for Axis I or II codes preceded by a "V".


NOTE: Academic accommodations for students with psychological disabilities are generally granted for a 12-month period of time from the date of diagnosis. In certain cases where the disability is chronic, an annual update may not be required. This would be determined on a case-by-case basis by the ODS.


Students whose disability requires an update will be notified in writing by the ODS at the time accommodations are approved. The update must be provided by a private licensed mental health practitioner, or the Texas State Counseling Center. The Texas State Counseling Center and most professional licensed mental health practitioners will only update the need for continued accommodations if the student has received ongoing counseling during the year. Upon request, professional staff in the Texas State Counseling Center will assess each individual student's counseling needs to determine if he or she falls within the department's service guidelines. If he or she does not, the student will be referred to an off-campus resource for ongoing counseling and the annual update. Participation in ongoing counseling provides a mechanism for the student to update the need for academic accommodations and to receive the support services necessary to effectively manage his or her disability while in school.


Recommended Accommodations


In addition to the diagnostic evaluation, a report should include recommended academic accommodations. Accommodations may include extended test time, reduced distraction environment for testing, seating in front of the classroom, advance registration of classes, and reduced course load. In addition for use by the university, these recommended accommodations might be needed in the future for standardized tests including the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).


How are Accommodations and Support Services Determined?


Within 30 days of receiving the diagnostic evaluation report, the ODS will review the need for accommodations and support services based on the individual's disability documentation and disability-based need. The ODS will notify the student after determining appropriate accommodations in accordance with Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and university policy. For a description of services available for students with disabilities at Texas State, see the Office of Disability Services brochure.