Psychological Disabilities

Some of the psychological disabilities commonly seen among college students today include major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders. The symptoms may range from mild to severe, and can be chronic, episodic or occur only once in a student's lifetime.

Documentation of a psychological disorder should come from an individual qualified to diagnose and/or treat these disorders, such as a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, clinical social worker, or other mental health professional.  The following guidelines were developed to assist the professional in providing the information necessary to support reasonable accommodations.

  1. Prepare documentation on professional letterhead, with the dates of assessment, signatures, and license numbers or credentials of the diagnosing professional.
  2. Include a relevant psychological diagnosis that is consistent with the diagnostic criteria found in the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
  3. Provide a summary of present symptoms and severity, prognosis of condition, and current level of functional limitations.
  4. Describe medication prescribed and any effects on academic functioning.
  5. Recommend academic accommodations and the rationale.

If there are substantial limitations to learning, a psychoeducational evaluation is recommended.

 

Mental Health Professional – Detailed Psychological Guidelines

Comprehensive and detailed documentation enables the Disability Resource Center to determine appropriate accommodations for individual students on a case by case basis.  Please address the following items.

A clear diagnostic statement and date of diagnosis

A description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, tests and dates of administration, and/or a clinical narrative (Diagnostic Interview, etc.).

Please provide information on how the diagnostic information was obtained.  Did you interview the patient, parents or significant others or use inventories, etc.?

A description of how the disability impacts the student and the severity of the functional limitations (distractibility, impulsivity, etc. – list all)

This area forms one of the key elements for determining the severity of the patient’s Psychological Disorders and how the Psychological Disorder impacts the patient’s ability to learn.  DSM-5 criteria for a psychological disorders would list some of the functional limits of the student.  Please list all of this client’s symptoms (functional limitations) thus lending more support that the psychological disorders impacts learning so that accommodations can be based on these symptoms or functional limitations.

Information on the cyclical or episodic nature of the disability and suspected environmental triggers to episodes

A description of current medications and any adverse side effects

Please list medications that may have side effects.  For example, some medications can make a person drowsy which could impact the speed for completing tasks which would support extended time for tests.

Recommendations for accommodations and support services that are logically related to the functional limitations (extended time on tests, low distraction environment, note takers, etc.)

This last part provides logical support for accommodations based on the patient’s functional limitations (symptoms).  For instance, anxiety could impact attention, concentration and processing speed so the student may need assistance with taking notes in class or extended time on tests in a low distract environment.  The more complete and detailed your report the better able we are in determining appropriate academic accommodations for your patient.          

Thank you for your assistance in this matter. Please return this information in a letter that is typed, dated, and on letterhead to the address listed below or fax it to (706)542-7719.

Last revised on 3 August 2016

Contact the DRC

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Clark Howell Hall
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VOICE: (706) 542-8719
FAX: (706) 542-7719
TTY: (706) 542-8778

drc@uga.edu

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