Defining Your Impairment

Documentation of a Disability and Why It’s Important

The provision of disabilities-related services and disabilities-based reasonable accommodations is established primarily by clinical assessment.  The assessment describes the impact of the individual’s disabilities on his or her academic and or Marymount engagement.  SAS requires recent documentation relevant to the individual’s learning, living, and/or working environment.

In order to be eligible for services, a student must provide appropriate written documentation from a licensed professional, in the field concerning the disability described.  Documentation which is most helpful includes an assessment of the disability which describes:

  • Condition:  What is the impairment?  Does it have a name or is it best described by the student’s ability to learn, communicate and/or express him or herself?
  • Manner:  What is the current impact and degree to which a student’s impairment affects his or her ability to participate in the university’s educational programs and services?
  • Duration:  Is the student’s condition constant, frequent, occasional or sporadic?  Does the condition occur at regular or irregular intervals?  How frequently?
  • Accommodation Recommendation:  What is the relationship between the impairment and the support services and accommodations requested.  Do the recommended accommodations lessen the impact of the student’s disability on his or her learning environment?

Documentation Parameters:

  • Disabilities documentation guidelines were developed to assist students in working with the treating/assessing professional(s) to provide the most usable information to SAS.
  • Information that is provided by public and private special education programs (e.g., IEP, 504 Plan, Social History, Special Education Eligibility) may be helpful, but generally is not sufficient to establish accommodations in higher education.
  • Marymount is not required to provide the exact accommodation or modification requested by the student and/or their treating/assessing professional.
  • Please consult SAS at or 703-284-1538 for questions or concerns.