Documentation Guidelines

The Disability Access Center recognizes the systemic inequality of access to healthcare in our society and the role culture plays when experiencing disability. If you are unable to procure supporting third-party documentation, or are unsure about what qualifies as a disability, please contact our office.


The Disability Access Center (DAC) may request that students provide supporting third-party documentation from a qualified healthcare professional that describes the disability and/or health condition, and explains the functional impact on the student’s academic experiences. If you have questions about whether documentation will be required for you, please call or stop in for drop-in hours.

Below is documentation information applying for WWU only. Please note other colleges or testing agencies will have their own guidelines or requirements.

Examples of Third-Party Supporting Documentation

Letter from a healthcare provider

IEP or 504

Learning evaluation

Letter of accommodations at a previous institution

The DAC follows guidance from the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), recognizing and collecting three distinct forms of documentation:

 Primary documentation 

  • Primary documentation is composed of a student’s self-report, their articulation of their lived disability experience, the disability-related barriers they experience, and history of effective and infective accommodations.   

Secondary documentation  

  • Secondary documentation is composed of the trained Access Manager’s recorded observation of and interaction with the student throughout the interactive process.   

Tertiary documentation  

  • Tertiary documentation includes third-party supporting documentation from external sources including doctors, licensed therapists, other medical records, K-12 records, and teacher observations.   

Documentation serves three purposes:

  • To establish that the student can be considered a person with a disability, and therefore eligible for protection against discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • To supplement information from the student regarding the impact of the disability.
  • To aid in the development of reasonable accommodations (auxiliary aids and services) designed to facilitate equal access to WWU environments on a case-by-case basis.

Third Party Supporting Documentation (Tertiary Documentation):

  • Includes a current diagnosis or otherwise verifies the nature of a disability
  • Discusses the functional limitation(s);
  • Describes the effect of the disability has on the individual’s ability to access the educational or housing environment.
  • Explains whether the disability/health condition is permanent or temporary.
  • Is from a qualified healthcare provider and includes:
    • Date
    • Contact information
    • License number
    • Signature or electronic signature

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