Autism Spectrum Disorders
In order to fully evaluate requests for accommodations or auxiliary aids and to determine eligibility for services, Student Disability Services (SDS) needs documentation of your disability. The documentation you provide should include an evaluation by an appropriately licensed professional that makes evident the current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodation(s) requested and include a description of any and all functional limitations. The diagnostician must have comprehensive training in the field of Autism or Other Developmental Disorders and direct experience in working with an adult population.
Pervasive developmental disorders are characterized by severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development including reciprocal social interaction skills, communication skills, or the presence of stereotyped behavior, interests, and activities. Several different disorders fall within this category including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Those accommodations prescribed by the SDS are provided so that students have equal access to activities and programs at UTSA. Such documentation should be on letterhead and contain the professional's signature and license number. The evaluator must be impartial and not related to the person being evaluated.
The general guidelines listed below are developed to assist you in working with your treating/diagnosing professional(s) to prepare the information needed to evaluate your request(s). If, after reading these guidelines and reviewing disability specific information provided below, you have any questions, feel free to call SDS at 210-458-4157.
In order to receive services for Autism Spectrum Disorders from SDS, documentation must be submitted in advance. Since developmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders often originate in childhood, information demonstrating a history of impaired functioning beginning in childhood should also be provided. SDS reserves the right to request additional assessment information when questions regarding the assessment, age of documentation or accommodations arise.
Documentation validates the functional limitations, which allows consideration for accommodation requests. Each request will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Documentation should include but is not limited to:
History of impaired communication, social and academic functioning. Because ASD is often manifested during childhood (though not always diagnosed), historical information regarding the individual's communication, social and academic history in elementary, secondary, and post secondary education should be documented and provided. (Note: Self/parent-report alone, without any accompanying historical documents that validate communication/social/academic problems are generally not sufficient to establish substantial limitations in a major life activity.)
Relevant academic data including past evaluations, academic history, approved academic accommodations, etc.
A detailed description of the student's current a) communication/language skills, b) ability to interact socially, c) restricted, repetitive and/or stereotyped patterns of behavior, activities and sensory functioning, d) sensitivity to environmental conditions, e) motor planning, etc. Evidence to support these statements might include results of aptitude and achievement testing, standardized tests of language skills and standardized scales of symptoms related to autism as well as clinical observations including level of severity.
If applicable, relevant information regarding current treatment and prognosis.
Relevant medical information relating to the student's ASD, including a description of the impact any prescribed medications or medication side effects have on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.
A specific diagnosis based on the DSM 5 diagnostic criteria. The evaluator should use definitive language in the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The evaluator must describe the current degree of impact that ASD has on a specific major life activity as well as its impact in a postsecondary setting.
Suggestions of reasonable accommodation(s) which might be appropriate at the post secondary level are encouraged. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis.
General Guidelines for all Disabilities
It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified during the initial diagnostic process. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation. Student Disability Services will make the final determination as to whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided to the individual.
All documentation submitted to Student Disability Services is considered to be confidential under FERPA guidelines. Documentation should be sent to the following address:
University of Texas at San Antonio
Student Disability Services
One UTSA Circle, MS 3.01.16
San Antonio, Texas 78249-0690