Food Waiver Guidelines

Guidelines for Documentation of Food Related Disability in Support of Meal Plan Waiver Request

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who, with or without
reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or
transportation barriers, or the provisions of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.” A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such major life activities as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working or learning. Attention deficit disorders are considered disabilities under ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited.

While it is rare that medically documented conditions manifest which creates such a substantially limiting condition that effects the individual so as to qualify as a disability which can not be accommodated and requires an exemption, this process is designed to assist the student in advancing such a request, as well as initiating the pursuit of available options designed to meet the student’s needs (e.g. dining service plans which are individually designed in conjunction with the Director of Dining Services to address a student’s special needs – low fat, low sugar, no, etc.).

To establish a disability, a diagnosis, by a licensed physician trained in the assessment of food allergies/gastrointestinal disorders/etc., as appropriate, is required and should include title and license number and date of the evaluation in the report on letterhead stationery.

Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations. The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaboration with each student to establish whether a disability exists for which an appropriate accommodation should be developed with the institution.

  1. Documentation must give clear and specific evidence of disability (e.g. food allergies, gastrointestinal
    disorders, etc.). A brief statement on a prescription form or letterhead is not acceptable.
  2. Evaluations must be comprehensive and include:
    1. whether the ailment is observable or not observable
    2. the functional limitations of the ailment (i.e. what difficulty might the student experience
      due to this condition?)
    3. whether the ailment is:
      • permanent/chronic
      • short-term: 45 days or greater
      • temporary: less than 45 days
  3. The process of diagnosis should be reported, providing test scores and/or appropriate data.
  4. Documentation must be current. In most cases, the evaluation should have been completed within the past year.
  5. Current treatment(s)/therapy and prescribed medications and dosages (including recommendations as to the foregoing as well as the expected effect of such medication).
  6. Professionals conducting assessments and rendering diagnoses must be qualified to do so. The person who signs the report must be the one who conducts the evaluation and writes the report. (Documentation by family members, immediate or otherwise is not acceptable.)

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting or other disabling conditions
exist. Documentation must be submitted to the Office of Student Success in person, by fax [(423)636-0501], or by mail:

Tusculum University
Student Affairs
P.O. Box 5094
Greeneville, TN 37743