The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) has issued guidelines recognizing that discrimination often occurs as a result of attitudinal barriers and misconceptions regarding the potential of persons with disabilities. This comes at a time when students with disabilities are enrolling in institutions of higher education in increasing numbers with protection from discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These mandates from the federal government carry within them rules regarding the confidential treatment of disability related information. These mandates require disability related information be:
treated as medical information and handled under the same strict rules of confidentiality as is other medical information. This includes the comprehensive documentation from an appropriate source that persons with disabilities must provide to establish the existence of their disability and their need for consideration of accommodation;
collected and maintained on separate forms and kept in secure files with limited access; and
made available only on a limited basis within the University community. It may be shared only when there is a compelling reason for disclosure regarding some specific aspect of the stored confidential information.