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Special Accommodations

The American Board of Optometry (ABO) provides reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) for individuals with documented disabilities who demonstrate a need for accommodation. In accordance with these Acts, ABO does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in providing access to its examination program.

No candidate will be offered an accommodation that would compromise the examination’s ability to accurately test for the skills and knowledge it measures.  No auxiliary aid or service will be provided that will fundamentally alter the examination or result in an undue burden to ABO.

General Guidelines for Disabilities

The following guidelines assist the applicant in documenting a need for accommodation based on an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The candidate must initiate a request for accommodation by contacting the ABO at info@abopt.org or (314) 983-4226. The candidate also should contact ABO for a release of information form relative to an accommodation request. Documentation submitted in support of a request may be referred by the ABO to experts in the appropriate field of disability for an impartial professional review. Accommodation requests by a third party such as an evaluator or  program director cannot be honored.

  • Documentation of disability assists the ABO in determining reasonable accommodation, which is provided on a case-by-case basis. If submitted documentation is incomplete or does not support the request, the applicant will be asked to provide additional documentation. The cost of obtaining all documentation is borne by the applicant.
  • Documentation supporting a request for accommodation must be submitted early enough to allow ABO sufficient time to review the request and implement reasonable accommodation.
  • Documentation must be provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. The individual making the diagnosis must be qualified to do so (e.g., an orthopedic limitation can be documented by a physician, but not a licensed psychologist).
  • Documentation must be typed or printed on official letterhead with the name, title, professional credentials, address, phone number, and signature of the evaluator, and the date of the report.

Documentation must be current. Because reasonable accommodation is based on the impact of the candidate’s disability on the testing activity, it is important that the individual provide recent documentation. Manifestations of a disability may vary over time and in different settings, so supporting documentation must be no more than three years old.

Candidate must submit a detailed, comprehensive written report from his or her treating professional, describing the disability or medical condition. The report also must explain the need for the requested accommodation. The report and accompanying documentation should clearly state the following:

  • A specific, professionally recognized diagnosis of the disability or medical condition using diagnostic codes from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or other professionally recognized formulation.
  • A description of functional limitation(s) resulting from the diagnosed disability or medical condition, including any major life activity limited by the disability.
  • A description of the specific diagnostic criteria and diagnostic tests used, including date(s) of evaluation, specific test results and a detailed interpretation of those results. This description must include results of diagnostic procedures and tests, and should include relevant educational, developmental, and medical history.
  • A recommendation of specific accommodations and/or assistive devices the candidate needs for the ABO examination, and a detailed explanation of why these accommodations or devices are necessary.

If accommodations have not been requested previously, explain why they were not sought in the past but are needed now.

Send documentation to:
American Board of Optometry
243 N. Lindbergh Boulevard
Suite 312
Saint Louis, MO 63141

Documentation must be received no later than 30 days before the start of the examination period. After that date, requests that are incomplete for any reason will not be processed, and the candidate will be required to take the Board Certification exam under normal testing conditions or reschedule for a future examination.