For the purpose of higher education, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a disability as a significant impairment of one or more major life activities, including but not limited to performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, digesting, sleeping, and learning. The ADA requires reasonable accommodations to address major life activities as a way to overcome barriers that limit opportunities for otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities. Examples of reasonable accommodations include extended test time, low distraction testing, preferential seating, use of assistive technology, and housing modifications. Recommended interventions include tutoring referrals, referrals for service, and case management services.
Eligibility Criteria and Documentation Requirements
To determine the eligibility of educational accommodations, appropriate documentation is required. Documentation presented must be written and signed by a qualified educational, medical, and/or mental health provider (including the professional credentials and contact information), and include the following:
- diagnostic impressions (including how the diagnosis may be a disabling condition and the functional limitations resulting from the disability)
- relevant educational, developmental, and/or medical/mental health history
- recommendations of specific accommodations with supporting evidence
Educational and/or treatment records (i.e., 504 Plan, IEP, and medical records) may also be provided but do not serve as a substitute for a written letter or evaluation completed by a qualified provider.
Steps to Request Accommodations
- Gather appropriate documentation by a qualified provider and submit it to the Office of Accessibility Resources. Submission can be accomplished by email, fax, mail, and/or in-person delivery.
- Complete the Accessibility Request Form for Accommodations. Forms can be found on the Office of Accessibility Resources website.
- After review of submitted paperwork, the Office of Accessibility Resources will contact the student to schedule a meeting to discuss the decision regarding eligibility, the possible implementation of accommodations, and any recommendations for interventions.
If eligibility criteria are met, accommodations are activated. Notification is sent via email to the student and the faculty of the student’s current course load. It is advised that the student meet with each instructor to discuss the implementation of their accommodations for the semester. The student is encouraged to contact the Office of Accessibility Resources with any questions and/or concerns regarding accommodations. Please note: Accommodations must be activated each semester with the Office of Accessibility Resources.