Frequently Asked Questions
How do students access services?
Students with disabilities that wish to access services may initiate their request by contacting the Center for Disability Services. Each campus will have one CDS Campus Coordinator designated with the responsibility of providing those services. Students can expect to meet with the CDS Coordinator to discuss their academic needs. During this intake process, students will have an opportunity to identify specific academic accommodations and they will be asked to provide current documentation about their disability.
How do students qualify for services?
Colleges and universities are committed to serving all students with disabilities as defined by federal regulations. A qualified person with a disability means: . . ."an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal or architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity."
The federal definition of a disability includes a person who
- has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities;
- has a record of such impairment, or
- is regarded as having such impairment.
To assist CDS with this process students can provide documentation of an impairment and it would be beneficial if the documentation demonstrates that the impairment restricts his or her ability to perform a major life function in comparison to most people. If a person does not have a physical or mental impairment or has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit a major life activity the person is not entitled to ADA protection.
The determination of whether an individual has a disability under ADA is not based upon the name or diagnosis of the impairment, but rather upon the impact of that impairment on the life of the individual.
How often must a student request services?
Planned services are provided based upon the requests of the student. Since different classes may require different accommodations it is important to look at a student's needs on a semester by semester basis. Services, therefore, should be requested at least once at the beginning of each semester or at the time a need is identified within a semester.
Why is a diagnosis not enough?
The use of accommodations in post-secondary institutions is based upon more than just the diagnosis of a disability. It is based upon the severity of impact (Functional Impact) on a major life activity. This is why documentation for a post-secondary institution should provide more information that just a diagnosis and should address the severity of impact. Another student with the same disability may be impacted differently by his disability; therefore, all accommodations are viewed on a case by case basis.
My parents have always taken care of my accommodations with the school. Can't they bring in the documentation and handle this for me?
No. Students at post-secondary institutions are considered adults. The agreement for services needs to be made with the person requesting the services and not at the request of a third party. The federal laws and FERPA are very clear that institutions are not to communicate to anyone but the student about that individual’s academic progress and/or disability related needs.
Are there special classes or programs designed just for students with disabilities?
No. The purpose of the accommodations is to provide each student with equal access to the information and course content. Given these accommodations a student who is otherwise qualified should be able to be successful within the context of a normal classroom setting.
Is there someone who will help me obtain accommodations if I run into problems?
Yes. Go to the Center for Disability Services. Your CDS Campus Coordinator will assist you in trying to resolve any conflicts that may arise.