Definitions of Terms
Otherwise qualified- An individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of a particular job. Students must be able to meet the technical and academic qualifications for entry into the school, program, or activity in order to be considered otherwise qualified.

Academic adjustments- The institution of higher education must provide a student academic adjustments to ensure that s/he receives an equal opportunity to participate. Examples of academic adjustments may include:
  1. Additional time to complete tests, coursework, or graduation
  2. Substitution of specific courses for degree requirements
  3. Adaptation of course instruction
  4. Tape recording of classes
  5. Modification of test taking/performance evaluation so as not to discriminate against students with sensory, manual, or speaking impairments (unless such skills are the factors the test purports to measure).
Auxiliary aids- The term ``auxiliary aids and services' includes:
  1. qualified interpreters or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals with hearing impairments;
  2. qualified readers, taped texts, or other effective methods of making visually delivered materials available to individuals with visual impairments;
  3. acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; and
  4. other similar services and actions.
Confidential information- Individuals have a right to have their disability-related information held confidential and be released only to third parties who have a legitimate need for access to those records. Such release must also be contingent on the informed, written consent of the individual.

Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic- A national, non-profit organization serving people who cannot read standard print because of a visual, perceptual, or other physical disability. Their mission is to promote educational and professional success by converting printed materials into accessible form. Information available at 1-800-221-4792.

Adaptive Technology(sometimes called assistive technology)-Products, both high tech and low tech, that provide access for persons with disabilities to otherwise inaccessible technology, e.g. screenreaders providing voice output for computers, speaking spellers and calculators, magnifiers, and alternative computer input devices.

VESID (Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities)- Part of the New York State Education Department, VESID provides vocational rehabilitation and independent living services to eligible persons. Services may include vocational assessment, vocational counseling, support in postsecondary education, assistance with transition from school to work, job training and placement, job follow-up, and other services to support employment objectives.
Services are provided through regional offices. Information can be found at

CBVH (Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired)- Service of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services providing rehabilitation services (education and employment) to individuals who are legally blind and reside in New York State. Services are provided through regional offices. Information can be found at

PELL Grant- Federal need-based financial aid grant program

IEP Diploma- Certificate of attendance granted to students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) exempts them from the assessments required to earn a high school diploma. A student earning an IEP diploma is not considered a high school graduate for the purpose of meeting postsecondary admissions and financial aid standards.

Qualified Professional- Professional practitioner specifically qualified by education, training, licensure or certification, and experience to conduct assessments, render diagnoses of particular disabilities, and make recommendations for appropriate accommodations in the postsecondary learning environment. The particular qualifications must be appropriate to the particular disability being discussed.

Self advocacy- The ability to explain your own disability, how it affects you, what your strengths and challenges are, and what assistance you need from those around you.

Learning Disabilities Association- National, non-profit organization providing services, information, and advocacy to improve the education and general welfare of persons with learning disabilities and ADD. Offices can be found in many large cities.