Informative Terms

IDEA Section 504/ADA What do we mean by reasonable accommodations?

Students with a qualifying, documented disability are entitled, by law, to have necessary and reasonable academic accommodations provided by the College, so long as those accommodations do not: It is important to understand that accommodations do not guarantee academic success, nor do they provide an advantage to a student. They serve to "level the playing field" and provide equal access to the College's programs and activities. If you use taped textbooks, obtain an individual membership in Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic.

When considering the strategies and accommodations you will need for success at the post secondary institution, don't look only to what you have used in the past. What is expected of you in terms of independent reading and writing and the volume of work will be much greater in college than it was in high school. Your strategies and appropriate accommodations will probably also need to change. Talk to teachers, parents, siblings, and friends; find out what they had difficulty with in college. Then consider how you will tackle those challenges.

The requested accommodation must be supported by the documentation that: Requested accommodation must not be of a personal nature (personal attendants, tutors, eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.)

Some students are declassified under IDEA during high school. This does not automatically mean that the student can't be considered as a having a disability at college; however, the appropriateness of declassification should be looked at carefully in light of the transition needs for success in the college environment.

As early as possible, find out the documentation requirements for all schools you are considering attending. Click here for additional information about documentation.

There is no general accommodation plan that is appropriate for all students or for a particular disability. Students may require different accommodations in different courses. The most appropriate plan provides equal access coupled with consideration of the disability and documentation, student preferences, program and faculty requirements for a particular course, and applicable laws.

Student Self-Assessment
  1. Can you describe your disability?
  2. What kinds of difficulties have you experienced in academic settings?
  3. What are your strengths and weaknesses ?
  4. What kind of accommodations and/or services did you receive in high school?
  5. Have you used adaptive equipment in the past? If so,what kinds of equipment and/or software was useful to you?
  6. Do you have current documentation of your disability from a psychologist, physician,speech pathologist etc.?
  7. Are you a client of VESID , CBVH, Learning Disabilities Association etc.?
  8. Why do you want to go to college?


Questions to Ask Colleges

What are the college admission requirements?

How do I contact the student disability office?

What services are available through the office, and how do I arrange for them?

What kind of documentation is needed?

What are faculty members told about my disability and how do they learn about my accommodations?

What do I do if a faculty person doesn't want to provide accommodations?

Does the disability services office help with study/writing/test-taking skills and time management?

Are tutors available through the disability services office? Are they professional or student tutors? Is there a charge?

Is academic advisement done through the disability services office or in coordination with my regular academic advisor?

What kinds of adaptive technology are available (e.g. computer software, closed captioning, TTY, FM system)?

How do I arrange for Books on Tape?

How accessible are the academic and residential buildings?

Does the college offer course waivers or substitutions (e.g. foreign language)?

Are remedial courses available?

Is there a support group for students with disabilities on campus?

What other kinds of support services are available (e.g. study skills center, personal counseling, career counseling)?

Documentation These guidelines are not meant to be used exclusively or as a replacement for direct communication with the Office of Disability Services regarding the individual nature of a disability. While submitted documentation meeting the above guidelines may be acceptable to one college, it is important to be mindful that it may or may not meet the documentation guidelines required in other academic or testing organizations (e.g. special certifications, Board examinations, standardized tests for admission to graduate schools, law schools, etc.)

Comprehensive documentation should contain both the general and specific criteria relevant to the particular disability. The general requirements for documentation are that a qualified professional must conduct the evaluation and write a diagnostic report. The report includes: historical information, a specific diagnosis based on a comprehensive assessment battery relevant to the particular disability, standard scores and percentiles for all tests administered, a description of how the disability limits a major life function, specific recommendations for reasonable and appropriate educational accommodations, a detailed explanation reflecting functional limitations which necessitate these accommodations, medication history and current recommendations regarding medications and their impact, multiple diagnosis if applicable and a diagnostic summary based on the above required criteria.

Depending upon the disability, there are also specific criteria that may be required. In the case of learning disabilities the following are also indicated:

The comprehensive assessment battery will consist of a complete psycho-educational evaluation, which should include an adult -normed, individually administered intelligence test . All standard scores and subtest scores must be included for these tests.

A comprehensive achievement battery which includes all subtest, standard scores, and percentiles (based on published norms) reported for the sub-tests administered, and current levels of academic functioning in reading, math, and written language.

Depending on the particular disability, specific areas of information processing(e.g. short and long term memory, auditory and visual perception/processing speed) should be assessed and discussed. Use of the subtests from the WAIS-R/III, or the WJ-R COG, are acceptable.

A specific learning disability, in accordance with the current DSM must be stated within the submitted psycho-educational report.

In the case of AD/HD the following may also be required depending upon the particular institution:

   Evidence of Childhood History of Impairment
   Evidence of Current Impairment
A complete ,recent psycho-educational evaluation, including a cognitive assessment with a report of raw data and the interpretation of this data. All subtest scores and standard scores should be included.

Objective assessment instruments sensitive to AD/HD (e.g. Connor's CPT, Gordon), scores, and detailed interpretation.

All other relevant testing used to supplement the diagnostic profile.

The diagnostic report must also include a review and discussion of current DSM criteria for AD/HD, both currently and retrospectively, and specify which symptoms are present.

The exact DSM diagnosis must be stated. The designation of "Other Health Impaired"(OIH) used in the kindergarten through twelfth grade setting may not be applicable for consideration of accommodations at the post-secondary level.

An interpretive summary based on a comprehensive evaluation process which includes: Recommendations for appropriate accommodations as substantiated by the diagnosis. Indicate why these accommodations are needed in an educational setting and how the effects of AD/HD are mediated by these accommodations.

Medication history and current recommendations regarding medication.

Information regarding co-morbitity.

In the case of Psychological/Psychiatric Disabilities, the following are indicated:

A clear statement of the disability which must include the current DSM diagnosis and a summary of the onset ,longevity, and severity of the present symptoms. The designation of "emotionally disturbed"(ED) as used in the K-12 setting is not acceptable fo r consideration of accommodation at the post-secondary level.

Documentation for initial eligibility should be current within six months to a year.Each institution has different guidelines so be sure to check with your particular institution for their particular guidelines.

Recommendations for appropriate accommodations as substantiated by the diagnosis.

A summary of assessment procedures, evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, and a summary of the evaluation results.

Currently prescribed treatments, medications, assistive devices, and service should be described. Description should include all treatments currently in use and their estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability. Significant side effects that may affect physical, perceptual, or cognitve functioning within the academic setting should be identified and described.

Information regarding co-morbitity.

In the case of Physical Disabilities, the following are indicated:

A typed statement on letterhead, by an attending physician/qualified health professional which includes the names and titles of evaluator(s), as well as the dates of testing if applicable.

The statement should include the nature and current status of the disability, functional limitations, and any recommendations for academic-personal support. These recommendations should be supported by the diagnosis. The designation of "Other Health Impaired" as used in the Kindergarten through twelfth grade(K-12) setting is not acceptable for consideration of accommodations at the post-secondary level.

A summary of assessment procedures, evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, and a summary of the evaluation results.

Currently prescribed treatments, medications, assistive devices, and service should be described. Description should include all currently in use and their estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability. Significant side effects that may affect physical, perceptual or cognitive functioning within the academic setting should be identified and described.

Accommodation requests will be reviewed by disability personnel for their appropriateness, and the ultimate interpretation and determination of reasonable accommodations is the responsibility of the post-secondary disability provider.

Advising Students With Disabilities

Meeting with your advisor is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your success. It is especially important for you to communicate to your advisor that you are a unique individual and that the handicapping condition is only one aspect of the your total situation. It is also important for advisors to understand that, although you may have a disability in a given area, this does not mean that you cannot perform adequately in that area. It simply alerts the advisor to the fact that you may require more time and different strategies to complete the task. This is why good advisement is essential to the success of students with disabilities.

During your meetings with your advisor, you may wish to keep the following guidelines in mind:
  1. If you are a student sponsored by an outside agencies such as Vocational & Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) and the Commission for the Blind & Visually Handicapped (CBVH), advisement should take place early in the registration process This will allow time to discuss your educational plans with the agency counselor.

  2. If you have a disabilities that makes it difficult for you to sit in one place for an extended period of time, fifty-minute classes are advisable. Fifty-minute classes, three times/week are also recommended for students with attention and concentration problems.

  3. If you anticipate absenteeism due to medical concerns, we encourage you to discuss their situation with your instructors before registering for classes. Students should make arrangements with instructors at the beginning of the semester to insure that class requirements are met despite absenteeism due to chronic disabilities. A reduced course load should also be considered as an option if you are concerned about missing a significant number of classes.

  4. Several medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis may cause students to fatigue easily. Students with these types of disabilities should be encouraged to register early for classes, in time slots that will minimize the effect of the disability on their academic performance.

  5. If you are unclear about your career goals, seek the assistance of the Career Planning & Placement Office. Be careful not to jump to conclusions about your vocational capabilities based on your perception of the limitations imposed by your disability. Consult the Office of Academic Support Services for Students with Disabilities for information about support available in the community, which may enable you to pursue the career of your choice.

  6. Make contact with the Office of Support Services for Students with Disabilities as early as possible in the semester.

  7. If your documentation indicates that you are entitled to extended time for tests, be sure you do not schedule classes back/back.

  8. While a balanced schedule is important for all students, it is essential for students with learning disabilities. For example, if you are a student with a serious language based learning disability, you should avoid taking four courses that require extensive reading and writing. Similarly, if you have difficulty with certain test formats, you should select teachers that use a variety of evaluation techniques.

  9. Students who are unable to meet their foreign language requirement due to the presence of a language based learning disability may request a waiver through the Office of Support Services for Students with Disabilities. Advisors can assist students in initiating this process but should be aware that waivers are only granted in cases where both the psychoeducational testing and the student's academic history strongly indicate that the disability will prevent the student from performing in this area.
Adult-normed, individually administered intelligence test NOTE: The Slosson Intelligence Scale-Revised and the Kaufmann Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) are screening devices which generally are not considered to be comprehensive enough to provide the type of information necessary to make accommodation decisions and therefore will not be accepted as the primary instrument of cognitive evaluation. Also, the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) is too brief to be accepted as the current primary cognitive instrument.

Achievement battery Co-morbitity

two or more disorders existing simultaneously.