To be eligible for services provided by the Office of Student Accessibility Services, including accommodations, you must:
- Identify yourself to the College as having a disability by submitting an Accessibility Needs Assessment Form.
- Provide documentation of the disability and request accommodations that are reasonable and appropriate.
Please note: The process for identifying, documenting and requesting services in college is very different from the process used in high school. Please refer to the differences outlined in the High School to College Transition for Students with Disabilities.
Self-identifying with a disability
In order to be eligible for appropriate accommodations, you must identify yourself to the College and provide documentation of a disability. You may register with a disability on a voluntary, confidential basis at any time.
When to register
You may register with a disability on a voluntary, confidential basis at any time. Accommodations, however, are not retroactive and cannot be provided until you have completed the disability registration process. The College is not responsible for providing any accommodations for students who have not registered with a disability and requested a specific accommodation. Because some accommodations take time to arrange, we recommend you self-identify, register and request specific accommodations as soon as possible.
Incoming first-year and transfer students
You should receive an Accessibility Needs Assessment Questionnaire in the Enrollment Guide before your first semester. Completing and returning this questionnaire constitutes self-identification. If for some reason you do not complete and retun the form, you may still register with a disability at any time by contacting the Office of Student Accessibility Services.
Documenting a disability
Documentation to support a disability should include information regarding the nature of your impairment or condition and your ability to function, as well as any accommodations or modifications considered appropriate.
General documentation guidelines:
- Documentation must be typewritten on business letterhead from a licensed professional not related to the student who is qualified to give a psychological and/or medical diagnosis. The name, credentials and signature of the licensed professional must appear on the documentation.
- The documentation must include all pertinent diagnoses, clearly stated and explained.
- Information outlining testing/assessment tools must be included. Learning disability testing must include the actual standard test scores; student must be tested using adult measures.
- Documentation must include information on how the disability currently impacts the individual and document “how a major life activity is limited by providing a clear sense of severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s)".
- All pertinent positive and negative effects of mitigating measures must be addressed. This could include a description of treatment, medications (and potential side effects) and assistive devices with estimated effectiveness of their impact on the disability.
- Documentation should provide recommendations for accommodations for the individual and include the rationale for the recommended accommodations.
Depending on the disability, the documentation may be in the form of a recently dated letter from a doctor or a current psychological and/or educational report from a qualified professional. See the reverse side of the Accessibility Needs Assessment Questionnaire for elements of documentation for specific disabilities.
Currency of documentation
Accommodations are determined based on the current impact of the condition(s) and how it affects access to academics and educational activities; therefore, it is important to have recent and appropriate documentation. In general, documentation is considered current for:
- Learning disabilities – within 3 years
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – within 3 years
- Autism spectrum disorder/Asperger’s syndrome – within 3 years
- Chronic illness and physical impairment – depends on condition
- Hearing impairment – depends on whether condition is static or changing
- Psychiatric disorder – within 6 months
- Visual impairment – depends on condition
Individual Education Programs and 504 plans are considered a source of useful information which can help provide a history. However, they may not exclusively provide sufficient documentation for approval of accommodations. Any questions about appropriate documentation should be directed to the Director of Student Accessibility Services.
Disability confidentiality statement
All communications and records relating to the identity, diagnosis and prognosis of an impairment, as well as consultations with the Office of Student Accessibility Services, are confidential. Except for emergency reasons, information is exchanged only as necessary in providing services or with those specific offices and/or individuals for which the student has provided written permission.
As a recipient of federal funding, however, the College may be required to provide the identity and other information about students registered with the Office of Student Accessibility Services to the U.S. Department of Education or other federal government agencies. Such information is accessible from federal agencies by the public under the Freedom of Information Act. In the extremely rare event that such a request is received by the Office of Student Accessibility Services, the office will make every attempt to notify students in advance.