Documentation and Accommodations

The Documentation of a Disability

Documentation of a disability is the basis for providing accommodations. Understanding what the disability is and determining how to work around it in the postsecondary setting are the main focus of providing support services. Documentation of a hearing impairment is most often an audiological evaluation. This hearing examination will indicate the presence of a hearing loss and its scope. Being able to interpret an audiogram will provide essential information in understanding the particular hearing loss and what it may mean for that particular student.

Documentation Guidelines

Postsecondary institutions differ from high schools regarding the first step of providing academic accommodations. When a person with a disability needs an academic accommodation in high school, a team of people are assigned to discuss that student’s classroom instructional accommodations. This is not the case with colleges and universities. The legislation states that in order to receive services from a postsecondary institution, a person with a disability must first disclose his/her disability to the institution. In most cases, the person would disclose this to the Disability Resources Office on campus with appropriate documentation regarding the disability.

The name, title, and the professional credentials of the evaluator of the disability (including license or certification as well as the area of specialization), place of employment, and state in which the individual practices, should clearly be stated on the documentation for all disabilities. Additionally, appropriate documentation must meet the following criteria:

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Impairments

Documentation must be from a licensed audiologist that includes a diagnosis and information as to how the disability impacts the student in academic environment.

Accommodations and Services

Accommodation Requests indicate specifically what a student requires for academic success. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) clearly specifies the importance and liability that educational institutions have in complying with students with disabilities. An accommodation request simply indicates in writing what support services a specific student requires. This can involve such things as classroom assistance (captionist, ALD, etc.) and testing accommodations (time extensions, interpreted tests, distraction-free room, etc.). Although it is the responsibility of the student to indicate what support services are needed, students sometimes are not quite sure what they need or may need at the onset of the semester, so flexibility is important.

The Disability Resources Office in room 119 on the Donaldson Campus can assist the student with determining the scope of services needed by requesting secondary school records and pertinent medical information, if necessary. Copies of the accommodation request are signed and kept by the Director of Disability Resources.

Accommodations Letters indicate in writing what specific support services a student requires. This is determined based on the required documentation(s) of disability and student request. A form is signed by the faculty person and the student to ensure that communication about what will take place is clear to each individual. Sometimes it is appropriate to distribute a copy to the testing center or another academic support component of the college if a student will require accommodation provided by that program. Accommodations are based on student needs although those needs can change over a period of time from the initial request. It is important to work closely with each student to ensure that his or her needs are being met.

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