SSS-Disability Support is available to address accommodation questions and concerns. You may contact the campus Disability Specialist or email email@example.com to get in touch with the appropriate party.
Disability Etiquette & Best Practices
A publication of United Spinal Association
A customer service guide provided by the GA State ADA Coordinator’s Office
A GHC guide for faculty
Q: What does the law say?
A: Students with disabilities are entitled to non-discrimination and reasonable accommodations for any student with a documented, qualifying disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Americans with Disabilities Acts of 1990 mandate that educational institutions provide students with disabilities the necessary accommodations to ensure equal access to all academic and co-curricular programs and services. Visit the ADA website for more information.
Q: Who determines who receives accommodations?
A: Disability Services determine appropriate accommodations and create the Accommodation Letter that outlines the accommodations. Disability Specialists are professionals who are knowledgeable concerning the impact of various disabilities and best practices for accommodating students in a college setting. They are also knowledgeable concerning the USGBOR guidelines for documenting and accommodating various disabilities. They regularly attend trainings and workshops provided by professional organizations and others to remain current and well informed.
Q: What specifically does Disability Services do?
A: Disability Services work on behalf of the school and students to:
- Collect documentation meeting USGBOR guidelines verifying a student’s diagnosis and functional impact.
- Discuss needs and prepare the Accommodation Letter that outlines the accommodations for which students are entitled.
- Provide support services and programming to promote student success, retention, and progression towards graduation.
- Provide support for faculty.
- Meet with students and faculty together if needed to facilitate communication and provide the best possible educational outcome for the student.
Q: What are the documentation guidelines for accommodations?
A: The USGBOR requires students who are requesting accommodations to provide current documentation of their disability, following established Documentation Guidelines. An individual must demonstrate that his/her condition meets the definition of a disability. A clinical diagnosis is not synonymous with a disability. The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Documentation should provide a diagnostic statement identifying the disability, describe the diagnostic criteria and methodology used to diagnose the condition, progression of the condition, provide current functional abilities and specific symptoms, along with evidence that these symptoms are associated with substantial impairment in a major life activity. A detailed description of current substantial limitation in the academic environment is essential to identify appropriate academic accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services. Specific requests for accommodations need to be linked to the student’s current functional limitations, and the rationale for each recommendation clearly stated. Evaluators must be licensed professionals whose training and licensure status is consistent with expertise in the disability for which they provide documentation.
Q: What is my role in accommodations?
A: Work with Disability Services to meet the student’s needs by:
- Implementing the accommodations approved by Disability Services.
- Asking questions about the accommodations listed on the Accommodation Letter if you have concerns.
- Suggesting accommodations to the student’s Disability Specialist that may meet needs specific to a course.
- Sharing with the student’s Disability Specialist when you see troubling behavior and/or academic distress.
- Being willing, to a reasonable degree, to assist the student outside of class.
- Ensuring students know about Disability Services. Faculty members are expected to refer students who self-disclose a disability.
Q: Am I required to provide accommodations that fundamentally alter the core requirements of the course?
A: No. Reasonable accommodations are designed to provide equal access, not to modify course requirements. If you have a concern about the impact of an approved accommodation, please contact disability services for assistance.