1. What is a “disability” under the ADA?
Section 3 (2) of the ADA defines “disability” as: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (public institutions are covered under Title II), students with documented disabilities may request accommodations that will enable them to participate in postsecondary educational programs.
2. Must there be documentation of the disability?
Yes. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 insures that: ”students with documented disabilities may request modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids which will enable them to participate in and benefit from all postsecondary educational programs and activities.”
3. What is verifying documentation?
Acceptable documentation of disability includes: medical report, psychological evaluation, psycho-educational evaluations, records from Division of Services for the Blind, Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Vocational Rehabilitation, and in some cases a physician’s statement. (While this list in not totally inclusive, it should serve to set the parameters for accepted documentation.)
4. What are the student’s responsibilities?
- Disclose the disability to the Student Accessibility Services Office.
- Provide up-to-date documentation from a qualified professional of the disability.
- Request specific accommodations.
- Meet with the counselor for regularly scheduled appointments.
- Complete the Student Accessibility Services paperwork at the beginning of each term.
- Comply with all policies, codes, and regulations of Blue Ridge Community College.
5. What is the responsibility of the Student Accessibility Services Office?
During your first visit with the Student Accessibility Services staff, your documentation will be reviewed and you will be asked what will help you the most. Your needs are unique, and a plan will be designed to assist you specifically. SAS staff will email your accommodation letter to your instructors on the first day of class each semester.
Any disability related records submitted to and/or obtained by the SAS office are strictly confidential. SAS does not share disability related documentation/information with any other Blue Ridge Community College faculty/staff without written consent from the student. Students receiving accommodations are not required to disclose the nature of their disability to anyone at the college other than SAS.
6. What are some examples of reasonable accommodations?
Examples of ”reasonable accommodations” include:
- Removal of architectural barriers
- Assistive technology
- Extended time and separate setting for tests
- Recording lectures
7. What accommodations might not be given?
An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it fundamentally alters the nature of a service or program. At the postsecondary level this may include:
- Modifying curriculum
- Waiving course requirements
- Modifying test content
8. I had a 504/ IEP in high school. Do my accommodations automatically transfer to Blue Ridge Community College?
No. Accommodations for postsecondary institutions fall under different legal guidelines than accommodations at the K-12 level. Postsecondary accommodations adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), whereas K-12 accommodations adhere to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). See Differences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities handout for more information.
9. Whom do I contact for further information?