Personal tools

Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!

College Disability Resources Offices

From ATWiki

Jump to: navigation, search



Almost all colleges and universities have disability resource offices. These offices may be linked to office of student life or to human resources. The purpose of college disability offices is to help students, faculty and staff with disabilities acclimate to college life and to remove physical and attitudinal barriers on college campuses. Disability resource offices provide disability awareness and information to all members of the campus community. They also maintain campus access maps and disability fact sheets and provide emergency event planning.

Disability offices act in accordance with the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to work to provide reasonable accommodations to students to participate in courses, programs, and activities. Under these laws, colleges are required to make ‘academic adjustments’ to ensure all students have equal opportunity to participate in higher education. This includes providing ‘auxiliary aids and services’ to disabled students. Any grievances regarding non-compliance with the ADA can be filed with the disabilities resource office.

For students and staff who wish to take advantage of disability resources, it is necessary to contact the office and register. Appropriate documentation of a disability is required. Such documentation must be obtained from an outside source and must follow strict guidelines, dependent on the disability. For example, to apply for extra time on tests for individuals with ADHD, it is necessary to show proof of early impairment and evidence of current impairment, provide relevant testing information and include a specific diagnosis and interpretative summary by the examiner, as well as rationale for accommodation.

What is considered a disability?

A disability is any condition that causes an individual to have trouble or be unable to perform daily activities, such as performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Examples of services provided:

  • adaptive computer technology
  • classroom accommodations
  • exam and testing modifications
  • materials in alternate formats
  • audio recording for classes
  • note takers
  • on-campus housing modifications
  • readers
  • referrals to other campus and community services
  • scribes
  • sign language interpreting
  • special transportation
  • faculty consultation
an example of transcription services. Source:
an example of transcription services. Source:

Resources for faculty

College disabilities offices also provide help to faculty in arranging accommodations for students in classrooms. Their websites often give information to faculty members about what their responsibilities are in providing accommodations. The disability resources office will contact professors each semester to notify them of accommodations they must try provide to specific students. Some accommodations will be provided by the office of disability resources, such as interpreters and note-takers. Others the teacher must coordinate with the student, such as arranging for extra time on an exam.

External resources