Disability Resources

General Information

Welcome to the General Information Section. 

These pages provide information that is relevant to all individuals with disabilities.  You can find information about Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, rights and responsibilities of students, faculty, and the college, and cultural resources for individuals with disabilities. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life -- to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 -- the ADA is an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities.

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.

For more information visit the ADA.gov website

http://ada.gov/ada_intro.htm

Student Rights

Confidentiality
Expect all disability-related information to be treated confidentially.

Accommodations
Receive appropriate accommodations in a timely manner from DRS and faculty. Some accommodations may take up to two weeks, so it is important to make your requests in advance. Students should have the opportunity to meet privately with faculty to discuss accommodations or other concerns. Keep in mind that DRS is the only office designated to review documentation and determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations.

Student Responsibilities:

Documentation
Provide DRS with appropriate documentation of the disability.

Confidentiality
Expect DRS and faculty to treat any disability-related information as confidential.

Accommodations 
Meet with DRS staff to request accommodations each semester.

Schedule exams to be taken in DRS at least 48 hours in advance.

Schedule exams to be taken in DRS at the same time as the regular classroom exam.

If time accommodations extend into another class period, make arrangements with the instructor or DRS to schedule another time.

Remind the instructor that exams need to be sent to DRS one week before the scheduled time.

Notify DRS immediately when an accommodation is not being provided completely or correctly.

Notify DRS immediately when a decision has been made to not use an accommodation or the accommodation is no longer needed.

Communication
Act as your own advocate. Work with DRS to develop advocacy skills and communicate your specific needs and accommodations to faculty.

Faculty Rights:

Request verification of a student’s eligibility for any requested accommodations. The Letter of Accommodation states the accommodations the students is entitled to based on documentation given DRS office. DRS is the only office designated to review disability documentation and determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations. 

Faculty Responsibilities:

Evaluate students based course objectives as stated in the syllabus. Students with disabilities should meet the same course expectations as their peers.

Provide accommodations only to students who are registered with DRS. It is not the responsibility of faculty to provide accommodations to students who are not registered with DRS.

Contact DRS immediately with any questions about a student’s request for accommodations.

Provide students with the opportunity to meet privately to discuss accommodations or other concerns.

Complete an exam instruction sheet with your contact information and any information necessary for the student to take the exam.  Students will be allowed to use calculators, notes, etc. only if this is indicated on the instructions

Work to ensure that all course videos are accessible (i.g. that videos are captioned or that transcripts are available for students with hearing impairments).

Confidentiality
Treat and protect all disability-related information as confidential medical information. For example, keep printed items, such as Exam Instruction Sheets or emails regarding student disability related information in a protected location.

Communication
Clearly communicate test dates and requirements to the student and DRS by completing the Exam Instruction Sheet with specific instructions.

If students choose to disclose their disability, this information should be treated confidentially.

The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the ADA on Sept.15, 2010. These revisions state that beginning on March 15, 2011 only dogs are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III of the ADA. There is also a special provision for miniature horses that have been trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Key points:

A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as a service animal.

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.  In any case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

When it is not obvious what service the animal provides, staff may ask two questions:

Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Staff may not ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card for training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or (2) the dog is not housebroken. To view the complete document from the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Justice, click here.

Going to College contains information about living college life with a disability. It’s designed for high school students and provides video clips, activities and additional resources that can help you get a head start in planning for college.

Through several interviews, college students with disabilities from across Virginia provided key information for the site. These video clips offer a way for you to hear firsthand from students with disabilities who have been successful.

Each module includes several activities that will help you to explore more about yourself, learn what to expect from college and equip you with important considerations and tasks to complete when planning for college. Share these with your parents, teachers and guidance counselor — you might just teach them a thing or two.



The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) AHEAD is a professional membership organization for individuals involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities involved in all areas of higher education. At this time, we boast more than 2,800 members throughout the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Japan and Greece. In addition to our International membership, AHEAD is fortunate to have formal partnerships with 30 Regional Affiliates and numerous other professional organizations working to advance equity in higher education for people with disabilities. Since 1977 AHEAD has delivered quality training to higher education personnel through conferences, workshops, publications and consultation. AHEAD members represent a diverse network of professionals who actively address disability issues on their campuses and in the field of higher education. AHEAD is actively involved in all facets of promoting full and equal participation by individuals with disabilities in higher education; and supporting the systems, institutions, professions, and professionals who attend to the fulfillment of this important mission. Utilizing the navigation links provided to review this website, AHEAD’s Strategic Plan, and our vast array of member services we hope you will take time to learn more about the work we do, and consider joining in support of AHEAD members’ vision and mission... and allowing AHEAD to be of service to you!


Ability360 advocates personal responsibility - by, and for, people with disabilities -  as a means to independence.  To help consumers achieve self-sufficiency, Ability360 offers comprehensive programs to people with disabilities. 


The Americans with Disabilities Act Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal
This checklist helps to identify accessibility problems and solutions in existing facilities.