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Student Disability Access Center

Academic and Disabilities Services

About SDAC Information for Students with Disabilities


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Scheduling Exams

Green Sheet

Verification of Medical Condition or Disability

Verification of Psychiatric Condition or Disability

Student Request for Housing Accomodation Student


Mission Statement Information for Faculty and Staff
What Is a Disability? Information for Prospective Students
What Types of Disability Are Served by the SDAC? Frequently Asked Questions
Programs Other Resources
Deadlines and Workshops Contact Us

About SDAC
The Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) at U.Va. determines eligibility and provides academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities in line with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These federal laws mandate that institutions of higher learning provide equal access to students with disabilities who are "otherwise qualified" to meet the essential demands of the academic program.

The SDAC provides services to two groups of students: those who have been previously diagnosed with a disability condition; and those who have never been diagnosed, but begin struggling academically, and seek evaluation of their difficulties. For both groups of students, the SDAC can provide brief, individual consulting on a limited basis.

Mission Statement
The primary purpose of the Student Disability Access Center(SDAC) is to promote the academic success of students with disabilities by providing equal access within the University community. SDAC also strives to promote accessibility for faculty, staff, family, friends, and invited guests of the University with disabilities. In line with the mission of the Department of Student Health, the Center aids in the diagnosis and support of all students with academic difficulties in an effort to facilitate their University experience.

SDAC accomplishes this mission by:

- Determining eligibility and implementing reasonable academic accommodations for students with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This is done in tandem with other University officials and offices, including faculty and Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP).

- Acting as a liaison with other University departments to coordinate non-classroom accommodations, including housing, Demand and Response Transit (DART), assistive technology, physical access, and taped readings.

Providing guidance or coordinating accommodations (e.g., sign-language interpreting) for faculty, staff, and guests of the University.

- Serving as an advocate for students with disabilities while promoting the development of appropriate self-advocacy skills.

- Serving as a liaison and resource to the greater University community, prospective students and parents, other institutions of higher learning, and state and federal agencies regarding disability issues and the provision of accommodations.

- Aiding in the identification and diagnosis of cognitive, attentional, and/or emotionally-based disabilities through psychoeducational/neuropsychological screenings and referrals.

- Providing appropriate support for students with academic difficulties, including assessment, individual or group interventions, and/or referrals to other University agencies.

- Providing training for future clinicians through in the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services' (CAPS) APA-approved predoctoral internship program. The SDAC also serves as a training site for psychology postdoctoral fellows and/or practicum students from other departments within the University.

What Is a Disability?
Under state and federal regulations, an individual with a disability is defined as anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, working, or learning. The ADA further defines disability as broadly covering people in three categories: (1) people who currently have a disability; (2) people who have a history of a disability; and (3) those who are perceived as disabled by other whether or not they actually have a disability. This latter category refers to the protection of individuals perceived as disabled from discrimination. Academic accommodations are provided when an individual has a disability which causes current and significant functional impairment.

Academic accommodations for students with documented disability conditions are provided on a case-by-case basis and must be supported by appropriate documentation. This documentation must be prepared by a qualified professional and must support the accommodations being requested. All documentation must be current (generally within three years).

Guidelines for Documentation of a Learning Disorder and/or ADHD
Guidelines for Documentation of a Medical Disability
Guidelines for Documentation of a Psychiatric Disability

What Types of Disabilities Are Served by the SDAC?
The SDAC serves students with a wide variety of disability conditions. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

Learning Disabilities
Learning disabilities are lifelong conditions, which affect learning in individuals with normal or above normal intelligence. These disorders affect learning processes, but not necessarily the capacity to learn. Students with learning disabilities may experience difficulties in one or more of the following ways: listening, speaking, reading, writing, mathematical reasoning, organizational skills, time management, and social skills. Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is not classified as a learning disability, often have coexisting learning disabilities, and/or their symptoms interfere with their acquisition and demonstration of knowledge in the classroom.

The types of accommodations/services that may be provided for students with learning disabilities and/or ADHD include:

- Priority scheduling
- Peer note-takers in the classroom
- Extended time and/or private room accommodations for taking exams
- Use of a word processor when taking exams
- Use of a concept/equation list when taking exams
- Individual or group counseling

Physical Disabilities
Physical disabilities are conditions which can limit educational opportunity. These include limitations to hearing, vision, and/or loss of or impairment to limbs. These conditions may be permanent or shorter-term in nature, but must substantially limit the individual in one or more major life activities. Conditions affecting individuals for less than six months are generally not covered under ADA, but may still be appropriate for accommodations arranged through the SDAC. The types of accommodations/services that may be provided to student with physical disabilities include the following:

Blind/Visually Impaired:
- Priority scheduling
- Extended time, readers, and/or scribes for exam taking
- Use of special computer equipment
- Enlargement of text
- Audio recording classes
- Peer notetaking assistance

Deaf/Hard of Hearing:
- Priority scheduling
- Access to a TTY phone service
- Interpreting
- Computer Assisted Real Time Transliteration (CART)
- Peer notetaking assistance
- FM systems (assistive amplification device) available for loan
- Preferential seating

Mobility/Coordination Impaired:
- Priority scheduling
- Preferential seating
- Peer notetaking assistance
- Written lists of handouts or terms
- Assistance with test-taking (e.g., scribes, extended time)

Medical Disabilities
The types of disabilities covered in this category are generally chronic health impairments, such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, cancers, AIDS, hemophilia, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, hepatitis, and many others. At times, these diseases can have acute phases requiring bed rest or hospitalization. These conditions may limit both cognitive and motoric function and are often associated with fatigue. Accommodations vary greatly depending on need, but may include:

- Priority scheduling
- Unpredictable absences
- Peer notetaking assistance
- Exam accommodations
- Permission to record lectures
- Late completion of assignments or courses when necessary

Emotional Disabilities
Emotional or psychiatric disabilities can cause difficulties with attention, concentration, fatigue, thought processes, organization, motivation, and establishing and maintaining social relationships. Some examples of emotional illnesses include clinical depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar illness, schizophrenia, and eating disorders. A history of substance abuse and alcoholism is also covered by ADA, but not if there is a current pattern of illegal substance use. Some accommodations necessary for students with emotional illnesses include:

- Priority scheduling
- Peer notetaking assistance
- Exam accommodations
- Unpredictable absences
- Negotiation of extension

Verification of Medical Condition or Disability
Verification of Psychiatric Condition or Disability
Student Request for Housing Accomodation
Student Survey