Services for Students with Disabilities
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. The last 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 and forms for verifying disability conditions are available at the links below or can be obtained from the LNEC website.
What Types of Disability Accommodations are available?
Because accommodations are handled on an individual basis according to specific areas of difficulty, there are no specific sets of accommodations that are automatically assigned to a particular condition or diagnosis. Two students with identical diagnoses may have very different strengths and challenges; therefore, they will need different accommodations to ensure access. Some frequently provided accommodations include the following:
What Types of Students are Served by the LNEC?
The LNEC serves students with a wide variety of disability conditions. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
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.
Physical disabilities include deafness or being hard of hearing, loss of or limitations to vision, and/or loss of or impairment to limbs. Students with these conditions may use such aids as wheelchairs, canes, American Sign Language interpreters, part or full time care providers, service animals, or a wide variety of assistive technology including screen readers, visible alarms, voice-to-text software. Personal care assistance must be arranged and paid for by the student, while most access-related building modifications and many types of assistive technology are arranged and paid for by the University.
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 motor function and are often associated with fatigue. Accommodations for medical conditions can vary greatly depending on need.
Psychiatric disabilities can cause difficulties with attention, concentration, fatigue, thought processes, organization, motivation, and establishing and maintaining social relationships. Some examples of psychiatric illnesses include clinical depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar illness, schizophrenia, and eating disorders. Physical and emotional symptoms related to past history of substance abuse and discrimination related to past history of substance abuse are also covered by the ADA. It should be noted, however, that the ADA does not cover problems related to functional impairments based on a current and ongoing pattern of alcohol or illegal substance use.
E-mail comments to:
Last Modified: Thursday, 24-Feb-2011 11:05:47 EST
© Copyright 2013 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia