Documentation of Disability

If you or your child have a disabling condition, you may qualify for reasonable accommodations when taking tests for admission to college or graduate school. You may also be eligible for these accommodations when enrolled in higher education.

In 1973, a national law was enacted that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability. It is known as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or sometimes just “504”. Under this law, organizations that receive financial assistance from the government, including colleges and universities, are forbidden from excluding or denying individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services. “Qualified individuals with disabilities” are protected from discrimination and may be eligible for reasonable “accommodations” in admissions testing and in fulfilling program requirements while enrolled.

Anyone who meets one or more of the following definitions:

  • Has as a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (e.g., any student receiving services under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students with drug or alcohol addictions, students with diabetes)

  • Has a record or history of such and impairment (classified as having mental retardation)

  • Is regarded as having such an impairment

Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks. Since learning is considered a “major life activity” persons with diagnosed learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum disorders and other educationally handicapping conditions may qualify for 504 accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations are academic adjustments including modifications to academic requirements and auxiliary aids and services. For example, arranging for priority registration; reducing a course load; substituting one course for another; providing note takers, recording devices, sign language interpreters, extended time for testing and, and equipping school computers with screen-reading, voice recognition or other adaptive software or hardware are considered accommodations.

To qualify for accommodations, you must submit a current evaluation that provides relevant educational, developmental and medical history. The evaluation report must be comprehensive and include information about functional limitations and specific accommodations. The evaluator must be licensed or certified in the area of specialization.

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