What is disABILITY Support Services?
The passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, specifically Section 504, and the subsequent Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 significantly changed how colleges deliver their programs to students with disabilities. The basic concept of this federal law mandated that colleges and universities accepting federal funds had to be accessible; not just in the physical or facilities sense but also in the programs offered.
Who does disABILITY Support Services serve?
The standard here is that "no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity (college). Under the ADA, an individual's condition must drastically affect one or more of the individual's daily life activities to be considered a disability (to include reading, writing and other learning activities).
What services are available? When?
Services are available upon request from the student and must be supported by documentation supplied by a credentialed or certified person (PhD, MD, diagnostic credential). Services range from providing furniture needs, test accommodations, adaptive technology, recording devices, use of nonprogrammable calculators, talking dictionary/calculators, reader/scribes, FM loop systems, alternate print format, and emergency evacuation.
How does it benefit me? (The student)
As a federal mandate, participating in the program protects the student's civil rights as an individual with a disability. These vary from rights to privacy as well as rights to participate. Services/accommodations "level the playing field" for students with disabilities and allow for success that may otherwise not be available to a qualified person.