Under ADA students are asked to provide documentation of their disabilities to the Office of Disabilities Services. The guidelines for documentation are delineated on the ODS website at http://www.emory.edu/EEO/ODS. The requirement is that information provided by the student to support the claim of having a disability is recent, comprehensive and addresses the educational relevance of the disability. The disabilities specialist reviews the information and determines if it substantiates the claim of a disability, if there is a functional impairment and, if so, what would be an appropriate accommodation.
If the documentation indicates
that there is a functional impairment relative to the average person
and that this impairment will hinder access to instruction to the student
or demonstration of knowledge by the student, then an accommodation
is recommended. It is best if the disabilities specialist is aware of
the requirements of the courses for which the student is registered
so that an appropriate accommodation can be designed. For this reason,
instructors are often asked to provide a syllabus of the course to the
Office of Disabilities Services.
Once the accommodation is designed and the student makes the request to the instructor in the form of a letter from the Office of Disabilities Services, the manner in which the accommodation will be conducted should be discussed in private with the student. If the instructor has any concerns about the accommodation (its appropriateness or how to implement it), these concerns should be expressed to the disabilities specialist. A different type of accommodation might be needed or the original accommodation might need to be implemented in a different form.
Remember that it is the prerogative of the instructor to define the essential requirements of the course. Accommodations are meant to allow to student to meet these requirements, not to by-pass them.
The institutional review process differs among institutions of higher education. At Emory University, the Office of Disabilities Services (ODS) reviews all documents, such as medical and psychological reports, letters of need, etc., and holds them in confidential files. Any indication of a disability in an admissions file is sent directly to the ODS so that this information is not part of the admissions review. Admissions are based on the same criteria for all students, the aim being to admit the most able and diverse student body that meets the essential criteria for success within Emorys competitive academic environment.
Not all documented disabilities meet the criteria for consideration of an accommodation under ADA. This is because of the different intents of the laws that govern services to students during their elementary and secondary years compared to those that apply to post-secondary institutions, such as colleges and universities. (See Section 4: Principles of ADA for a more complete explanation the differences in the laws.)
Whereas many students receive accommodations to instruction and other services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, under ADA, access to educational opportunity is the guiding rule for an accommodation. This difference is not well known by entering undergraduates and may result in some confusion at first. The review process with ODS allows for all written information pertaining to the students history and present needs to be carefully examined and for services to students with disabilities under ADA to be clarified.
The student is responsible for the following:
Some students who are registered with the ODS are offered the opportunity to register for courses before the regular registration period begins. Students must make an appointment with the disabilities specialist to receive this service.
Emory University | Office of Disabilities Services