Establishing Eligibility for Academic Accommodations
If you received accommodations in school through an IEP or 504 plan, or if you did not receive accommodations in school but believe you have a disability that could affect your college work, you may be eligible to receive academic accommodations at Lawrence. Read the information on this website and contact the Accessibility Services Specialist for assistance.
Differences between high school and college
If you received accommodations in high school, be aware that the process works differently in college. Because you are an adult, you must request accommodations in order to receive them. No one else (parents, providers, etc.) may make the request for you. Academic accommodations are arranged on a course-by-course basis, and they must be arranged in advance in order to be provided. For more information on the differences between high school and college accommodations for students with disabilities, see HS-College Differences (PDF).
The need to be proactive
Because you must arrange accommodations in advance, you should establish eligibility early, even if you are unsure whether you will need accommodations for your courses. You should also review each syllabus at the start of the term to decide whether to request accommodations for that course. Once an assignment or exam is complete, you may not request an accommodation to be retroactive, even if your academic performance was affected by disability.
Who is eligible
In order to be eligible to receive academic accommodations, you must have a disability and be otherwise qualified. Disability means that you (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) have a record of such an impairment, or (3) are regarded as having such an impairment. Otherwise qualified means that you are able to meet all of a program’s requirements in spite of the disability.
Disability-related documentation should provide information on the current impact of the disability so that appropriate accommodations can be identified. Documentation may include assessments, reports, and/or letters from qualified evaluators, professionals, or institutions. Common sources of documentation include health care providers, psychologists, diagnosticians, and/or information from a previous school (e.g., accommodation agreements/letters, 504, IEP, or SOP documents). Documentation may contain both formal and informal methods of evaluation. Formal, standardized assessment may include diagnostic criteria, methods and procedures, tests and dates of administration, and a clinical narrative. Informal methods might include, among other things, the history of accommodations and educational situations but will not be used solely to make a case for accommodations.
Suggested Documentation Elements:
Accessibility Services would find the following information helpful in its efforts to establish a student’s eligibility for accommodations for a confirmed disability:
1. Provide information on letterhead, typed, dated and signed by a qualified professional.
2. Provide a clear diagnostic statement that identifies the diagnosis, describes how the diagnosis was made, provides information about the functional impact of the diagnosis, and details the prognosis.
3. Provide the testing instruments and norms for use with an adolescent/adult population used for diagnosis.
4. Describe the impact or symptoms of the disability.
5. If appropriate, discuss the severity and/or expected progression.
6. If appropriate, list medication and side-effects.
7. Provide the length of time that the provider has been treating the student and the date of the last appointment.
8. Provide current and/or past accommodations.
For disabilities that are not readily apparent or that may change over time, documentation should be recent enough to describe the present condition and limitations (be aware that testing agencies like the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT may require documentation that is even more current).
Students who do not yet have appropriate documentation are encouraged to meet with the Accessibility Services Specialist to determine if temporary accommodations are appropriate while the documentation is being secured.
Lawrence can also help identify local providers for testing for learning disabilities or ADHD; contact the Accessibility Services Specialist for more information.