Support for Students with Disabilities

Services for Students with Disabilities Policy

The Dean of Student Services coordinates support services for students who identify themselves as having a physical, psychological or learning disability. Maria College is proud to be an educational institution that welcomes and supports a diverse student body. It is committed to providing a supportive environment for students with disabilities. Students who seek “reasonable accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 are responsible for notifying the College of their disability and for documenting the disability.

Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law on September 25, 2008, clarify and reiterate who is covered by the law’s civil rights protections. The “ADA Amendments Act of 2008″ revises the definition of “disability” to more broadly encompass impairments that substantially limit a major life activity. The amended language also states that mitigating measures, including assistive devices, auxiliary aids, accommodations, medical therapies and supplies (other then eyeglasses and contact lenses) have no bearing in determining whether a disability qualifies under the law. Changes also clarify coverage of impairment that are epsisodic or in remission that substantially limit a major life activity when active, such as epilepsy or post traumatic stress disorder. The amendments took effect January 1, 2009.

Accommodations are NOT reasonable if they do the following:

    • Pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
    • Make substantial changes in elements of the curriculum.
    • Require substantial alteration to educational opportunities/course objectives.
    • Pose undue financial or administrative burden.

Policy for Requesting Accommodations

A student who seeks reasonable accommodations under the ADA or Section 504 is responsible for notifying the College of his or her disability and for documenting that disability.  Once documentation has been approved, it is then the responsibility of the student to contact faculty members in writing or in person, notifying them that they will be receiving information regarding the accommodation from the Dean of Student Services.  Then, the Dean of Student Services, with the student’s permission, will notify the faculty, informing them that the student may request accommodations.  Accommodations may be granted only from the date of documentation disclosure at Maria College.

Confidentiality

Disability-related information will be treated as medical information and handled under the same strict rules of confidentiality.  It will be kept in secure files with limited access, and will be shared only on a limited basis with a compelling reason within the institutional community.

PROCEDURE FOR MAKING A REQUEST

Step 1. Self disclose to the Director of Admissions or the Dean of Student Services.

Step 2. Register with Deb Corrigan, the Dean of Student Services, Marian Hall, Room 100, (518) 489-7436 ext 250, by the first week of each semester.

Step 3. Provide the Dean of Student Services with appropriate documentation (See Eligibility).

Step 4. Sign a Release of Information Form EACH semester with the Dean of Student Services.

Step 5. Notify instructors within the first week of each semester for each course for which reasonable accommodations are requested.  The Dean of Student Services will contact instructors each semester that a Release of Information Form has been signed and that the student may approach them about recommended accommodations.  The Dean of Student Services does not share with faculty information about one’s disability, only that a student may request accommodations.

Please Note: Instructors are NOT obligated to provide reasonable accommodations unless these steps have been followed. 

ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible to receive accommodations, students must provide the following recent documentation specifying the nature of the specific disability (e.g., ADD, physical, psychological or other impairment) for which accommodation is requested:

  • For students with learning disabilities: A recent WAIS-R with sublist scaled scores, a psychoeducational evaluation specifying the nature of the learning disability, and individually administered achievement test scores in reading skills, comprehension, math and spelling, including grade equivalents and percentiles or Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  Documentation cannot be more than three years old.
  • For students with ADD/ADHD: Documentation must be provided by psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevantly trained medical doctors, and cannot be more than three years old.
  • For students with psychiatric disabilities: It is essential that documentation is provided by individuals holding appropriate licensure/certification.  Qualified evaluations include those from psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers and psychiatric nurse practitioners.  Documentation cannot be more than six months old.

Diagnoses of these disabilities documented by family members will not be accepted, even when the family members are otherwise qualified by virtue of training and licensure, due to professional and ethical considerations.