What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990. This law reinforced the concept of reasonable accommodations in education. The legal discussion in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states in part:
No otherwise qualified handicapped individual shall, solely by reason of his/her handicap be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
We assure that the same educational programs and services offered to other students be available to students with disabilities. We must provide physical and programmatic access by means of reasonable accommodations. This includes removal of architectural barriers, provision of auxiliary services, teaching strategies and institutional policies.
Who is disabled?
- Individuals who have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.
- Individuals who have a record of having such an impairment.
- Individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is a change in the learning environment that guarantees equal access to programs and services. Qualified students with disabilities are entitled to an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the academic community.
Reasonable accommodations are provided for students who qualify (students must voluntarily self-identify and request disability support services). Colleges are not required to provide accommodations that would fundamentally alter the academic requirements that are essential to program of studies.
What types of services does the Disability Support and Wellness Center offer?
Our office provides the following services to students:
- Assistive technology
- Distraction-free testing environments
- Extended time
- Note takers
- Recorded texts
- Sign language interpreters
- Texts in alternative formats
How do I register for disability support services?
Individuals available for academic accommodations are students enrolled in credit and non-credited courses. Please be advised, ADA prohibits the disclosure of any student’s disability to others without the written permission of the student.
The registered student will need to contact the Disability Support and Wellness Center via phone, email, or walk in to set up an appointment:
- By phone: call (443) 674-1993
- Via email: send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Walk in: visit our office on the North East campus in the Technology Center (Building D), Room 103B.
ADA law requires the student to disclose their disability, we encourage the registered student to make the initial contact with the Disability Support and Wellness Center and not others on the student’s behalf.
- Obtain necessary documentation from provider with listed disabilities, information how the disabilities may affect your education, and any recommendations for an educational setting. The provider should provide the documentation on their letterhead with your full name and date of birth. Please keep in mind, recommendations considered, but not necessarily provided.
- The documentation should be provided by the student at the intake appointment.
- Complete an intake appointment with the Disability Support and Wellness Center where information is gathered, paperwork completed, and different types of accommodations discussed. Parents/others are welcome to attend the intake appointment with the permission of the registered student.
- Following the intake appointment, the Disability Support and Wellness Center may complete a further review. Once the Disability Support and Wellness Center agree on recommendations, information is then shared with the student and the student’s instructors.
- If a student disagrees with the accommodations and the disagreement cannot be resolved, the student has the right to file a grievance for review.
Once a student is registered with the Disability Support and Wellness Center, they will continue to receive accommodations as requested by the student each semester while enrolled at Cecil College. The student and the Disability Support and Wellness Center will be in communication as needed.
All students at Cecil College are required to adhere to the Academic Honesty Policy as well as the Code of Conduct Policy.
What type of documentation is required to receive disability support services?
Students requesting accommodations must present current documentation (not older than 3 years) by an appropriate qualified professional licensed to diagnose the condition. Documentation must validate the need for services based on the student's current level of functioning in the educational setting. Students may be referred to a physician, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician for a complete assessment before accommodations can be granted.
- The evaluation must be administered by an appropriate qualified professional licensed in the specific area of the disability.
- The documentation must be submitted on official business letterhead of the evaluator.
The documentation must include the following:
- Clear statement that identifies the nature of the disability.
- Description of the diagnostic methodology used.
- Description of the current functional limitations as it relates to the academic setting.
- Description of the expected progression or stability of the disability.
- Description of current and past accommodations, services and /or medications.
- Recommendations for accommodations.
Although an IEP or Section 504 plan may help identify services that have been effective, it may not be sufficient documentation for ADA accommodations. Students may be asked to provide a full psychological evaluation.
- Students must provide documentation that includes a medical or clinical diagnosis of ADD/ADHD based on DSM-V criteria and a rationale for the diagnosis. The evaluation must be performed by an appropriate professional, medical doctor, or clinical psychologist. The documentation should include quantitative and qualitative information that supports the diagnosis, a summary and interpretation of assessment instruments, information regarding the specific academic functions affected by ADD/ADHD, and the severity of the disability.
- Cognitive Disabilities
- Students must provide a psycho-educational evaluation that includes a diagnosis of a cognitive disability. A statement indicating the current status and impact of the disability in an academic setting should be included. The evaluation must be performed by a certified/licensed professional. The evaluation should include aptitude, academic achievement, information processing, social-emotional assessment, and a clinical summary.
- Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Students must provide a current audiogram. Documentation can be submitted by physicians qualified to provide diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders. The documentation must include a clear statement of deafness or hearing lost with a current audiogram, a summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, medical information relating to the student's needs, status of hearing, and a statement regarding the use of hearing aids.
- Learning Disabilities
- Students must provide a psychological, psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation that includes a diagnosis of the specific learning disability. The evaluation must be performed by a professional who is certified/licensed in the area of learning disabilities. The evaluation must be based on a comprehensive assessment battery which includes aptitude, academic achievement, information processing, social-emotional assessment, and a clinical summary.
- Neurological or Physical Disabilities
- Students must provide documentation that includes a medical diagnosis. The diagnosis and evaluation should be made by a medical doctor or appropriate specialist licensed in the specific field of disability. The documentation must include the nature/stability of the disability, current array of symptoms/features, level of functioning, and severity of the disability.
- Psychiatric Disabilities
- Students must provide documentation that includes a medical or clinical diagnosis of a psychiatric disability based on DSM-V criteria and a rationale for the diagnosis. The evaluation must be performed by a qualified psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or clinical social worker. The documentation should include information regarding the severity of the disability and the specific academic functions affected by the disability.
Please contact Disability & Support Services regarding documentation for other disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
How do I request accommodations for a documented disability?
Students with current ADA documentation who need to request disability support services must do the following:
- Contact the Disability Support and Wellness Center at email@example.com or (443) 674-1993 to schedule an appointment.
- Bring current disability documentation (not older than 3 years) from an appropriate professional licensed to diagnose the condition.
When do I need to request accommodations for a documented disability?
It is highly recommended for students with disabilities to request accommodations at least two weeks before the start of the semester in order to provide sufficient time to arrange accommodations.
Are accommodations retroactive?
No, not under the ADA law. It is important for the student to contact the Disability Support and Wellness Center prior to the semester starting; retroactive accommodations cannot be granted.
How long will the process to get accommodations take?
It’s best to think ahead as it can take up to two weeks to arrange schedules and complete the accommodations, but usually the process does not take that long.
You must first contact the Disability Support and Wellness Center to obtain an intake appointment. This can take as little as one day, but may likely take longer depending on schedules. The intake appointment is scheduled for one hour, but generally lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. If all paperwork is completed during your intake appointment and documentation is appropriate, accommodations may be established that same day. Depending on the documentation provided and the requested accommodations, the process may take longer.
How do I file a grievance if I feel I've been discriminated against or if I have an issue with my accommodations?
If a student or visitor believes he/she is or has been subjected to discrimination due to their disability, they may contact the Disability Support and Wellness Center directly. If you wish to file a complaint with the the Disability Support and Wellness Center, please follow the steps outlined in this document.
If a student or visitors believe they have been discriminated based on their disability or perceived disability in any way by the College, the student has the right to file a grievance complaint as outlined in this document.
Does the College offer accessible parking?
Accessible parking is available in all lots on each campus. Accessible parking permits may be obtained through the Public Safety Office, located on the North East Campus in the Technology Center (Building D), Room D205. Please call (410) 287-1605 for more information.