Background and Legal Requirements in the Post-Secondary Setting
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are designed to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to public services and programs. In a post-secondary setting, these acts require that reasonable university accommodations be made for qualified students with disabilities and prohibit the university from excluding students from, or denying them the benefits of, its programs or activities. While universities and colleges must "level the playing field," they are not required to ensure that a student reach their potential in their class, or succeed academically. For example, William and Mary may build a ramp so wheelchairs can gain access to buildings and classrooms, or may allow extra test-taking time for a student with a learning disability. However, an accommodation would not be required to ensure that a student get a passing grade in a class, or a 'B' instead of a 'C' on an assignment.
At William and Mary, accommodations are provided for all types of students - undergraduate, graduate, degree-seeking, non-degree seeking, full-time and part-time.
Definition of a Disability
Disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
A student is qualified to receive an accommodation if they meet the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or to the participation in the educational program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices.
All information submitted to or developed by the college related to the diagnosis, documentation, or accommodation of a disability is considered confidential and will not become part of any other student record at William and Mary. Staff of the Dean of Students Office have access to all disability records and may arrange access for other authorized college officials in the event of an emergency or other unusual necessity. The Compliance and Policy Office may collect accommodation data for reporting purposes as well as for quality control.
Faculty and staff are expected to keep information related to the diagnosis, documentation, or accommodation of a disability confidential. All documents supporting disability on file in the Student Accessibility Services Office will be retained and destroyed in accordance with Virginia law.
Universal Design and Open Educational Resources (OER)
Accommodating/Teaching Students with Diagnosed Conditions
EBooks Through Swem
Smith, B. (2013). Mentoring At-Risk Students Through the Hidden Curriculum of Higher Education. Lanham: Lexington Books.
Thurlow, M. L., & Ysseldyke, J. E. (1995). Testing accommodations for students with disabilities. Remedial & Special Education, 16(5), 260.
Gregg, N. (2009). Adolescents and adults with learning disabilities and ADHD assessment and accommodation / Noël Gregg ; foreword by Donald D. Deshler. New York: Guilford Press.