Office of Services
for Students with Disabilities
West Chester University
Lawrence Center 223
West Chester, PA 19383
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
In order to receive services, students must submit appropriate documentation of disability and of their need for accommodation in order to receive equal access to their education. Evaluations must be from licensed, certified, professionals. A disability is defined by law as resulting in impairment to a major life activity, such as learning. Confidentiality is assured by maintaining all documents on file in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.
Students with ADD/ADHD who are requesting support services from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at West Chester University are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The following guidelines are provided to ensure that the documentation is complete and appropriate.
Students with learning disabilities who are requesting support services from the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) at West Chester University are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The following guidelines are provided to ensure that the documentation is complete and appropriate.
In addition, specific recommendations for accommodations (with explanation of how the need is substantiated through testing) will be helpful to WCU personnel in assigning appropriate accommodations for the student. This can be in the form of a Statement of Performance or other document.
In and of themselves, documents such as an SOP, IEP, or 504 plans are not sufficient to qualify for accommodations at the college level.
Known as mobility, systemic, or a disease-related disability, these result from congenital conditions, accidents, or progressive neuromuscular diseases. These disabilities include, but are not limited to conditions such as spinal cord injury (paraplegia or quadriplegia), cerebral palsy, lupus, spinal bifida, chemical sensitivities, amputation, muscular dystrophy, cardiac conditions, cystic fibrosis, paralysis, polio/post polio, cancer and stroke. Functional limitations and abilities vary greatly even within one type of disability. Accommodations vary greatly and are best determined on a case-by-case basis.
Assessment, and any resulting diagnosis, should consist of and be based on a comprehensive assessment battery that does not rely on any one test or subtest. Both aptitude and academic achievement must be evaluated and included in the assessment report.
The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that the service provider, in collaboration with the student, determines an appropriate diagnosis and establish reasonable accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations.
Psychiatric disabilities: Comprise a range of conditions characterized by emotional, cognitive, and/or behavioral dysfunction. A diagnosis of a disorder does not, in and of itself, meet the definition of a disability necessitating reasonable accommodations under the ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Major life activity: Examples of major life activities include walking, sitting, standing, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and other similar activities.
Functional limitation: A substantial impairment in the individual's ability to function in the condition, manner, or duration of a required major life activity.
A Qualified Professional Must Conduct the Evaluation.
The assessment must be administered by a trained, qualified, and licensed professional, who has had direct experience with adolescents and adults with psychiatric disorders. A qualified professional may include but is not limited to a medical doctor, psychologist, or student clinician who is being supervised by a professional. The evaluator's name, title and professional credentials and affiliation should be provided. The professional completing the evaluation should not be a family member. All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, signed, and otherwise legible.
Documentation Must Be Current
Reasonable accommodations are based on the current (i.e. within the last six months) impact of the disability on academic performance. A diagnostic evaluation should be relevant to the student's learning environment and show the student's current level of functioning. If documentation does not address the individual's current level of functioning, a re-evaluation may be required.
Documentation Must Include a Specific Diagnosis
The report must be comprehensive and include a specific diagnosis based on the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria. It is recommended that the clinician report the diagnostic criteria used to support the diagnosis. The diagnostician should use direct language in the diagnosis, avoiding the use of terms such as "suggests" "appears" or "is indicative of".
Hearing Impairments and Deafness
Students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing must provide documentation consisting of:
Visual Impairments and Blindness
Students requesting accommodations on the basis of low vision or blindness must provide documentation consisting of:
For additional information please consult the U.S. Department of Education booklet "Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities."