Disability Support Services
What Is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law intended to stop discrimination against people with disabilities. It applies to employers, state and local government agencies, places of public accommodation, and other entities. Under Title II of the ADA, public colleges and universities are required to provide auxiliary aids and services to otherwise qualified students with documented disabilities. Providing auxiliary aids and services is not considered special treatment, but rather an equal opportunity to participate in the services, programs, or activities offered by the institution.
Disability Support Services (DSS) provides accommodations, resources and coaching to help ensure access at IAIA. We work with campus partners to create an inclusive and accessible environment for our students.
Student Information on the Americans with Disabilities Act
If you need disability accommodations while at IAIA, you’ll be working with Disability Support Services (DSS). Our office works with other college departments to provide accommodations for students in and out of the classroom.
- Academic accommodations requests for the classroom
- On-Campus Housing Accommodations requests
- Other access-related accommodations
Requesting Academic and Housing Accommodations at IAIA
IAIA provides academic accommodations for students to help ensure equal access. Approved accommodations follow rules outlined in Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and other applicable federal and state regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
Under these laws, otherwise qualified students with a documented disability have a right to receive reasonable accommodations.
Students can request accommodations by following these steps:
- Submit a DSS accommodations request form and appropriate documentation of your disability using this online form:
- IAIA Accommodations Request Form
- We recommend submitting your request immediately after you are admitted to IAIA, even if you don’t yet have documentation to submit.
- Submit the disability and accommodation documentation that you have and that you think is appropriate. Helpful information may include: medical records, psychoeducational test reports, school records such as Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs).
- Respond to requests for information from DSS.
- We will contact you via personal and/or IAIA email if we require additional information.
- Meet with a representative from the DSS committee to discuss your request and answer any outstanding questions.
- If you submit your request for accommodations prior to your arrival on campus, we will arrange to have this meeting via phone.
- Everyone is unique. A conversation about your experiences and expectations will help identify the information necessary to support your accommodation request.
- Request updates and changes to your accommodations as the need arises.
- Contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions about your accommodations or need to request and update or change.
Be aware that other universities and testing agencies (such as tests required for graduate school applications) may require more extensive documentation. Research their requirements well in advance of requesting accommodations.
For questions about service or assistance animals, please contact us at [email protected].
Resources for Students with Disabilities
- ADA Policies and Procedures
- Differences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities
- Financial Aid and Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
- Disability Services FAQ
- Free or Low Cost Assistive Technology for Everyone
- More Scholarships and Other Resources for Students with Disabilities
Faculty Information on the Americans with Disabilities Act
What Are My Responsibilities as a Faculty Member?
Campus compliance with the ADA is a shared responsibility, and faculty members play an important role in IAIA’s efforts. The ADA is a civil rights statute, ensuring that students with disabilities will have the opportunity to participate in postsecondary education without discrimination. For faculty members, providing reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids and services is one way to prevent discrimination.
What is the purpose of academic accommodations?
Students with disabilities experience some limitations that may require adaptation of materials, methods, or environments to remove barriers to learning. Accommodations may also ensure that when students are evaluated, they are able to demonstrate what they learned through means that take their limitations into consideration.
How Do I Decide Which Accommodations Are Appropriate for a Particular Student?
Faculty members are not responsible for making decisions about accommodations. Appropriate documentation is provided by the student to staff in the ADA Office, and the Disability Support Services Committee evaluates requests and recommends the accommodations which will be most effective in assuring the student’s access to academic programs. Students are responsible for requesting accommodations and services, and must provide documentation of conditions that may warrant academic accommodations. Before approving particular accommodations for a specific course, the Disability Support Services Committee carefully considers the nature of the student’s disability and how this disability may affect the student’s ability to learn and to demonstrate achievement in the course.
Will Accommodations Compromise the Integrity of My Class or Academic Program?
No, they should not. When providing accommodation for disabilities, IAIA and other colleges and universities are not required to lower academic standards or compromise the integrity of the program. Essentially, accommodations and auxiliary aids and services are provided to remove barriers to learning for the student with a disability, enabling the student to learn with his or her peers. Always contact the ADA Office if you believe an approved accommodation will compromise the integrity of the class.
Once you have provided accommodations, you should grade the work of a student who has a disability as you would grade the work of any other student. There is no reason to be unduly lenient. Always remember that accommodations are not meant to ensure success in a class, but they are meant to remove barriers to learning.
How Will I Know That a Student in My Class Is Supposed to Have an Accommodation?
The ADA Office notifies faculty members of the type of accommodations that will be provided for each student each semester via an emailed memo sent to your IAIA email address, and also a hardcopy memo delivered to your campus mailbox. Some accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, are provided by the ADA Office itself, while other accommodations, such as extended time for exams, are provided by the faculty member.
Some examples of accommodations are sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, alternative format course materials, open-captioned videos or films, or extended time on exams. Not every student needs every accommodation, and the ADA Office is the campus resource for working with each student to determine the accommodations that are recommended.
Occasionally a student may ask you to provide accommodations, but you never received a memo from the ADA Office. To protect yourself, the student, and IAIA itself, you should recommend that the student contact the ADA office ([email protected]) with questions about their approved accommodations. You may also contact the office yourself to inquire about approved accommodations if you have not received a memo.
Students have a right to privacy in disability matters, and their confidentiality must be maintained. Always refrain from discussing their disabilities and necessary accommodations in the presence of fellow students or others who have no educational need to know.
What Else Can I Do?
Don’t be afraid to ask a student to describe how he or she learns best. You should also make sure you have included the ADA statement on your course syllabus that encourages students with disabilities to contact the ADA Office for assistance in requesting accommodations.
You can also work toward ensuring that your course materials and resources are accessible to all students with or without accommodations. These efforts are referred to as Universal Design, or UD. One example is converting all your .pdf documents to text rather than image files, which is a simple process available via Acrobat Pro. Providing .pdf text files allows all students who learn better via audio, or students who may have undocumented learning disabilities, to use a screen reader or text-to-voice system to access the readings.
If you need additional information or specific resources, please contact the ADA Office at [email protected].