Contact Us
Access Services
Eugenia Chase Guild Hall, Room 103
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Deb Alder, Coordinator
dalder@brynmawr.edu Telephone: 610-526-7351
Fax: 610-526-7451

Guidelines for Providing Accommodations

Contents

Introduction

    Bryn Mawr College welcomes the full participation of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of campus life.  The College is committed to providing equal educational opportunity for all qualified students with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (ADAAA).  Students with access needs due to a learning, physical, or psychological disability are encouraged to contact Access Services as early as possible for additional information and to discuss their needs.

 

Definition of Terms

An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or has been regarded as having such an impairment. 

The term substantially limits means the individual is restricted with regard to the condition, manner, or duration with which s/he performs a major life activity compared to most people in the general population. 

With regard to post-secondary education, a qualified person with a disability is one who, with or without reasonable accommodation, meets the academic and technical standards for admission to or participation in an educational program, activity, or service. 

Appropriate academic adjustments and reasonable accommodations refer to modifications necessary to ensure that College requirements do not discriminate against students with disabilities or have the effect of excluding students on the basis of disability.  A reasonable accommodation helps to minimize, as much as possible, the limitations resulting from the disability and provides the individual with an equal opportunity to participate in College courses, programs, services, and activities.  The College is not required to make a modification that it can demonstrate would substantially alter an essential element of a College standard, requirement, or program.  Reasonable accommodations may include the elimination of physical barriers whenever possible, and academic adjustments such as the following when appropriate: the use of a calculator, spell-checker, recorder, or note-taker; reduced courseload; alternate formats for print materials; sign language interpreting or captioning; adaptive equipment; assistive technology; and substitution of specific required courses when appropriate.  Testing accommodations such as extra time, a distraction-reduced room, word processing, scribes, and readers are also provided when necessary.

Rights and Responsibilities

    Students with disabilities that substantially limit them in the College environment have the right to. . .

  • Equal opportunity to participate in the College’s courses, programs, services, and activities
  • Reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services when necessary
  • Respect for their privacy regarding disability-related information, except as disclosures are required or permitted by law

    Students with disabilities have the responsibility to . . .

  • Meet basic requirements for admission to the College
  • Satisfy essential academic requirements and technical standards of the College and their major program of study
  • Disclose their disability to the Coordinator of Access Services as early as possible if they need to request accommodations 
  • Provide the required documentation of disability and current need for accommodations when necessary
  • Follow identified procedures for requesting accommodations
  • Request accommodations in a timely manner

    The College, through its faculty and staff, is entitled to . . .

  • Establish and maintain requirements and standards for admission to the College,and for participation in courses, programs, services, and activities 
  • Request current, relevant information to verify a disability and the need for reasonable accommodations, at student expense
  • Require that students request accommodations in a timely manner 
  • Deny a request for an accommodation if the student fails to provide current relevant information verifying a disability and need for the accommodation, or the request   requires a fundamental alteration of a course, program, service, or activity

    The College has the responsibility to . . .

  • Ensure that admissions policies and procedures are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner with regard to individuals with disabilities
  • Ensure that courses, programs, services, and activities, when viewed in their entirety, are accessible to individuals with disabilities 
  • Provide appropriate reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, auxiliary aids,      and services in a timely manner
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of disability-related information

Determining Eligibility and Reasonable Accommodations 

 

Bryn Mawr provides reasonable accommodations for qualified students who disclose a disabling condition that currently causes substantial limitations to their functioning in the College environment.  Decisions about eligibility and the need for reasonable accommodations are made by the Coordinator of Access Services in collaboration with the student, and other College professionals as appropriate. 

To be eligible for services and reasonable accommodations, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a diagnosed disability as defined by 504/ADAAA
  • Disclose the disability to the Coordinator of Access Services as early as possible
  • Provide the Coordinator with the required information verifying a disability that currently causes substantial limitations to functioning in the College environment

Determination of the need for accommodations is based on the following considerations:  

  • Student’s description of need, current experiences, and prior history of needing accommodations in similar circumstances       
  • Current limitations resulting from the condition that have a substantial effect on functioning in the College environment, as identified in the documentation
  • Essential course and program requirements

Please note that a prior history of accommodation does not mean that similar accommodations will automatically be provided at the College.  Consideration of a student’s current functioning and needs is important when confirming eligibility and determining appropriate accommodations.  Also, the College is not obligated to make an adjustment that would fundamentally alter an essential element of a course, program, service, or activity.  Reasonable accommodations are implemented to provide students with equal access; they do not guarantee success.  Accommodations will not be implemented retroactively.

Documentation Guidelines

Students are encouraged to request accommodations and to provide the required information as early as possible to allow sufficient time for consideration and planning.  Please review these guidelines for information about documenting specific types of conditions.  In general, to confirm the need for reasonable accommodations, the documentation should be a typewritten report on letterhead stationery from a qualified professional not related to the student.

At a minimum, the following information should be included:                                 

  • Date of the most recent evaluation or examination
  • Verification of the existence of a disabling condition
  • Identification of any deficits that currently cause substantial limitations to the student’s functioning in the College setting
  • Explanation of the connection between the current impact of the condition and the requested accommodation(s)
  • Signature, title, and credentials of the professional conducting the evaluation. 

Students should also submit verification of prior eligibility for accommodations from educational institutions and testing agencies if available, such as an IEP or 504 Plan, approval of accommodations from ETS or ACT, and letter from their high school or previous college when relevant.  Although these documents on their own are not typically sufficient to substantiate the current need for accommodations, they may provide useful information about the student’s educational history.  

All documentation should be submitted to the Coordinator of Access Services as early as possible.  Additional information may be necessary to substantiate the need for accommodations.  If inadequate documentation is submitted, accommodations may not be arranged until the necessary information is received.  It is the student’s responsibility to obtain any required documentation.

Documentation of an Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

    To document an Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a student must submit a current report based on the results of an evaluation (preferably within the last three years) by a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist experienced in diagnosing ADHD in young adults and adults.  The report should include the following information:

  • Clear statement of a diagnosis of ADHD, level of severity, and date of the most recent evaluation
  • Description of the methods, criteria, and tests used to make the diagnosis
  • Summary of a thorough diagnostic interview with relevant information about the individual’s history, including evidence of early onset and symptoms across multiple settings
  • Description of current symptoms that meet diagnostic criteria
  • Analysis of evaluation results, including any relevant test data, to substantiate the diagnosis     
  • Ruling out of alternate diagnoses or explanations for the symptoms
  • Overview of treatment plan and timeframe, including any prescribed medication and its effect on the student’s current functioning
  • Discussion of any symptoms that currently cause substantial limitations to the student’s  academic functioning
  • Recommendations for reasonable accommodations to help compensate for current substantial limitations resulting from the ADHD, with a rationale for each one

Documentation of a Learning Disability

To document a learning disability (LD), a student must submit a current report from a comprehensive psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation (preferably within the last three years) performed by a licensed psychologist or certified school psychologist experienced in evaluating LD in young adults and adults.  Test instruments must be well recognized and age appropriate, and the most recent edition should be used.  Adult norms are preferred. 

At a minimum, the following areas should be evaluated:

  • Cognitive functioning
  • Academic achievement, including measures of reading, mathematics, and writing ability, with assessment of performance under timed and untimed conditions 
  • Information processing ability, including processing speed and fluency; memory; visual, auditory, and spatial perception; and executive functioning    

The report should include the following information:

  • List of tests administered, and an outline of all results with age-based standard scores and percentiles
  • Summary of a thorough diagnostic interview including relevant educational history
  • Clear statement diagnosing LD
  • Data and analysis substantiating the diagnosis
  • Discussion of processing strengths and weaknesses, and whether any deficits currently cause substantial limitations to the student’s academic functioning
  • Recommendations for reasonable accommodations to help compensate for the deficits, with a rationale for each one
  • Documentation of a Physical Disability or Chronic Medical Condition

        A student with a physical disability or chronic medical condition may be required to provide current information to support a request for an accommodation or to help identify appropriate accommodations.  The documentation must be a written report of an evaluation by an appropriate professional (e.g., medical doctor, physical or occupational therapist, audiologist) relating the current impact of the condition to the requested accommodations.  At a minimum, information about the following should be included:

    • Nature and severity of the condition, and the date of the most recent examination
    • Overview of the methods used to make the diagnosis
    • Summary of relevant history and current symptoms
    • Discussion of any treatments, medications, or devices currently prescribed and their effect on the student’s functioning
    • Discussion of any manifestations of the condition that currently cause substantial limitations to the student’s functioning in the College environment
    • Recommendations for reasonable accommodations to help compensate for any substantial limitations resulting from the condition, with a rationale for each one
    • Expected duration or progression of the condition, and time period for which the accommodations are recommended

    Documentation of a Psychological Disability

        To document a psychological disability, a student must submit a current report based on a comprehensive evaluation (preferably within the last year) performed by an appropriate professional (i.e., psychiatrist, licensed psychologist or clinical social worker) relating the current impact of the condition to the requested accommodations.  The evaluation should include the following information:

    • DSM diagnosis, nature and severity of the condition, and date of the most recent evaluation
    • Overview of the methods used to make the diagnosis
    • Summary of relevant history and current symptoms
    • Overview of treatment plan and timeframe, including any prescribed medication and its effect on the student’s functioning
    • Discussion of any symptoms that currently cause substantial limitations to the student’s functioning in the College environment
    • Recommendations for reasonable accommodations to help compensate for current substantial limitations resulting from the condition, with a rationale for each one
    • Expected duration or progression of the condition, and time period for which the accommodations are recommended

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    Procedures for Requesting Accommodations

          Students who think they may need accommodations at the College are encouraged to contact the Coordinator of Access Services as early as possible to discuss their needs and submit the necessary documentation.  Appropriate accommodations may include arrangements that require advance planning, so early contact is essential.  For academic accommodations and services requiring considerable advance planning and preparation, such as alternatives to print materials, ASL interpreting, or CART, it is strongly recommended that requests and any required documentation be submitted at least six weeks before the first class.  If one of those services is required for an activity or event on campus, requests should be submitted as early as possible, preferably at least one week in advance.                                           

        Requests and documentation related to modifications in Residential Life should be submitted by   March 30 for continuing students and June 15 for new students.  For additional information, please see the next topic titled Requests for Modifications in Residential Life.

        Newly admitted students who think they may need accommodations are encouraged to contact the Coordinator of Access Services soon after their decision to matriculate at Bryn Mawr to discuss their academic history and needs, and to learn about the process for requesting Access Services.  The documentation necessary to support an accommodation request should be submitted as early as possible before the start of the academic year, in accordance with the timelines indicated previously.  Early notice will help to alleviate unnecessary inconvenience and delays, and allow time to obtain any additional information if necessary. 

        Continuing students should contact the Coordinator as early as possible to discuss their needs, submit any required documentation, and request accommodations when necessary, preferably before the start of the semester for which accommodations are being requested. 

        Eligible students requesting academic adjustments should use the following procedure each semester:

    • Schedule an appointment with the Coordinator within two weeks of confirmation of registration to review their courses and needs.
    • Meet with the Coordinator to discuss whether accommodations are necessary for their courses and to prepare confidential accommodation verification forms for their faculty when appropriate.
    • Meet with the professor as soon as possible to present the verification form and review the accommodations together. 
    • Students should discuss with faculty the specific arrangements for testing accommodations, which may include modifications to previous arrangements, no later than one week prior to the   test date.  Without advance notice, it may not be possible to provide the accommodation for the scheduled test date.   

    Continuing students who need classroom accommodations and services requiring considerable advance planning (e.g., accessible classroom locations, alternatives to print materials, ASL interpreting or CART) should submit their requests to the Coordinator as soon as they pre-register for the upcoming semester. 

        Students requiring facilities access are advised to contact the Coordinator whenever necessary, well in advance of the semester or event for which access is required.     

    Requests for Modifications in Residential Life

       

        The College will consider reasonable modification of housing assignment procedures or arrangements when necessary to provide equal access for students with disabilities that limit their ability to participate in residential life.  Students should contact the Coordinator of Access Services to request modifications and to provide the necessary documentation as early as possible to allow sufficient time for consideration and planning. Requests should be made well in advance of established Residential Life timeframes; otherwise, options may be limited: 

    • Returning students must submit requests and provide the required information by March 30.
    • New students must submit requests and the supporting documentation no later than June 15. 
    • For students who wish to live on campus during the summer months, the deadline is May 1.

        Documentation Guidelines for Residential Life Requests

        Students may be required to provide current documentation of a disability or significant chronic medical condition to verify their access needs and to help determine the modifications necessary in the residential setting.  All information should be submitted to the Coordinator of Access Services and will be maintained on a confidential basis.  The information must be a written report of an evaluation by an appropriate professional not related to the student (i.e., medical doctor, psychologist, physical or occupational therapist, audiologist). 

        The report should verify the existence of a disabling condition that currently causes substantial limitations to the student’s ability to participate in residential life, and relate the current impact of the condition to the modification(s) requested.  It should be on letterhead stationery, provide the date, and include the signature, title, and credentials of the professional providing the information. 

        At a minimum, the following information should be included:

    • Nature and severity of the condition, and date of the most recent evaluation or examination
    • Overview of the methods used to make the diagnosis
    • Summary of relevant history and current symptoms
    • Overview of any treatments, medications, or devices currently prescribed and their effect on the student’s functioning
    • Discussion of any manifestations of the condition that currently cause substantial limitations to the student’s ability to live in campus housing
    • Recommendations for reasonable modifications to provide the student an equal opportunity to   participate in residential life, with a rationale and indication of the level of need for each one
    • The expected duration or progression of the condition, and the time period for which the   modifications are recommended

    Students must complete and submit a form, Request for Modifications in Residential Life, which is available from Access Services.  They should also submit documentation of any previous provision of modifications or auxiliary aids or services in a residential setting. 

        Determination of Reasonable Modifications in Residential Life

    Reasonable modifications are determined by the Coordinator of Access Services in collaboration with the Director of Residential Life, the student, and other College professionals as appropriate, based on the following considerations:

    • Student’s history and description of current access needs in a residential setting
    • Nature and severity of the condition’s impact on the student’s ability to participate in residential life, as indicated in the documentation
    • College policies and procedures

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    Policy Regarding Service Animals

        In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (ADAAA), Bryn Mawr College will provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities when necessary to ensure equal access to our programs, services, and activities.  Although animals are not allowed in College facilities, an appropriately trained service animal, as defined below, will be permitted if necessary to ensure access for a person with a disability. 

        According to the ADAAA, a service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.  The work or tasks must be directly related to the effects of the handler’s disability.  Other animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered to be service animals.  Dogs that are not trained to perform specific tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including animals used for emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship, are not considered to be service animals. 

        The health and safety of Bryn Mawr’s students, faculty, and staff are of utmost importance.  The handler is responsible for the overall care and management of the service animal, including appropriate waste clean-up.  A service animal should have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless that is not feasible due to the nature of the disability or the dog’s work.  If it becomes disruptive or aggressive, or is not housebroken, a service animal may be required to leave the College.

        Bryn Mawr students with disabilities who need to bring a service animal with them to the College should contact the Coordinator of Access Services prior to their arrival, and may be asked to provide the following information:  

    • Verification of a disability and the need for a service animal
    • A description of the specific work or tasks the dog has been individually trained to perform to mitigate the effects of the disability
    • Documentation indicating that the dog has up-to-date vaccinations and appropriate licensure

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    Disclosure and Confidentiality

    Disclosure of a disability is voluntary.  Disability-related information is considered confidential material and does not become part of the student’s academic record at the College.  It will not be released without written consent unless required or permitted by law.  Information about a disability is shared with members of the campus community only with permission from the student, on a need-to-know basis.

    Complaint Resolution Procedure

        Bryn Mawr College is committed to ensuring equal access for individuals with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended.  When students believe they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, the following procedures are available to address their concerns.  If appropriate current documentation of a disability is not on file, the student may be requested to provide it to the Access Services office.

        A student who believes s/he has been denied equal access or a reasonable accommodation is encouraged to meet with the Coordinator of Access Services as soon as possible to discuss her/his concerns and seek resolution informally.  If the student prefers, or the outcome is not to the student’s satisfaction, s/he should contact the College’s ADA/504 Compliance Officer no later than the end of the semester in which the situation occurred.  The Compliance Officer may be reached at eoo@brynmawr.edu and 610-526-0300.

        The Compliance Officer will schedule a meeting with the student as quickly as possible after being contacted.  If, after consultation with the Compliance Officer and any resulting actions, the student continues to believe that disability discrimination has occurred, s/he should submit a written statement to the Compliance Officer within two weeks of their last contact.  The statement should include an explanation of the facts relevant to the concern and the actions taken previously to resolve it if any. 

        The Compliance Officer will convene an access review committee which will include appropriate administrators and faculty knowledgeable about disabilities and/or information relevant to the complaint.  The committee members may communicate with the following individuals to gather pertinent information: the student, the Coordinator of Access Services, individuals suggested by the student and others with relevant knowledge of the issues involved.  The committee will render a decision which will be forwarded to the student in writing within 30 days of the committee’s initial notification of the complaint.  All information related to the process will be kept confidential by all parties involved. 

        Students who continue to believe discrimination on the basis of disability has occurred may contact the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education in the Philadelphia area at 215-656-8541 or OCR_Philadelphia@ed.gov.

    Emergency Evacuation Procedures for Students with Disabilities

        Students with disabilities are advised to prepare for an emergency ahead of time and to familiarize themselves with the College’s Emergency Response Guide which is available online at the Emergency Response Guide.  They should locate and remember important areas in buildings   they frequent including exits, exit routes, rescue areas, stairways, elevators, and telephones.  Individuals who will need assistance leaving a building during an emergency are advised to identify in advance someone nearby who can assist them.  They should discuss with that person a plan for leaving the building and/or informing emergency personnel of their presence and location so assistance can be provided. 

        Students with hearing impairments who require visual alarms in their dorm rooms should inform the Coordinator of Access Services about their needs as early as possible.

        Resident students with disabilities that limit their ability to move quickly are urged to contact the Coordinator at (610) 526-7351, at the start of each semester to request that Public Safety be informed about their identity and campus residence so assistance can be provided if an evacuation is necessary. 

    They also should inform Residential Life staff in advance about their need for assistance in the event of an emergency in the dormitory.  Those needing assistance to evacuate should identify two individuals on their halls beforehand (e.g., one HA and one student) who can assist them and inform emergency personnel of their presence in the hall.  They should discuss with these individuals in advance the specific nature of the assistance needed.  In the event relocation is required, the College will make every effort to provide accessible housing, when necessary. 

                                                                            

        At a minimum, students with conditions affecting their ability to evacuate a building should take the following steps during an emergency:

    • If a campus phone is available, dial 911 for Public Safety, and state your location and situation. 

    If using a cellular phone, dial 610-526-7911 to reach Public Safety.

    • Do not use elevators, which may shut down in emergency situations.  Rescue personnel will determine whether circumstances warrant the evacuation of a person who is non-ambulatory.
    • Ask for assistance to exit the building, if possible, or to go to one of the following locations: the designated Area of Rescue Assistance, the nearest stairwell with doors that separate the stairs from the hall, or a room with a door and exterior window near a stairway.  
    • Note the room number or other identifying features of your location.  Ask someone leaving the building to notify emergency personnel of your location and situation.
    • If you go to a stairwell, please attempt to position yourself so as not to block access to the stairs   for rescue personnel entering and for those exiting the building.

    August 2013

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