Working with Students with Disabilities
Procedures for Registration and Eligibility Determination for Disability Services at Penn State Altoona
- It is the student's responsibility to self-identify as a student with a disability. The student receives information during the admission process regarding the availability of services at Penn State. The student may also be referred by staff, faculty, parents or others at any time throughout the student's educational experience.
- Individuals seeking academic accommodations from Disability Services are required to provide current diagnostic documentation from a licensed clinical professional verifying the nature and extent of the condition in accordance with current professional standards, techniques and practices. The documentation must clearly substantiate the need for the student's specific accommodation requests. The ODS guidelines for all disability categories are based on nationally accepted standards and the ADA. Documentation guidelines and diagnosis specific verification forms can be found at www.altoona.psu.edu/healthwellness.
- An intake meeting is scheduled between the Disability Services counselor and the student. During the intake interview, the student's condition and functional limitations are reviewed, as well as previous accommodations, supports and any remediation techniques/skills. The student receives information on their rights and responsibilities and signs an information release form.
- Once documentation is provided, it is reviewed and evaluated. A documentation review board reviews the documentation to determine eligibility under the ADA. The board consists of disability specialists, psychologists, medical professionals, and other assigned staff. The Board determines if:
- The documentation meets Penn State's guidelines for appropriate documentation
- The student's condition meets the criteria for having a disability under the ADA. The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
- If the student's disorder is determined by the Documentation Review Board to meet the definition of a disability, then a determination will be made regarding reasonable accommodations.
- The determination for reasonable accommodation(s) is an interactive process between the student, the disability specialists, the provider of the documentation, and if necessary, in collaboration with the student's instructor. Once reasonable accommodations are determined, the student's counselor drafts an accommodation letter specific to each course in which the student is enrolled. Recommended accommodations may vary for each course based on specific design and requirements of the course.