Visit with the ADA Coordinator
The ADA Coordinator will want to talk with the student about their disability. This discussion will be used to hear about the student’s understanding of their disability, the obstacles it presents for them, and what has and has not worked for them in the past. Students should be prepared to answer and discuss “How does your disability affect your ability to learn?”
The ADA Coordinator will generate a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) for the student.
- The LOA is an agreement between the ADA Coordinator and the student on the accommodations for the student.
- The LOA is also the document that students use to get accommodations from their instructors.
The student takes the LOA to their instructors.
Until the instructor receives the LOA, they will not provide the student with any accommodations.
Students should come back to the ADA Coordinator every semester for a new LOA.
This provides the student with a disability an opportunity to share any pertinent information with the ADA Coordinator: How the accommodations were received by instructors, how the instructors followed through with granting the accommodations, how the accommodations worked for the student, what accommodations are not needed, and/or what accommodations should be utilized for the next semester.
The rationale for seeking information about a student’s condition is to support the higher education professional in establishing disability, understanding how disability may impact a student, and making informed decisions about accommodations. Professional judgment is an essential component of this process.
Ensuring that “accommodations” provide effective access requires a deliberative and collaborative process that is responsive to the unique experience of each individual, as advised by the ADA. The disability resource professional should engage in a structured exchange with the student to explore previous educational experiences, past use of accommodations, and what has been effective and ineffective in providing access. The weight given to the individual’s description will be influenced by its clarity, internal consistency, and congruency with the professional’s observations and available external documentation. It is often possible to evaluate whether a requested accommodation is reasonable or not with minimal reliance on external documentation. This is true even if the student has never received formal accommodations or recently acquired a disability and is seeking guidance to determine accommodations that might be effective. However, if the student is unable to clearly describe how the disability is connected to a barrier and how the accommodation would provide access, the institution may need to request third party documentation focused on illustrating that connection. Finally, the documentation process must be accessible: if a student’s disability impacts his or her ability to clearly describe the need for accommodation, the office must consider flexibility in its processes.
In essence, each student’s situation is unique. When a student comes in to meet with the ADA Coordinator about their disability and receiving accommodations, it could be as simple as that conversation. The ADA Coordinator may, or may not, request tertiary (or third party) documentation for clarity of service and/or help in making a decision about reasonable accommodations. Each situation will determine the physical documents that are, or are not, needed. No student should avoid or delay meeting with the ADA Coordinator due to the lack of paperwork on their disability.
What is reasonable accommodation?
The Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 outlines that people with disabilities be provided with a “reasonable accommodation.” While not defined specifically, the Act states that a “reasonable accommodation” may include the following:
- “making existing facilities used by employees [or students] readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and
- Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.”
- Determining accommodations is an interactive process between the ADA Coordinator and the student. The student’s input is critical for understanding how the disability affects their ability to learn and what manner of impact the disability has on learning.
- The nature of the course and the accommodation request may necessitate consulting with the instructor.
- Accommodations are to limit the impact of the disability on learning.
- The accommodation must not alter the fundamental nature of the class.
- Accommodations are for the student to gain access to the educational environment and equality of treatment.
- Accommodations are to ensure that the student is not being discriminated against.
- The institution must have the resources to provide the accommodation.
- Accommodations should be timely and effective.
If requests for accommodations are aligned with these principles, then MCC considers them reasonable and grants them to the student.
What is not reasonable?
Accommodations not considered reasonable are those that would create an undue hardship on the college or instructors or staff, are not related to the disability, and significantly alter the essential components of a course or program.
Rights & Responsibilities
Access to education and the opportunity to participate in programs and activities.
Timely accommodations and use of aids.
Students should not have to wait more than 2-3 weeks for internal communications to be completed between the ADA Coordinator and the faculty.
Information about disabilities and/or accommodations will only be shared with those directly affected, including faculty, the VP of Student Services, and others deemed necessary by the ADA Coordinator. Information will also be kept separately and under lock and key.
Comply with the Student Code of Conduct.
All students, with or without a documented disability, must adhere to the Student Code of Conduct.
Their own enrollment.
The student should make appointments with academic/faculty advisors to discuss and get help with selecting classes for graduation, and should register on-line or turn in paper registration of their own volition.
Students will not be questioned about or be pursued for information about any existing disabilities. They must initiate all requests for accommodations.
Provide adequate documentation.
To obtain accommodations, students must provide documentation in accordance with MCC’s Documentation Policy.
Students with disabilities are required to maintain the same standard of grades as students without disabilities for academic and financial progress.
Advanced notice of need for accommodation.
Some accommodations take time to acquire for the student, and they must notify the ADA Coordinator about their need for accommodations with enough time that the accommodations can be reasonably obtained.
Faculty and staff must keep information pertaining to students with disabilities confidential. They will not discuss accommodations or disabilities with anyone who is not directly and academically involved with the student.
Faculty and instructors must implement the accommodations deemed acceptable by the ADA Coordinator and/or VP of Student Success.
Any concerns about students granted accommodations should be shared with the ADA Coordinator.