Academic Accommodations: The Process for Requesting Reasonable Accommodation
Step 1: Register with Disability Services
Students planning to request accommodations should start the process by completing the Disability Services electronic application. Self-identifying a disability during the admissions process to Cedarville University either verbally or on the application for admission does not constitute notifying Disability Services of a diagnosed disability, nor does it take the place of completing the electronic application to Disability Services. Applications may be submitted at any time, as long as the student is an accepted, incoming student or a current CU student. Students should plan on a 2 to 3-week time frame for complete review of applications and documentation.
In addition to a student’s self-disclosure through the application and a pre-service interview, students are responsible for submitting professional documentation of the disability. Documentation can be uploaded to the electronic application or submitted directly to Disability Services. This documentation should contain objective evidence from the practitioner to support the student’s accommodation requests. Clear identification of the student’s disability diagnosis and the barriers that result from the diagnosis should be addressed. Disability Services is not bound by a student’s former IEP or 504 plan, but these documents are helpful in considering a student's needs. The services students receive at CU may be different from the services received in high school.
What type of documentation is required?
Depending on the disability, appropriate documentation may include data and assessments from health care providers, educational assessments or testing (MFE or ETR data), mental health assessments, and psychoeducational evaluations. Costs associated with necessary assessments, testing, and evaluations are the responsibility of the student. Documentation does not necessarily have to be recent, but it should be relevant to the student’s current level of disability. If documentation does not support the student’s request, then the accommodation may not be considered reasonable.
Documentation Requirements: A letter or report that . . .
- Is written by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who preferably knows the history of the student’s disability.
- Is provided on the professional’s letterhead along with the date of evaluation.
- States a clear diagnosis based on objective evidence.
- Gives a description of how the condition was diagnosed.
- Discusses the functional impact of the diagnosis.
- If applicable, discusses the typical progression, stability, prognosis, and treatment along with any side effects of medications.
- Establishes the need for requested accommodations.
- Is signed by the credentialed professional who diagnosed the student.
Unacceptable forms of documentation:
- Notes written on prescription pads.
- Reports or letters on plain paper.
- Letters that state a diagnosis without correlating testing or evaluation.
- Letters or notes from physicians that only request accommodation allowances.
- Office visit summaries or patient progress notes that do not meet the stated criteria.
- 504 Plans from high school.
Step 3: Interview
The Disabilities Compliance Coordinator will contact the student to set up a pre-service interview after reviewing the application for services. During the interview, discussion will take place about the history of the identified (diagnosed) disability, past accommodations, and how the disability affects the learning process and/or other areas of accessibility. The student should be able to describe the relationship between the impact of the disability and the requested accommodations.
Step 4: The Letter of Accommodation
When a student is approved for accommodations, an account is then created for the student in Accommodate (software for Disability Services). The student’s account will show the approved accommodations and will contain copies of the student’s letters of accommodation for each semester. The Letter of Accommodation lists the accommodations that have been discussed in the interview and approved for the student’s use. The letter is also sent to the student’s e-mail address that was provided on the student’s original application to Disability Services.
If the letter lists an accommodation that involves faculty participation, the student is to forward the letter to professors by e-mail. Students should plan to discuss details with professors in order to clarify the plan for approved accommodations. Accommodations are in effect after the registration process has been completed, and the student has provided the Letter of Accommodation to appropriate faculty; accommodations are not retroactive.