Policies and Procedures

 

Eligibility Verification

Eligibility for students to receive services from a disabilities program at a given university is dependent upon the nature of the disability and its impact on learning. A person might meet eligibility requirements of vocational rehabilitation, disabled veterans or any other rehabilitation agency; however, he/she may not meet eligibility at the university.

Individuals are eligible for services at Eastern New Mexico University's Disability Services Office (DSO) who meet the following criteria:

  • Individuals must have a current diagnosis (three years or less depending on the disability).
  • The diagnosis must be made by an appropriate, qualified professional(s) i.e., licensed school psychologist, learning disabilities/educational specialist, medical doctor, optometrist, or psychiatrist.
  • Individuals must provide the Services for Students with Disabilities office with the diagnostic report and if available and appropriate, the most recent Individual Education Plan (IEP).
  • Individuals who were served as learning disabled in public or private schools through the 10th grade but do not have current documentation will be eligible for services but may be asked to update their documentation. To initiate services, the most recent diagnostic report and IEP must be provided.
  • Students with learning disabilities who transfer from another postsecondary institution must provide written verification from the previously attended school, which includes an account of the accommodations used. The most recent copy of the psycho-educational documentation is also required. If the last date of assessment is greater than three years old, the student may be retested; however, the lack of this recent testing does not make the student ineligible for services.

 

Once a student has been verified at the university level, a disability eligibility form should be completed and placed in the confidential file with documentation.

Documentation Guidelines

Documentation legitimizes a student's request for accommodation and, in general, should include the following:

  • Identification of the nature and extent of the disability,
  • Specific information on the functional limitation as related to the academic environment,
  • Description of the current course of treatment including medical side effects,
  • Prognosis for the disability,
  • Recommended reasonable accommodations

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD)

ADHD is considered a medical or clinical diagnosis. Individuals qualified to render a diagnosis for this disorder are practitioners who have been trained in the assessment of ADHD and are experienced in assessing the needs of adult learners. Recommended practitioners may include:

Developmental pediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists, licensed clinical or educational psychologist, family physicians or a combination of such professional. The diagnostician must be impartial and not a family member of the student. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of ADD or ADHD with the DSM-IV diagnosis and a description of supporting past and present symptoms.
  • Documentation for eligibility must be current, preferably within the last three years; (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the students specific request for accommodations).
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis.
  • A narrative summary, including all scores, which supports the diagnosis.
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitation of the disorder or disability on learning or other major life activity and the degrees to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs, including the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist at the institution collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

 

Blind/Low Vision

Ophthalmologists are the primary professionals involved in diagnosis and medical treatment of individuals who are blind or who experience low vision. Optometrists provide information regarding the measurement of visual acuity as well as tracking and fusion difficulties. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of vision-related disability with supporting numerical description that reflects the current impact the blindness or vision loss has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependant upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodations).
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results including standardized scores.
  • Present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs, the status of the individual's vision (static or changing), and its impact on the demands of the academic program.
  • Narrative or descriptive text providing both quantitative and qualitative information about the student's abilities that night be helpful in understanding the student's profile including functional limitation, the use of corrective lenses and ongoing visual therapy (if appropriate).
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist at the institution collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

 

Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury

Head injury or traumatic brain injury is considered a medical or clinical diagnosis. Individuals qualified to render a diagnosis for these disorders are practitioners who have been trained in the assessment of head injury or traumatic brain injury. Recommended practitioners include: physicians, neurologists, licensed clinical, rehabilitation and school psychologists, neuro-psychologist and psychiatrists. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of the head injury or traumatic brain injury and the probable site of lesion. Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the head injury has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's specific request for accommodations).
  • A summary of cognitive and achievement measures used and evaluation results including standardized scores or percentiles used to make the diagnosis.
  • Summary of present dual symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  • Medical information relating to student's needs to include the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

 

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

Deaf/Impaired Hearing

Physicians, including otorhinolaryngologists and otologists are qualified to provide diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders. Audiologists may also provide current audiograms. The diagnostician should be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of deafness or heating loss, with a current audiogram that reflects the current impact the deafness or hearing loss has on the student's functioning, (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the condition, the current status of the student, and the student's request for accommodations).
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a narrative summary of evaluation results, if appropriate.
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs, the status of the individual's hearing (static or changing) and its impact on the demands of the academic program.
  • A statement regarding the use of hearing aids (if appropriate).
  • A statement of the functional impacts or limitations of the hearing loss on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

 

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

 

Physical and Systemic Disorders

(Includes but is not limited to: multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, chemical sensitivities, spinal cord injuries, cancer, AIDS, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida) Any physical disability or systemic illness is considered to be in the medical domain and requires the expertise of a physician, including a neurologist, physiatrist or other medical specialist with experience and expertise in the area for which accommodations are being requested. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the orthopedic/mobility disability or systemic illness.
  • Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the physical disability or systemic illness has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the student's request accommodations and the current status of the student). Therefore, disabilities that are sporadic or degenerative may require more frequent evaluation.
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable.
  • A description of present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs to include the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.
  • A statement of the functional impact of limitation of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context or which accommodations are being requested.

 

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

 

Psychiatric/Psychological Disorders

(Includes but is not limited to depressive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorders and dissociative disorders) A diagnosis by a licensed mental health professional including licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselor, psychologists, psychiatrists and neurologists is required and must include the licensee number. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of the disability, including the DSM-IV diagnosis and a summary of present symptoms.
  • Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the psychiatric/psychological disability has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's specific request for accommodations).
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable.
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs, including the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activities and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

 

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

Specific Learning Disabilities

Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities must be qualified. A qualified professional needs to hold a degree in a field related to diagnosis of SLD and have at least one year of diagnostic experience with adults and late adolescents. Recommended practitioners include: certified and/or licensed psychologists, learning disability specialists, educational therapists, and diagnosticians in public school or colleges and rehabilitation services and private practitioners with the above qualifications are typically considered qualified. The diagnostician must be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. Recommended documentation includes:

  • Testing that is comprehensive, including a measure of both aptitude and academic achievement in the areas of reading, mathematics and written language.
  • Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the learning disability has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's specific request for accommodations).
  • A clear statement that a learning disability is present along with the rationale for this diagnosis. (Note: Individual learning deficits, learning styles and learning differences do not, in and of themselves, constitute a learning disability.)
  • A narrative summary including all scores (standard and percentile), which supports the diagnosis.
  • A statement of strengths and needs that will impact the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activities, and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

 

Visual Disorders/Not Acuity

Learning-related visual disabilities include, but are not limited to, the following disorders: ocular motility dysfunction/eye movement disorders, vergence dysfunction/inefficiency in using both eyes together, strabismus/misalignment of the eyes, amblyopia/lazy eye, accommodative disorders/focusing problems, visual sensory disorders, and motor integration. Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of these disabilities must be qualified to do so and have experience in assessing the needs of adult learners. The qualified professional in this field is licensed to practice as an optometrist and is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. The diagnostician must be impartial and not a family member. Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of the learning-related visual disability with supporting numerical description (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student and the student's request for accommodation). Documentation must reflect the current impact the disability has on the student's functioning.
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a summary of evaluation results, including standardized scores.
  • Present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  • Medical information relating to the student's needs and the status of the individual's vision (static or changing) and its impact on the demands of the academic program.
  • Narrative or descriptive text providing both quantitative and qualitative information about the student's abilities which might be helpful in understanding the student's profile, including the use of corrective lenses and ongoing visual therapy (if appropriate).
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activities and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

 

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if coexisting learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and disability specialist al the institution collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES


Rights and Responsibilities of Students

In addition to notifying and documenting the need for accommodation(s), students with disabilities also have the following rights and responsibilities:

  • Equal access to all programs at each institution.
  • Disability-related records will be used to determine appropriate services and will be maintained separately from academic records.
  • Students initiate all requests for services and/or accommodations to the appropriate office at their institutions.
  • Students need to give institutions advance notice of needed accommodations(s).
  • Students will need to meet with the director of the disability services program for an intake appointment and discussion about the nature and impact of their disabilities.
  • Submission of documentation is not the same as the request for services; these are two different steps in the process of determination and provision of appropriate accommodations.
  • Generally, an Individualized Education Plan, 504 Plan, or General Education Initiative from a secondary school does not provide thorough enough information for the documentation of disability and needed accommodations.
  • The Academic Accommodation Form does not relieve the student from attending class, unless absences are indicated in the documentation of the disability.

Rights and responsibilities of the institution and the Disability Services Office:

  • The institution reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of submitted documentation and requests for accommodation(s) on a case-by-case basis, using the professional judgment of the Disability Services Director and staff.
  • Additional information may be requested to determine eligibility for services.
  • Relevant information regarding the student's disability may be shared with those who have a legitimate educational interest (i.e., seizure disorders).