Disability Services FAQs

FAQ for Students:

Who is considered disabled?

Persons who meet the definition of disabled according to Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act are considered persons with disabilities. That is, a person is considered to have a disability if the individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Note: The law includes learning as a major life activity.

What kind of documentation is needed to verify a disability?

The disability documentation must be provided by a qualified professional. The documentation must be current, must provide a clear diagnosis of the disability, and must include sufficient information to determine the extent of the disability and what accommodations are appropriate. The University recommends following the best practices for documentation guidelines from the Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD). The seven elements of documentation recommended by AHEAD include the following:

  • The credentials of the evaluator(s)
  • A diagnostic statement identifying the disability
  • A description of the diagnostic methodology used
  • A description of the current functional limitations
  • A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability
  • A description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications
  • Recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services.

For more information, please go to the AHEAD website.

If the documentation provided by the student is incomplete or inadequate, the university reserves the right to require further documentation of the disability. The cost of obtaining documentation is borne by the student.

What is considered a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification to a non-essential aspect of a course, program, service or facility which does not pose and undue burden and which enables a qualified student with a disability to have adequate opportunity to participate and to demonstrate his or her ability. Such accommodations are determined on an individual basis depending upon the nature and extent of the disability. However, it is the responsibility of each student with a disability to inform Disability Services of his or her concerns in order to receive the assistance he or she requires.

How do students register with Disability Services and receive accommodations?

Newly admitted students may self-identify with Disability Services by the Special Needs Assessment form provided by Admissions in the acceptance packet. Students may also register directly with Disability Services by contacting the Director or a Special Needs Counselor and providing the appropriate information.

Registration with Disability Services is voluntary, but if a student wishes to receive accommodations they must meet with the Director or a Special Needs Counselor and provide appropriate documentation. Accommodations are determined on an individual basis in consultation with the student.

What procedures must be followed in order for an undergraduate or graduate student to receive exam modifications?

It is the responsibility of the student to contact Disability Services in a timely fashion if testing or other accommodations are needed.

The Director or a Special Needs Counselor must certify the documented disability and resultant accommodations via an accommodation form. The student is responsible for obtaining an accommodation request which is signed by the Director or a Special Needs Counselor and the student. Once an accomodation has been certified and to ensure alternative administration of a test, the student must notify Disability Services and their instructor in a timely fashion so that the necessary procedures can be carried out.

Graduate students in the colleges of Business, Humanities and Natural Sciences, Music and Fine Arts, and Social Sciences follow the same procedures as undergraduates in these colleges.

What procedures must be followed in order for a law student to receive exam modifications?

It is the responsibility of the student to contact Disability Services in a timely fashion if testing or other accommodations are needed.

Law students are responsible for providing documentation and obtaining accommodation approval at least six weeks before the final exam period begins. Because law exams are graded anonymously, law students deal directly with Disability Services and do not self-identify to professors regarding exam accommodations.

FAQ for Faculty:

If a person with a disability is otherwise qualified, what kind of accommodations must be allowed?  

Reasonable accommodations which do not pose an undue burden for the university must be allowed unless they involve an essential aspect of a course or program.

Is allowing accommodations such as extended time or transcribers unfair to students who do not get the accommodations?

No. Denying reasonable accommodations is unfair treatment. Accommodations allow students with disabilities to demonstrate their true abilities.

Obvious examples: Allowing students with vision deficits to wear glasses is not unfair to those who do not need glasses. Allowing a person with a broken hand to dictate answers to exam questions is not unfair to those who are able to write their answers.

Does the university’s insurance cover an employee if a person with a disability brings a discrimination suit based on the action of that employee?

Not if the person is acting independently. Under the 1990 A.D.A., discriminatory actions are personally actionable – e.g. faculty or staff can be personally sued if they refuse reasonable accommodations and can be personally liable for damages which result from their actions.

If a student requests information regarding his or her rights and/or requests an accommodation, how should the instructor or staff person decide what can or should be allowed?

Assuming responsibility for conveying information regarding university policies  and/or determining a student’s rights should be done with care. Students can be referred to Disability Services for information regarding university policies and determination of rights. If faculty or staff determine this on their own, they are responsible for any damages resulting from misinformation or discriminatory action such as the unwarranted denial of a reasonable accommodation.

Are students able to obtain waivers for math or foreign language requirements?

If  students have a documented disability which 1) severely impairs their ability to do math or foreign language courses and 2) the course is a non-essential component of a specific degree, they may appeal to be allowed to substitute other courses to meet the math or language requirement. The determination of the right to substitute courses for these requirements is determined by the Associate Dean in conjunction with the Director of Disability Services.

How will students who get accommodations manage “the real world” after they graduate?

Students with disabilities often find the world of work easier than school. They can choose jobs that utilize their strengths and make minimal demands on their weaknesses. 

Example: A person with a disability affecting accuracy and speed of writing can dictate letters, reports, etc. to a secretary or use computer technology such as voice to text software to compensate for the disability.

There are numerous examples of highly successful dyslexics in the professional world. A few examples: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill; New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller; endowed chair at Harvard and advisor to U.S. Presidents Seymour Martin Lipset; judge and author Jeffrey Gallet. 

How can faculty inform students about Loyola’s disability services?

Faculty should include a notification statement in their syllabi.

Undergraduate faculty syllabi: “If you have a disability and wish to receive accommodations, please contact Richelle Voelker, the Director of Disability Services, at 865-2990. If you wish to receive test accommodations (e.g. extended test time), you will need to give [the instructor of record] an official Accommodation Form from Disability Services. Disability Services is located in Marquette 112.”

Law faculty syllabi: Because exams are graded anonymously, disability statements should refer students directly to Father Larry Moore in the College of Law or the Director of Disability Services in the Academic Resource Center in 112 Marquette Hall (phone: 504-865-2990). Pick-up and receipt of accommodated exams is handled anonymously through the dean’s office. Please check with the law dean’s office for the approved syllabus statement.