Disability Services Information and Application
Under Federal Law, students with disabilities are provided a "level playing field" so that they may compete equally with their peers. A Letter of Accommodation, based on documentation from a licensed physician, psychologist, diagnostician, or other healthcare professional, is issued for students with disabilities when they have presented the necessary documented evidence, or the receipt for the testing accommodation, to this office.
Please find the full Students with Disabilities and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Policy and Procedure, including Student Grievance Procedures, in the 2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog and the 2017-2018 Graduate Catalog on the Registrar's Office web page.
In compliance with the Office of Civil Rights, the name and location of the Section 504 Coordinator of Civil Rights Compliance is Dr. Michael Ellison, Director of Disability Service (email@example.com; 817-531-7565; Graduate Counseling Programs Faculty Offices, #114 3106 E. Rosedale Street, Fort Worth, TX 76105).
Disability Accommodation Application (Below)
Common Disability Accommodation Questions
What does it do?
Disability accommodations are intended to provide "reasonable accommodation(s)" in legal terms, or in common language, a "level playing field" for students with a disability for them to compete academically with their peers. Providing accommodations for students with a disability is required by federal statute and it is not an option. Failure to comply with these regulations has been the grounds for numerous lawsuits brought against institutions of higher education; in some cases, specific instructors have also been sued.
A "disability" has been defined as any impairment in function which limits normal performance and includes physical disabilities (such as being wheelchair-bound), learning disabilities (such as dyslexia or dysgraphia math disorder), or other mental health disorders (such as ADHD, severe depression, and anxiety disorders, etc.). All disability claims must evidence the diagnosis by a physician, psychologist, or other health-care professional. This diagnosis is based upon codified standards of practice (e.g., CD-10 or DSM-5).
The University does not provide healthcare professionals for disability assessment. Any fees associated with testing or diagnosis must be paid by the student.
What does that mean?
Accommodations must be provided to students who meet the criteria. Instructors who offer special treatment for students, however intended are, in fact, providing accommodations—and are liable for legal action. The University recognizes only two Disability Accommodations Officers at the Main Campus: Dr. Michael Ellison and Julie Keller. A "Letter of Accommodation" issued by one of these persons tells each instructor the proper methods of providing accommodations for any student.
Who is responsible to provide accommodations?
It is the responsibility of the student holding a Letter of Accommodation to present it to an instructor in order for any accommodation(s) to be extended. Instructors should not attempt to provide accommodations to a student without a Letter of Accommodation from one of the Disability Accommodations Officers. Providing such ad hoc accommodation(s) may place an instructor at legal risk, and may contribute to a misunderstanding on the students’ part that all University Instructors should provide such ad hoc measures.
Once an instructor has received the Letter of Accommodation, it is the responsibility of the instructor to implement the accommodation(s) listed in the letter. For example, if an accommodation requires that exams be given "in a quiet and distraction-free environment as possible," then it falls to the instructor to provide this setting. Usually, a departmental office or other setting fulfills this requirement. Remember, a "reasonable” accommodation means just that, and "reasonable" does not have to be, nor can it be, perfect.
Why must instructors be sensitive to this issue?
Since it is a matter of federal law, all persons with a disability must receive accommodation(s). Instructors who have failed to implement mandatory disability accommodations have been sued. In general, the University's attorneys will represent the institution in any lawsuit. Instructors who have been named as defendants in lawsuits usually are advised to retain legal-council, at their own expense, to protect their own personal interests—a financially challenging undertaking for most instructors. In this arena, litigation avoidance is simply prudent thinking for instructors.
How is a disability accommodation claimed?
Persons with a disability should contact Dr. Michael Ellison or Julie Keller and are told they must provide documentation of a disability. In some cases, students are referred to one of several testing sites where, at their expense, a battery of tests is performed to establish a diagnosis. Only diagnosed disorders receive accommodation. Students who fail to supply data with a diagnosis are refused accommodation(s).
In other cases, students erroneously attempt to provide help and testing data to instructors or staff directly without receiving an official Letter of Accommodation. In no case should instructors or staff allow students to proceed further without first securing an official Letter of Accommodation. All accommodation letters must originate from Dr. Michael Ellison or Julie Keller. This protects University personnel from providing accommodations without institutional sanction.
What disabilities are most common?
Learning disabilities are the most common in all educational settings. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects as many as 10% of all adults, in some studies, and comprises about 50% of accommodations at Wesleyan for both undergraduate and graduate students. Accommodations for ADHD typically include:
Time and one-half (1.5X) for all in-class assignments, including exams. Exams to be conducted in as quiet and distraction-free a setting as is possible.
The remaining 50% of accommodations include those for Math Disorders, physical limitations such as impaired vision, etc., and a note taker.
What about course waivers or substitutions?
In some cases, a course may be waived for a physically disabled student (e.g., wheelchair-bound), while in other cases a course substitution is authorized (Logic substituted for College Algebra). However, if MTH 1302 is a prerequisite it cannot be substituted.
What about Placement Tests?
Since the purpose of placement tests are to accurately enroll students in the appropriate course, given their current level of performance, accommodations are not required. In this context, for example, providing time and one-half (1.5x) for the exam is inappropriate. However, once the student has been appropriately placed, accommodations, such as extra time (if officially authorized), are then extended to allow the student to compete with peers.
What if I have other questions?
For further assistance, please contact:
Dr. Michael Ellison, Director of Disability Service – firstname.lastname@example.org, 817-531-7565, Graduate Counseling Programs Faculty Offices, #114, 3106 E. Rosedale Street, Fort Worth, TX 76105,
Julie Keller, Disability Accommodations Coordinator – email@example.com, 817-531-4826
Graduate Counseling Programs Faculty Offices, #117, 3106 E. Rosedale Street, Fort Worth, TX 76105, or
Texas Wesleyan University Community Counseling Center – 817-531-4826, 3110 E. Rosedale Street, Fort Worth, TX 76105