In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the Office of Learning Assistance (OLA) provides equal access to educational programs and safeguards against discrimination for qualified students with disabilities as defined by the ADA. The ADA defines a person with a disability as any person who:
- Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- Has a record of such impairment.
- Is regarded as having such impairment.
For OLA to determine if a student’s condition meets the standard defined by the law, the disability documentation submitted by the student must contain all of the elements detailed below.
- Administered or completed by a licensed or credentialed examiner.
- A diagnostic statement identifying the disability (note: a condition does not automatically qualify as a disability).
- A description of the diagnostic methodology.
- A description of the current functional limitations.
- A description of the expected duration and progression of the condition.
- A rationale and justification for all requested accommodations.
OLA has established documentation guidelines for conditions that qualify for disability services. These guidelines provide professional diagnosticians and service providers with a common understanding of those components of documentation necessary to validate the existence of a disability, the functional limitations caused by the condition, and the need for reasonable accommodations in an academic setting. Specific documentation requirement guidelines exist for each of the following categories:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Learning Disabilities
- Physical, Medical and Sensory Disabilities (includes visual and hearing impairments)
- Psychological Disabilities
- Temporary Disabilities
Please note there is currently no place on the Howard Payne campus where a student can receive a comprehensive evaluation for learning disabilities or ADHD. Anyone wishing to pursue such an evaluation should visit an off-campus evaluator.
Documentation Review Process
After the student submits documentation, it is reviewed to ensure it meets OLA documentation guidelines. This involves a review by the director. Upon completion of the review process, the student is contacted and an intake appointment is scheduled.
OLA will adhere to its confidentiality policies regarding its responsibility to maintain confidentiality of the evaluation and will not release any part of the documentation without the student’s informed consent or under compulsion of legal process.