This guide on Section 504 and the Disabilities Act is designed to help faculty, administrators, and staff understand their role in reasonably accommodating the needs of qualified students with disabilities.
Although current legislation ensures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, education and training must also be accessible if they are to qualify for positions in business, industry, and the professions. Physical barriers can be removed with relative ease given the proper funding, but the removal of attitudinal barriers continues to be a challenge to all persons without disabilities.
Section 504 Regulations
Conditions covered by Section 504 include but are not limited to:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Deafness/Hearing impairment
- Seizure Disorder
- Heart Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Mental or Emotional Illness (including eating disorders)
- Orthopedic (mobility/coordination) impairment
- Speech impairment
- Blind/Visual impairment
- Perceptual Disabilities:
- Specific Learning Disabilities such as Dyslexia and Dyscalculia
- Attention Deficit with or without Hyperactivity Disorder
- Developmental aphasia
Suggestions for Classroom Accommodations
It is recommended that instructors make an announcement during the first class to the following effect:
“It is VWCC’s policy to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with documented disabilities. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability and you need a reasonable accommodation, please contact the Office of Disability Services in Student Life Center S207 – phone 857-7286. To best provide the accommodation you need, make this request as soon as possible.”
Such an announcement will help protect the student’s privacy, indicate willingness on the part of the instructor to provide assistance, and facilitate early accommodation. Please appreciate the fact that some students with disabilities may not seek accommodations even though they are eligible either because they wish to remain independent or choose not to disclose a disability.
Students with disabilities have varying levels of ability and motivation, as do students without disabilities. In spite of your sincere efforts, a student with a disability may not be successful; however, we must ensure that students with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to succeed in the most integrated setting possible.
The following sections provide information about specific disabilities and list by impairment groupings typical accommodations that may be considered “reasonable” for each. Lists are not all-inclusive. A qualified professional in the Office of Disability Services will determine eligibility for specific accommodations based on appropriate documentation. Please contact The Office of Disability Services (7-7286) with questions or concerns about accommodations for your students. Please do not accord accommodations to students unless they have come from our offices with an Classroom Access Plan.
Impairment groupings listed below appear with specific accommodations on subsequent pages of this document:
- Attention Deficit Disorder with/without Hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD)
- Blindness/Visual Impairments
- Head Injuries (Opened/Closed)
- Deafness/Hearing Impairments
- Psychological/Emotional Illnesses
- Mobility/Coordination Impairments
- Seizure Disorders
- Specific Learning Disabilities
- Chronic Health Impairments