Viewing the work of disability services differently


Office Website

What is current practice?

Disability service offices use websites to convey key information for students regarding procedures:

  • Policies, mission and goals of the disability services office
  • Roles and responsibilities of disabled students
  • Service delivery procedures including eligibility criteria

View Examples

Sample 1

The University is committed to providing equal and integrated access for individuals with disabilities to all the academic, social, cultural, and recreational programs it offers. This commitment is consistent with legal requirements, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and embodies the university’s historic determination to ensure the inclusion of all members of its communities.

The disability service office goal is to provide services and support to ensure that students are able to access and participate in the opportunities available at the institution. In keeping with this objective, students are expected and encouraged to utilize the resources of the office to the degree they determine necessary. Although a significant degree of independence is expected of students, the office is available to assist, should the need arise.

The mission of the disability service office is to facilitate inclusion by reducing/eliminating barriers, whether they are attitudinal, structural, programmatic or otherwise. In doing so, students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to become successful through their own efforts and not held back by artificial barriers. We strive to create partnerships with students, faculty, staff, and other university and community offices by creating awareness and training on disability-related issues as well as providing information and referral services.

Students are asked to notify the disability service office as soon as possible to discuss disability-related concerns and needs. Services include, but are not limited to: alternate text, assistive technology information, readers, notetakers, sign language interpreters, real-time captioning, campus housing arrangements, campus accessibility and disability parking information, priority registration assistance, new student orientation, testing accommodations, advocacy, or assistance with any other campus disability-related needs.

Sample 2

Students with documented physical‚ learning‚ or temporary disabilities may receive assistance and support from this office. See documentation guidelines for more information.

The goal of the disability service office is to provide equal access to students who are eligible. We advocate for reasonable accommodations‚ removal of barriers‚ and acceptance of different learning methods. In partnership with students‚ faculty‚ and staff‚ our purpose is to achieve an accessible educational environment where students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of the university community.

It is recommended that students contact the disability service office early to request specific assistance so that the required medical or psychological documentation can be reviewed and reasonable accommodations can be provided from the beginning of class work in order to achieve the greatest benefit to the students.

Sample 3

Welcome to the Institution’s disability service office. The staff of the office are dedicated to opening doors of equal opportunity to individuals with disabilities at the institution.. The office assists students with documented disabilities by determining their eligibility for services and then working with students to determine reasonable accommodations and services which will, in turn, give the student equal access.

It is important for students to remember that it is their responsibility to request disability services in the post-secondary setting, and they can start the process here at our office. The institution is a caring and supportive community with high academic and personal expectations for each student, and our office will help students to recognize their potential by removing potential barriers to their education. We are glad that you are here, and we look forward to working with you.

The mission of the office is to provide each individual an equal opportunity to participate in the institution’s programs and activities. This mission is accomplished by:

  • Creating a physically, programmatically, and attitudinally accessible community where people are judged on their abilities, not their disabilities, by providing accommodations, services, and awareness to students, the overall campus community, and the general public.
  • Promoting the development of a climate for everyone that is conducive to learning, personal growth, acceptance, and appreciation of everyone without regard to disability.
Sample 4

The Office of Student Disability Services at the University is committed to ensuring equal access to a quality education for qualified students with disabilities through the provision of reasonable academic accommodations which support University standards and academic integrity.

Institutional policy provides for reasonable accommodations to be made for students with verified disabilities on an individualized and flexible basis as specified under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

The disability service office provides classroom accommodations to all students on campus who disclose a disability, request accommodations, and who meet eligibility criteria. We do not have specialized programs for specific types of disabilities.

Students with disabilities are served in much the same way as other students on campus. We believe that each department on campus has expertise unique to that unit and students are better served by interacting with each department according to their needs. For example, students with housing needs should contact the Office of Student Housing and Residence Life; students with registration questions should contact the Registrar’s Office or their academic advisor and so on. In this way, students receive appropriate information from those with the specific expertise and knowledge to answer the student’s question(s). Students are encouraged to contact the disability service office if they do not know which campus office to contact for a specific question or problem.

What are the implicit messages?

A focus on Section 504 and the ADA implies that all efforts to create access are to avoid legal problems. Disabled people should be required to take fulfill numerous requirements to prove a right to accommodation because that special treatment is an advantage.

  • Disabled people are inspirational and can overcome tremendous barriers.
  • Disabled people are unable to achieve without assistance.
  • Disability is hard and requires good will and charity.
  • Disabled students are needy, different, and expensive.

How might this be different?

Disability resource offices design web sites that are accessible and useable; represent disability as an aspect of diversity, social justice, and equity; and recognize the importance of inclusive design in all environments.

View Examples

Sample 1

The mission of the disability resource center is to create an accessible, inclusive, sustainable learning environment, where disability is recognized as an aspect of diversity that is integral to the campus community and to society.

The goals and objectives of the center are to:

  • promote and facilitate access through creative outreach and training, collaborative partnerships, innovative programs, and proactive solutions;
  • create inclusive environments by engaging and supporting the campus community in progressive system change; increase the recruitment, transition, retention and graduation of students with disabilities;
  • consult regarding the reduction of barriers for persons with disabilities; and
  • ensure the effective delivery of accommodations.

Sample 2
Our Mission

In conjunction with community principles and overall mission of the institution, the disability resource center appreciates disability as an integral part of the campus experience. We are committed to providing equal access and opportunity to all campus programs and services for persons with disabilities. Through collaboration and support of the entire campus community, the office promotes disability pride, self-determination of the student, and universally accessible design principles, so that everyone has full access to institutional life.

Core Values of the disability resource center:

  • Human variation is natural and vital in the development of dynamic communities.
  • Disability is a social/political concept that includes people with a variety of conditions who share common experiences.
  • Inclusion and full participation are matters of social justice.
  • Design is powerful and profoundly influences our daily lives.
  • Universal design is essential for achieving inclusion and full participation.
  • Creating usable, equitable, sustainable, and inclusive environments is a shared responsibility.

Disability service office websites to explore:

What is the potential impact of this change?

  • The office resources target all members of the campus community.
  • Disability is welcomed and appreciated.
  • The problem and the solution belong to the entire campus community.
  • The disability resource office is seen as having a leadership role in creating inclusive campus communities.
  • The campus commitment is not simply a reaction to legal requirements but a part of a larger institutional commitment to diversity, social justice and equity.
  • The focus can be placed on poor designs which cause barriers for students; this change allows for an emphasis on designing inclusive environments that minimize the need for individual accommodations or services.