The Ohio State University at Mansfield

Policies and Procedures

Policies and Procedures

The staff from The Office for Disability Services of the Ohio State University at Mansfield wishes to acknowledge the many printed resources that have been published by AHEAD and others, that have enabled us to compile this document; among them, Handbook on Supported Education, by Karen Unger, Title by Title by Jane Jarrow, Policy Statement of Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder in Adolescents and Adults, published by Educational Testing Service, and Guidelines for Documentation of a Learning Disability in Adolescents and Adults, published by AHEAD.

Student Life Disability Services collaborates with and empowers students who have disabilities in order to coordinate support services and programs that enable equal access to an education and university life.

At The Ohio State University at Mansfield, we believe that all qualified students should have equal access to higher education and college. The Office for Disability Services determines eligibility and negotiates reasonable accommodations and support services for otherwise qualified Mansfield campus students with disabilities, in a manner which provides confidentiality for the student and maintains academic integrity in the programs of the institutions.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT – A federal civil rights law enacted in 1990. It is intended to protect qualified persons with disabilities from discrimination in employment, government services and programs, transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The ADA supplements and complements other federal and state laws that protect persons with disabilities.

APPROPRIATE ACCOMMODATIONS – Modification(s) necessary to ensure that otherwise qualified students with disabilities have equal access to information, programs, and activities sponsored by the institution. Accommodations must be based on the documented impacts or functional limitations of the disability.

ATTENTION DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD) – A mental health disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity that are more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at comparable levels of development.

CONFIDENTIALITY – The process of insuring that documents and information relating to a student’s disability are released only to authorized individuals. Written permission from the student is required for release of information.

DIRECT THREAT – The institution can refuse to make accommodation, or can refuse to allow participation of a student having a disability, if doing so would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Evidence of a direct threat must be established by determining the severity of the risk, the likelihood of the risk, and the imminence of the risk.

DISABILITY – Under ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. A person is considered to have a disability if he/she has the disability, has a record of having a disability or is perceived as having a disability. Learning is designated as a major life activity.

DOCUMENTATION – A written record of a professional diagnosis of a disability that substantially limits one or more major life functions. The documentation must support requested accommodations.

DUE PROCESS – The safeguards to which a person is entitled in order to protect his or her rights.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA - The characteristics/behaviors relating to a disability that result in functional limitations at the post-secondary level and thus enable an otherwise qualified student to have reasonable accommodations to succeed in his/her coursework.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE – A process for resolving complaints.

HEALTH AND SAFETY OF OTHERS – Refers to actions by an individual that has a high probability to cause injury/harm to another individual(s).

MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITY – Functions, as defined in ADA, such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

MENTAL IMPAIRMENT – Any mental or psychological disorder, such as organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, mental retardation, ADHD or specific learning disabilities.

MULTI-FACTORED EVALUATION – An evaluation, conducted by certified/licensed personnel, of more than one area of an individual’s functioning. It should include but is not limited to cognitive, academic, and processing abilities of the individual. May be referred to as a psycho-educational assessment.

OTHERWISE QUALIFIED – An individual who meets the academic and technical standards required for admission of participation in the individual’s education program of activity, despite the presence of a disability.

PERCEIVED DISABILITY – A person is considered to be disabled when he/she is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that, although it does not substantially limit major life activities, is treated as a limitation or impairment that does substantially limit these activities as a result of others’ attitudes and/or perceptions.

PHYSICAL DISABILITY IMPAIRMENT - Any physiological disorder, or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following: neurological, musculo-skeletal, special sense organs, including speech organs, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine body systems.

POLICY- A written statement that identifies a plan or course of action that is adopted by the governing board of the institution.

PROCEDURE – A written statement identifying the persons responsible for conducting the activities, a listing of the activities to be conducted and the schedule of when the activities will be accomplished.

PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT – See Multi-factored evaluation.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION – Modification(s), as necessary to ensure that students with disabilities who are otherwise qualified, have equal access to information, programs, and activities sponsored by the institution, unless it can be shown that provision of the accommodation will cause “undue hardship” to the institution. Accommodations must be based on documented impacts of functional limitations of a disability.

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT – This is a program access statute. It requires that no otherwise qualified person with a disability be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by any program or activity provided by any institution receiving federal financial assistance. It requires that an institution (public or private) be prepared to make appropriate academic adjustments and reasonable modifications to policies and practices in order to allow the full participation of students with disabilities in the same programs and activities available to non-disabled students.

SPEECH IMPAIRMENT – A communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, or a voice disorder, which adversely affects an individual’s learning function.

SUBSTANTIALLY LIMITS – Refers to the reduction of an ability as measured against the average level of performance by a person in the general population; one which significantly limits participation in a major life activity. The following factors are to be considered in determining whether an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity:

  • The nature and severity of the impairment
  • The duration or expected duration of the impairment
  • The expected permanent or long- term impact of or resulting from the impairment.

TAPE RECORDER – An example of an assistive device that can be an effective aid to learning. Tape recorders specifically mention in Section 504 and ADA as means of ensuring full participation in education programs or activities.

TECHNICAL STANDARDS – This term refers to all non-academic admission criteria that are essential to participation in the program by all students in question.

TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS – Provisions which assure that the examination administered to an individual with a disability, accurately reflects the individual’s aptitude or achievement level rather than reflecting the individual’s disability.

TUTORING – Individual coursework/study skill assistance provided to all interested students on campus. Students with disabilities are guaranteed equal access to the tutoring program.

UNDUE HARDSHIP – An action requiring significant difficulty or expense; one that is unduly costly, extensive, substantial, disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter the nature of the institutional purpose of an academic program.

INTRODUCTION/OVERVIEW Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, students with disabilities are guaranteed equal access to higher education and college life. At Ohio State Mansfield, these federal mandates are followed. The Office for Disability Services (SLDS) provides reasonable accommodations and support services for Mansfield campus students with disabilities. The request for accommodations must be based on a documented, diagnosed condition that meets the definition of disability as defined under ADA and Section 504. Accommodations must be based on functional limitations directly related to the disability and identified through appropriate documentation. Students are required to self identify. (F-1)

DISABILITY DEFINED Under ADA and Section 504, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A person is considered to have a disability if he/she has a disability, has a record of having a disability or is regarded as having a disability. Learning is designated as a major life activity.

Ohio State Mansfield is committed to providing equal access to higher education opportunities for people with disabilities. It is the responsibility of the student to disclose his/her concern about the possibility of a disability or an actual disability to the Office for Disability Services (SLDS). Once it is documented that a student who is otherwise qualified for the study program of his/her choice meets the eligibility criteria for a disability, Ohio State Mansfield shall provide reasonable accommodations to enable the student to benefit from full participation in the educational program. When students come to the campus community with current disability documentation, that documentation shall be assessed on an individual basis, to determine eligibility for services. If the student is eligible, the appropriate accommodations shall be put into place. (F3)

WHO IS ELIGIBLE? Under the provisions of ADA and Section 504, Ohio State Mansfield does not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, educational process, or treatment of students. Students who have self-identified, provided adequate documentation of disability, and requested reasonable accommodations are entitled to receive approved program modifications, appropriate academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids that enable them to participate in, have access to, and benefit from all educational programs and activities provided by the educational institution. Employees with disabilities may also be served. Employees should contact Human Resources for more information.

Services are available to any student at The Ohio State University at Mansfield who has a disability. Individuals eligible for services include, but are not limited to those with:

Chronic illnesses such as:

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • AIDS
  • Blindness/Visual Impairment
  • Arthritis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse*
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Orthopedic/Mobility Disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Speech/Language Disorder
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Test Anxiety Disorder
  • Psychiatric Disorder
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

*Drug and Alcohol Abuse *Under ADA, students who are recovering from drug addiction and alcoholism are considered to have a disability and are eligible for services/accommodations. They must provide appropriate documentation that defines how their addiction has caused residual problem(s) that interfere with their ability to be successful in a major life activity such as learning. On the other hand, the illegal use of drugs and alcohol is not considered a disability under ADA. Students who use drugs or are persons with alcoholism shall be held to the same standards of performance/ behavior/compliance to the law and school’s policy, as are all other students, even if unsatisfactory performance or behavior is related to the individual’s drug use or alcoholism.

Documentation The name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license of certification, should be clearly stated in the documentation. The documentation must include a specific diagnosis based on accepted professional practices appropriate to the condition. The diagnostician shall use direct language in the diagnosis, avoiding such terms as “suggests” or “is indicative of.” Documentation must describe the impact on the individual. The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations for accommodations that are realistic and that post-secondary institutions, and examining, certifying and licensing agencies can reasonably provide. In most cases the evaluation should have been completed within the past five years to determine reasonable accommodations, based on the currency of the diagnosis. A prior history of accommodations without demonstration of a current need does not in itself warrant the provision of like accommodations. The ODS shall evaluate the significance of presented documentation on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations. If the documentation is inadequate in scope or content, or does not address the individual’s current level of functioning and need for accommodations, re-evaluation may be required.

Campus Services Services available on campus include, but are not limited to:

  • Pre-admission interview;
  • New student orientation;
  • Information on services and resources available through The Office for Disability Services (ODS);
  • Priority considerations in scheduling classes for students with accommodation needs;
  • Academic, career, and psychological counseling in both group and individual settings;
  • Coordinator for academic success for study skills strategies;
  • Registration and financial aid information and assistance;
  • In-service training and consultation for students, faculty, and staff;
  • Referral and liaison services with Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (ORSC) and Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI);
  • Peer tutoring for the development of academic concepts.

Accommodations The following is a list of the accommodations that can be arranged for students with disabilities through the SLDS at Ohio State Mansfield. All accommodations are determined on an individual basis. The list includes but is not limited to:

  • Extended time on tests
  • Reader/tape for tests
  • Scribe/computer for tests
  • Enlargement of printed tests or class materials
  • Priority scheduling
  • Textbooks and handouts on tape; locally prepared or from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB and D)
  • Notes from lectures
  • Magnified computer screen
  • Interpreter/Signer
  • Sound amplification system
  • Parking for disabled
  • Oral exams with instructor, pending instructor approval
  • Testing area free of auditory and visual distractions
  • Computer spell check or spelling dictionary for in-class assignments
  • Computer modification
  • Use of adjustable table and/or pneumatic chair in classroom(s)
  • Service animals in classrooms and labs
  • Private restroom access
  • Individualized student orientation
  • Course Specific Attendance Modification
  • Course Specific Substitution
  • Other accommodations to be determined on a case-by-case basis

Other services available to all students on campus, and often recommended for students with disabilities include:

  • Calculator
  • Peer tutoring
  • Tape recorder for oral presentations
  • Instruction in use of reading machine
  • Instruction in and use of reading machine
  • Self selected class seating
  • Reading help
  • Study Skills consulting
  • Referral for psychosocial counseling
  • Reading Machine
  • CCTV

Undue Hardship to the Institution The institution is not required to provide specific accommodations for students with disabilities if that type of accommodation creates an “undue hardship” for the institution. An accommodation reaches the level of undue hardship when it requires significant difficultly or expense to implement. In order to determine whether a particular accommodation would impose an undue hardship to the institution, the total resources of the institution must be considered.

Confidentiality Disability related information shall be treated as medical information and handled under the same strict rules of confidentiality that govern all medical information. Records as well as all information gathered shall be held in the strictest confidence, including the comprehensive written and oral information provided by all professional personnel and the student to establish the existence of a disability and the need for accommodation.

  • Disability related documents shall be gathered and maintained on separate forms and kept in the ODS in secure files with limited access.
  • Disability related information shall be shared only on a limited basis within the institutional community. It may be shared only when there is a compelling “need to know” reason provided.

It can only be shared with the student’s signed Release of Information permission.

  • In general, faculty access to information regarding a student’s disability is limited to sharing that a student has a disability, through the use of an official list that cites and verifies the need for specific accommodations. Faculty advisors may have the need for access to a student’s file, contingent upon the student’s written permission.
  • In all cases where information regarding a student’s disability is released to a third party or agency, the student is required to provide a signed Release of Information Form, to ensure that confidentiality is maintained. This form shall be retained in the student’s file. The only exception is when files are under government investigation for compliance (see F 4, 5, 6).
  • Examples of situations that may require sharing information are:
    1. To provide emergency medical accommodation, staff may need to know about a health –related condition.
    2. To resolve a grievance initiated by a student with a disability, that involves treatment by a faculty member or the university, the administrator in charge of the grievance procedure may need to know the specifics of the individual’s disability and history within the institution in order to provide due process.
    3. Sometimes, the ODS is requested to provide information to the Bureau for Vocational Rehabilitation or Social Security. This is usually at the student’s request for the purpose of receiving additional services.
    4. To provide additional information to an institutional panel/committee that has been charged with the responsibility of addressing a petition made by the student.
    5. To provide additional information for a disciplinary due process procedure, dependent on the wishes of the student.
    6. To provide required information to government officials investigating compliance to ADA regulations.

Financial Aid Federal law requires that students who attend school part-time due to constraints caused by their disability have equal access to financial aid. At Ohio State Mansfield, these students shall be entitled to financial aid for the entire time it takes them to complete their program.

Degree Modifications/Course Substitution– (See Appendix 1) A degree modification, or course requirement substitution is permitted under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation ActIF the modification does not constitute a fundamental change in the degree and is supported by the student’s documentation of a disability, (e.g., to go into engineering, a student must have mathematics courses; thus an engineering student could not substitute an alternative course for a math requirement). In order to substitute a required class, the student must file an appeal petition. The student shall first discuss his/her academic difficulties with the SLDS and request assistance from the Office for Disability Services in the petition process. Next, the student shall meet with the advisor for the degree, and discuss the disability related needs and potential modifications. Once a substitution is determined, the student shall fill out the course information on the Petition to Substitute Required Course form. Lastly, the student shall return to the SLDS and request that the appropriate staff member help complete the “Academic Reason(s) Justification for the Request” section of the form. If the request is reasonable, the staff member will be able to advocate for the student throughout the process. The student shall submit the form for appropriate signatures. (See Appendix I) Disciplinary Policy All students, including those who have disabilities, matriculating at Ohio State Mansfield will be subject to the disciplinary Code of Conduct of the campus, relative to their respective school. Grievance Policy Any time that a student feels that their rights under ADA or Section 504 have been violated, they may file a grievance following the procedures outlined in the Appendix II of this document. Should the student receive no recourse for his/her complaint, the student may then file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. (See Appendix.)