Student Guide to Disability Resources
Wesleyan University is committed to supporting students both in and outside the classroom. It offers all students a broad range of programs providing academic support and enrichment, such as the Writing and Math Workshops and a peer tutoring program. These programs are an integral part of the Wesleyan community, built around a culture of intellectual growth and personal development.
Through the Student Affairs/Deans' Office, the University also provides a range of support services for students with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states: "No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States . . . shall solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) extends some of these stated provisions.
The mission of Disability Resources is to create an accessible and inclusive, learning environment where disability is recognized as an aspect of diversity.
The goals and objectives of Disability Resources are to:
- promote and facilitate access through outreach and training, collaborative partnerships, innovative programs, and proactive solutions across the campus;
- create inclusive environments by engaging and supporting the campus community in evaluating accessibility;
- consult regarding the reduction of barriers for persons with disabilities; and
- ensure the effective delivery of accommodations.
Wesleyan does not offer academic programs specifically for individuals with disabilities. The University is, however, committed to providing services and reasonable accommodations to all students who need and have a legal entitlement to such accommodations, providing the accommodations do not fundamentally alter the nature of an academic course or an institutional policy. The purpose of this guide is to outline Wesleyan's disability resources and explain how, under Section 504, the ADA, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Wesleyan students with documented disabilities can obtain reasonable accommodations.
Process for Requesting Reasonable Accommodations
Students who would like to request 504/ADA reasonable accommodations are expected to self-disclose by completing the Notification Form and making a follow-up appointment with Dean Patey. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss your disability in the context of your academic and nonacademic plans, review documentation and at your request, to assist you with arranging appropriate accommodations with your instructors and other university offices, as needed. The dean may also suggest using the academic support services available to all students, such as the Writing Workshop, the Math Workshop, and other services that are part of the Student Academic Resources.
You may establish your disabilities file at any time, though many students do it in their first semester, sending their documentation to the office in advance of their arrival on campus. Even if you think you may not want to request accommodations for your disability, you are encouraged to make an appointment to discuss your options and resources. Students with disabilities should notify the office by submitting the Disability Resources Notification Form on-line.
Documentation requirements vary by situation. Because each person's situation is unique, the office simply asks that interested students meet/speak with Dean Patey about their situation and the potential need for accommodations and other resources and the documentation that will need to be submitted. Though reporting formats vary, the following information and data are typically needed:
- a clear statement of the diagnosed disability and severity of the condition;
- date of diagnosis;
- a list of the major life functions impacted by the disability;
- a diagnostic summary with an indication of how your disability will affect participation in college courses, activities, and the residential experience;
- recommended strategies to assist you with becoming an efficient learner, and recommended accommodations that are appropriate for the disability; and
- the examiner's name, address, telephone number, and credentials with the signature of an evaluator qualified to make the diagnosis.
Each semester, all students with disabilities who request accommodations from faculty should have received prior approval for the reasonable accommodations in the form of a written letter sent via e-mail from Dean Patey. Students must request reasonable academic accommodations at the beginning of each semester by filling out the appropriate Accommodation Request form and meeting with the dean. The dean then sends a letter via e-mail to the instructor and the student that indicate the appropriate accommodation(s).
PLEASE NOTE: These letters serve as your entry point into a dialogue with your professors. The dean will act as a mediator with faculty when needed; however, it is the expectation that you will advocate for your own needs directly with professors. Please note that Dean Patey, not your professor, is the appropriate person with whom to begin the request process for obtaining reasonable accommodations.
Students are encouraged to request accommodation letters from the dean, and speak with their professors about arranging the specifics of their accommodations within the first few weeks of the semester. Disability Resources and faculty need sufficient notice in order to recommend and provide reasonable accommodations. They may not be able, nor may they be obligated, to honor last-minute requests.
In some cases, students who request accommodations, but are in the process of acquiring proper or updated documentation, may be granted provisional reasonable accommodations. Provisional accommodations are generally granted for one semester only.
Disability Resources may review requests for reasonable accommodations with either the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services or Health Services. With your permission, your class dean can also be notified when you request accommodations.
Accommodation requests are considered within the context of both warranted documentation and available resources. Each student's situation is reviewed based on the information shared by the student and the relevant documentation to determine the type of accommodation recommended. Accommodations that are considered reasonable are those that do not fundamentally alter the nature of an academic course or the institution's policies, and do not place an undue hardship on the institution. Reasonable accommodations are distinguished from services of a personal nature, which the University does not provide but the student may choose to employ. Such services of a personal nature may include individual assistants or coaches.
In addition to reasonable accommodations, a variety of assistive technologies is also available on campus to help students achieve their academic goals. Interested students should consult with Dean Patey.
There are a variety of academic services to assist all Wesleyan students. Students with disabilities are encouraged to seek out these resources, which include:
- Writing Workshop
- Writing mentors and tutors work individually with students and assist many students with disabilities. The Writing Workshop is located at Downey House, Lower Level. For more information, contact Professor Anne Greene, (860) 685-2240.
- Math Workshop
- The Math Workshop is located in Room 113A Science Center, on the Main floor Conference Room in the Science Library. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 7 to 10 pm and Monday through Thursday from 2:30 to 5:00 p. m. during the semester. There are always two staff members on duty, who may be either experienced undergraduates, or math graduate students. The staff offer a drop-in tutoring service, available to all members of the Wesleyan community. Staff members provide a friendly, relaxed atmosphere while answering questions about mathematics. (860) 685-2205
- Peer Tutoring Program/Dean's Office
- Peer tutors are provided free of charge for individual students in need of further course-content instruction. Students interested in this program should visit the the website and fill out the request forms.
- Various offices on campus sponsor workshops on such topics as time management, study skills, note taking, test taking, math, and writing. For more information, visit the Peer Advisor blog.
Students who are dissatisfied with the disabilities accommodations or services they have been granted should first report their dissatisfaction to Dean Patey. If the matter cannot be resolved at that level, students may report the matter to Louise Brown, the Dean for Student Academic Resources.