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Establishing Eligibility

Students who are seeking services at Penn State must self-disclose the need for academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services to the Office for Disability Services at Penn State Berks.

In order for a student’s disorder/impairment to be considered a disability, the student must demonstrate through documentation that the disorder/impairment meets the definition of a disability under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act ( ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Listed below is a brief description of the procedures for submitting documentation and determining eligibility for academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services at Penn State.

Procedures for Requesting Academic Adjustments, Auxiliary Aids, and/or Services

  1. Students seeking services for a disability must self-disclose the need for services to  the Disability Services (DS) Coordinator at Penn State Berks. Each student is required to provide diagnostic documentation from a licensed professional. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain documentation and present a copy to the DS  Coordinator for review. The documentation must meet Penn State’s guidelines for appropriate documentation. For detailed information regarding Penn State's guidelines for documenting a specific disability, go to the following web site: http://equity.psu.edu/ods/guidelines
  2. The documentation is reviewed and evaluated to determine if Penn State’s documentation guidelines have been met, and to determine if the student’s disorder/impairment meets the criteria for having a disability. A disability (as defined by the Rehabilitation Act, 1973, and the American’s with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), 2008) is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The determination for reasonable academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services is an interactive process that is determined on a case by case and a course-by-course basis.
  3. Student will be asked to schedule an intake interview with the DS Coordinator. During the intake interview the student's disorder/impairment and academic history are discussed, services are explained, and the rights and responsibilities of the student and Penn State are reviews. A student should anticipate that the intake assessment will take approximately one hour.

    Students interested in obtaining services at Penn State for a disability should begin the process described above as soon as possible. If additional information is needed at any time during the process, the procedure of reviewing documentation can be delayed, which may also delay the delivery of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services.

    A clinical diagnosis is not synonymous with a disability. That is, evidence sufficient to render a clinical diagnosis might not be adequate to determine that an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity. The documentation must include the student’s specific current functional impairment(s) and describe how the disorder/impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities in order for Penn State to fully evaluate the necessity for academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or auxiliary services.

If the documentation submitted does not sufficiently address the student's current functional impairment or describe how the disorder/impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities, additional information will be required.

 


Office for Disability Services

Michelle Strawley, M.S.
Disability Services Coordinator
153 Franco Bldg., P.O. Box 7009
Reading, PA 19610-6009
Phone: 610-396-6410 Fax: 610-396-6402
E-mail Michelle (mns136@psu.edu)