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SWOSU ADA / 5O4 Student Responsibilities

Students Have A Responsibility To:

Self Identify

It is the student’s responsibility to disclose their disability to the designated office for disability services if they desire accommodations. The student can self identify at any time during their academic career. It doesn’t have to be done during the first semester unless accommodations are being requested for that semester. But, it must be done before they can be considered. The institution has no responsibility to make accommodations retroactively.

Provide Verifying Documentation to that Designated Office

It is important that students provide documentation not only of a diagnosis of a physical or mental impairment but also of the functional impact of that impairment. This documentation must come in  writing from a qualified professional. Most institutions have guidelines for documentation, which is available upon request. In most instances documentation should be recent. (Within the last 3-5 years)

Some samples of documentation guidelines are included in the appendix at the back of this booklet.

Obtain assessment and test results and provide them to that office

Post-secondary institutions will not provide students with testing or assessment for a learning disability. If a student feels that they have such a disability they will need to contact a qualified professional for assessment. In the case of a medical disability, students should submit documentation from a qualified medical professional stating the nature and severity of the disability, the diagnostic procedures used, and recommendations for academic assistance. Students with learning disabilities or Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity disorder must submit documentation, not more than 3 years old from   one of two sources. (1) Students diagnosed prior to graduation from an accredited high school may submit the psycho-educational evaluation on file at the respective high school. (2) Students diagnosed after the completion of high school must submit a psycho-educational evaluation performed by a licensed psychologist.

Act as Independent Adults

Students at post-secondary institutions are considered to be adults. You will be expected to make your own request for accommodations and take personal responsibility for your academic success.

Arrange their own Weekly Schedules

It is the student’s responsibility to work with their advisor to create their own schedule of classes, plan and utilize study time, and seek help when they feel it is needed.

Contact their Instructors

Although accommodations may be authorized and letters sent to professors, it is the student’s responsibility to introduce himself or herself to the professor and discuss which authorized accommodations they would like to have implemented within that particular class.

Arrange for and obtain their own personal attendants, tutoring and individually fitted or designed assistive technologies.

If a student is in need of personal attendants, private one-on-one tutoring, special transportation, or assistive technology of a personal nature, it is necessary for the student to arrange for these services on their own as it is not a function of a post-secondary institution to provide them.

Frequently Asked Questions


Students with disabilities that wish to access services may initiate their request by contacting the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities. Each school will have one or an individual designated with the responsibility of providing those services. Students can expect to meet with a staff member to discuss their academic needs. During this intake process, students will have an opportunity to identify specific academic accommodations and they will be asked to provide current documentation about their disability.


Colleges and universities are committed to serving all students with disabilities as defined by federal regulations. A qualified person with a disability means: an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal or architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.

The federal definition of a disability includes a person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities; (2) has a record of such impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such impairment.

The student must provide documentation of an impairment and the documentation must show that the impairment restricts his or her ability to perform a major life function in comparison to most people. If a person does not have a physical or mental impairment nor has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit a major life activity the person is not entitled to ADA protection.

The determination of whether an individual has a disability under ADA is not based upon the name or diagnosis of the impairment, but rather upon the impact of that impairment on the life of the individual.


Planned services are provided based upon the requests of the student. Since different classes may require different accommodations it is important to look at a student’s needs on a semester by semester basis. Services, therefore, must be requested at least once at the beginning of each semester or at the time a need is identified within a semester.


The use of accommodations in post-secondary institutions is based upon more than just the diagnosis of a disability. It is based upon the severity of impact (Functional Impact) on a major life activity. This is why documentation for a post-secondary institution has to provide more information that just a diagnosis and must address the severity of impact. Another student with the same disability may be impacted differently by his disability; therefore, all accommodations are viewed on a case by case basis.

My parents have always taken care of my accommodations with the school. Can’t they bring in the documentation and handle this for me?

No. Students at post-secondary institutions are considered adults. This agreement for services needs to be made with the person requesting the services and not at the request of a third party. The federal laws and FERPA are very clear that institutions are not to communicate to anyone but the student about that individual’s academic progress and/or disability related needs.


No. The purpose of the accommodations is to provide each student with equal access to the information and course content. Given these accommodations a student who is otherwise qualified should be able to be successful within the context of a normal classroom setting.


Yes. Go to the Dean of Students Office in Stafford 214, or to the person with who you arranged your accommodations. They will assist you in trying to resolve any conflicts that may arise.


While in some classes, attendance may not be a critical issue, in many classes it is considered to be a critical component of the curriculum. Examples would be when learning is a hands-on experience, involves group dynamics or interaction, and extends beyond just textbook knowledge of a subject. Many times some flexibility in an attendance policy might be negotiated with an instructor but in some cases that may not be possible.

Myths: Assumptions and Requests that are NOT considered Reasonable and are NOT

provided by post-secondary institutions……

  • I don’t need to buy an alarm clock or learn to use one; the college will call and wake me up in the mornings.
  • Parents are required to be there with me when I register and enroll in college.
  • I don’t need to ask for updated testing in high school since the college will test me for free.
  • Accommodations are available only in some universities.
  • Because of my disability admission and/or graduation requirements will not apply.
  • I have qualified for Social Security. Therefore I will get disability services in college.
  • Colleges have to pay tuition and fees for students with disabilities, and help with the cost of books.
  • Colleges will help me with my transportation needs from home or apartment to the campus.
  • The college will provide the course modifications that are authorized on the last high school IEP.
  • The university will look after me and guarantee that I will pass my classes.
  • Once I enroll all of my accommodations will be taken care of.
  • Whatever accommodations I say I need will be provided.
  • Any absences will automatically be excused if I am sick or if it is disability related.
  • If I have a problem, then later notify the instructor/ Dean of Students Office that I need accommodations; I can redo & retake assignments and test so the results can be adjusted.
  • Colleges will be violating the law if they don’t give me one-on-one tutoring.
  • I see that the other student with disabilities in my classroom has been provided with a cushioned chair; if that’s what handicapped students get, I should get one too.
  • The college will provide a nurse to monitor my needs, particularly to help me with my prescriptions.
  • The college will assign a roommate to me who will help me get organized.
  • My professors will give me nonverbal cues when I’m taking tests.
  • My professors will have to let me take the test ahead of time, grade it and then allow me to take it again the rest of the class. (Recycle Tests.)
  • If I want them, the instructors will give me their notes, outlines, study guides, and a practice exam.
  • As a parent, I can arrange to have weekly progress reports like what has been done all through school, from the 4th grade until graduating from high school.
  • The college will be breaking the law if they do not provide the extras that I have written on the copy of the IEP that I gave them.
  • Since my self-concept is low and sometimes very low, the college will arrange for me to succeed in whatever I want.
  • As long as I attend class and do the homework I will pass the class.
  • Since I provided the other college with documentation about my disability, all I need to do is bring the accommodation list to the college to which I am transferring.
  • The college will need to create an independent study program for me and I can design it myself.
  • The accommodations I need will be the same in all classes.
  • My doctor wrote the diagnosis on one of those pads like they write prescriptions on. It can be taken to any college and they will give me accommodations. They’ll understand it.
  • I can take only half of the normal test. The tests will have to be shorter for me and all I need to do is ask the disability office for that modification.
  • I can have the ASL interpreter I want.
  • I can find a tutor and the college will pay for the tutoring.
  • I won’t need to talk with the counselors and disability office staff because my parents will come along and they have always arranged things for me and made my class schedules.
  • If I need more testing to verify my disability, the college will provide the testing.
  • My tests will all be open book, since that was something they did for me in high school.
  • “Coaching” is one of the mandated services that colleges must provide all students who have disabilities.
  • “Coaching” is a service that colleges provide students who have ADD.