Requesting Disability Services
It is the student's responsibility to notify the Disability Resource Center of an impairment/condition that may require accommodations and/or classroom modifications. After students are accepted to the University, the Admissions Office will send an acceptance package. In it, there will be a form called the Request for Disability Services Information. Indicate the nature of your impairment/condition and the services requested. Mail this form back to the Disability Resource Center.
Documentation of Disabling Conditions
Documentation provides a valuable tool to assist Purdue University understand how courses, systems, and facilities may present barriers for students with disabilities. In addition, documentation is utilized for planning strategies and reasonable accommodations to facilitate equal access. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) uses external documentation to enhance and supplement conversations with students and to support requests for accommodations.
The DRC asks students who request disability accommodations to:
- Describe their condition(s)
- Describe past use of accommodations or services
- Describe the likely impacts of the condition(s) related to their educational experience
In addition to student self-report, the following forms of documentation can be utilized to support accommodation requests:
- Medical and health records
- Psycho-educational/Neuro-Psychological reports
- School records (e.g. Individualized Education Plans, 504 Plans and Summaries of Performance)
- Observation and interaction
Sources for Documentation of Disability
The medical community in Indiana has established guidelines regarding criteria for professional status in various fields. The Disability Resource Center requires that documentation be prepared by practitioners who meet these criteria. Professionals from other states would be held to the same standard. An individual with a physical condition defined as a disability must provide documentation from a licensed professional such as a physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, ophthalmologist, optometrist, audiologist, or other professional in the field. An individual with a disability affecting psychological functioning must provide documentation from a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or other professional in the field.
While documentation from a previous school indicating participation in a program for students with disabilities will protect students from discrimination, accommodations -- including academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services -- cannot be provided until current and appropriate documentation is received, evaluated, and approved by a Disability Resource Center Accommodation Specialist.
Required Diagnostic Information
In order to be most helpful to the students, documentation should indicate those areas of limitation applicable to the University setting. Examples of such limitations would include: "difficulty reading written information," "limitations in receiving or expressing sensory information," and "limitations in dexterity or coordination." Recommendations regarding limits to be observed in order to preserve the current level of functioning -- for example, "restrict use of hands" -- are also very useful. Diagnostic information should include any expectations of change in the condition and detailed description of possible medication-related effects on functioning.
Documentation guidelines for students with learning impairments, attention deficit disorders and/or psychological conditions can be accessed through this website, or by contacting the Disability Resource Center.
Determination of Appropriate Academic Adjustments
Although there have been many changes in documentation requirements recently, it is strongly recommended that you follow the ETS guidelines. ETS guidelines are the requirements for most testing such as SAT, GRE, CLEP, etc. Updating documentation the Junior or Senior year of high school may save you a considerable amount of time and money later.
The student meets with a Disability Resource Center Accommodation Specialist to discuss the academic implications of the disability. Together they determine what the student needs to fully access campus facilities and course-related activities, including print materials and evaluations. This information is then conveyed through a confidential letter to the instructor. Students are encouraged to meet with their instructors, early in the semester, to make arrangements for the timely implementation of their accommodations.
Instructor Accommodation Letter
The instructor letter contains individualized information about the accommodations, and the academic adjustments (alternative methods of meeting course requirements) and/or auxiliary aids/services (alternative methods of ensuring access and effective communication) needed to assure the student equal access to educational activities. The instructor letter clearly delineates the responsibilities of the instructor, the student, and the Office of the Dean of Students. In the event that an accommodation conflicts with the essential elements of a course, and/or the fundamental nature of a course or program, contact the Disability Resource Center.
Information about the distribution process of Instructor Accommodation Letters and the request form are available here.
Purdue University is required to respond to the needs of the students with disabilities as outlined in both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 through the provision of auxiliary aids and services that allow a student with a disability to fully access and participate in the programs, services, and activities at Purdue University.