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                                 Disability Resource Services



                                                                    University of WisconsinLa Crosse




                                      POLICY MANUAL



























                                                TABLE OF CONTENTS


Section 1. Introduction_ 1

1.1. Purpose of Policies and Procedures 1

1.2. University of Wisconsin System Mission 1

1.3. University of Wisconsin Board of Regents Policy Statement 1

1.4. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse - Philosophy 9

1.5. Responsibility for Funding Reasonable Accommodations Policy 9

1.6. Chancellor designation of responsible individuals to coordinate policy 10

1.7. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Disability Accessibility Statement 10

1.8. Reasonable Accommodations: Office of Human Resources 11

1.9. ADA Employees 12

1.10. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Disability Services Mission Statement 12

1.11. Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) Program Standards 13

1.12. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (UW-L) Advisory Committee 15

1.13. Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) Code of Ethics 16

1.14. Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) Program Standards 55555

1.15. Networking with Collaborative Agencies 12

Section 2. Federal Laws and Legal Precedents Pertinent to Disability Services 17

2.1. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 17

2.2. Postsecondary School Provision of Auxiliary Aids _ 17

2.3. Americans with Disabilities Act – 1990_ 18

2.4. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 19

2.5. Confidentiality 19

2.6. Legal Implications: Individual Needs 19

2.7. Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) 22

2.8. OCR’s Complaint Procedure22

Section 3. Documentation of Disabilities 27

3.1. Purpose of Documentation 27

3.2. Specific Learning Disabilities 27

3.3. Physical and Systemic Illness 27

3.4. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD) 29

3.5. Physical and Systemic Illness 29

3.6. Psychiatric/Psychological Disorders 29

3.7. Hidden Disabilities 30

Section 4. Disabilities: Characteristics and Reasonable Accommodations 30

4.1.          Etiquette and Disabilities 33

4.2.          Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 33

4.3. Blind/Impaired Vision 35

4.4. Closed Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury 39

4.5. Deaf/Impaired Hearing 40

4.6. Hidden Disabilities 43

4.7. Orthopedic/Mobility 46

4.8. Psychiatric/Psychological Disorders 48

4.9. Specific Learning Disabilities 50

4.10. Temporary Medical Condition 53

4.11. Tips for Faculty that Facilitate Student Learning 54

4.12. University of La Crosse Emergency Response Policy 56

Section 5. Access to the University_ 56

5.1. Activities: Theatre, guest speakers. 56

5.2. Admissions, Readmissions, and Registration 57

5.3. Advising – Academic 57

5.4. Advising – Disability Resource Services 66

5.5. Attitudinal Accessibility 66

5.6. Bookstore 72

5.7. Continuing Education 72

5.8. Counseling and Testing Center 72

5.9. Emergency Procedure 72

5.10. Facilities: Buildings and Other 75

5.11. Financial Aid_ 77

5.12. Inclement Weather 77

5.13. Insurance 77

5.14. Library 77

5.15. Physical Education, Athletics and Related Activities 78

5.16. Public Safety 78

5.17. Publication of Disability Services and Other Information 78

5.18. Recruitment 79

5.19. Residence Halls 79

5.20. Scholarships 80

5.21. Student Conduct 81

5.22. Student Employment 83

5.23. Student Health Center 83

5.24. Student Organizations 83

5.25. Student Support Services 84

5.26. Transportation 85

5.27. TTD and Other Technology Locations 86

5.28. University Career Services 87

Section 6. Access to Academic Services 87

6.1. Qualifying for Services 87

6.2. Disability Certification Letter for Faculty 88

6.3. Alternative Testing 88

6.4. Assistive Technology 90

6.5. Audio-Taped Lectures 93

6.6. Faculty Liaison 93

6.7. Interpreting Services 93

6.8. Large Print 96

6.9. Library Assistance 96

6.10. Note-Taking Assistance 96

6.11. Off-Campus Facilities/Internships/Student Teaching 98

6.12. Personal Attendant 98

6.13. Readers/Scribe/Typist 98

6.14. Registration 98

6.15. Substitutions/Waivers 100

6.16. Texts-Alternative Format 100

6.17. Tutor Services 108

6.18. Absences/Incompletes

6.19         Reduced Course Load Procedures

Section 7. Student Responsibilities Summarized_ 110

7.1. Responsibilities 110

Section 8. Faculty Responsibilities Summarized_ 111

8.1. Responsibilities 111

Section 9. Institutional/Disability Services Responsibilities Summarized_ 112

9.1. University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Responsibilities 112

Section 10. Service Animals 113

10.1. Definitions 113

Section 11. Universal Design Accessibility 113

11.1. Universal Design for Learning 113

11.2. Who benefits from universal design 113

Section 12. Web Accessibility 113

Section 13. Distance Learning_ 114

13.1. Documentation 114

Section 14. Graduate Programs 114

14.1. Graduate Program Students 114

Section 15. Grievance/Appeal Procedures 114

15.1. Grievance – Internal 114

15.2. Grievance – External/OCR Complaints 117

Section 16. Disability Service Evaluations 117

16.1. Faculty Evaluation of Services 117

16.2. Student Evaluation of Services 117

16.3. Disability Services Evaluation of Access 117

Section 17. Suggested References 118

Section 18. Glossary of Terms 119



Section 1.        Introduction


1.1.            Purpose of Policies and Procedures

Disability Services---Policies and Procedures Manual is designed to assist students, faculty and staff by providing recognized procedures for assuring students with disabilities receive equal access to the university’s services and programs. There are a number of reasons why written policies and procedures are critical. Development and adherence to written policies/procedures help to demonstrate a good faith effort on the part of the institution to meet its responsibilities to persons with disabilities in an equitable and consistent manner. Review of written policies and procedures can help to identify gaps in the existing compliance mechanism. Policy/procedures that clearly assign authority and responsibility for action help to protect institutional personnel who are operating within the scope of that assigned responsibility. Such documentation also assists individuals with disabilities by detailing the actions they must take to initiate a request for accommodation/support and the protections provided within the system for assuring access.


1.2.            University of Wisconsin System Mission

Each institution of the University of Wisconsin system shares in the mission of the system.


The mission of this System is to develop human resources, to discover and disseminate knowledge, to extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses, and to serve and stimulate society by developing in students heightened intellectual, cultural, and human sensitivities; scientific, professional, and technological expertise; and a sense of value and purpose. Inherent in this mission are methods of instruction, research, extended education and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition. Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.


1.3.            University of Wisconsin Board of Regents Policy Statement

Guidelines for the Implementation of the University of Wisconsin System Policy on Individuals with Disabilities

This document has been developed by the University of Wisconsin System President's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues and UW System Administration to guide institutions in implementing the Board of Regent's Policy 96-6, "Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability." The Policy is shown in italics; implementation guidelines for a specific section follow that section in bold type. Questions regarding the guidelines should be directed to the UW System Office of Academic Affairs.


The University of Wisconsin System is committed to making individuals with disabilities full participants in its programs, services and activities through its compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The Board of Regents recognizes that individuals with disabilities may need accommodations to have equally effective opportunities to participate in or benefit from the university's programs, services and activities.

It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall be denied access to or participation in any program, service, or activity offered by the universities. Individuals with disabilities have a right to request accommodations. Individuals will receive appropriate accommodations to their needs in order to fully participate in or benefit from the university's programs, services and activities in a non-discriminatory, integrated setting.

The University of Wisconsin System and any of its agents shall not coerce, intimidate, retaliate against or discriminate against any individual for exercising a right under the ADA or Section 504, or for assisting or supporting another to exercise a right under the ADA or Section 504.

The University of Wisconsin System will not give significant assistance to an agency, organization, or person that discriminates on the basis of disability in providing any aid, benefit or service to beneficiaries of the university's programs.

This policy applies to students, program participants, visitors, and guests of UW System institutions.


1. Disability means, with respect to an individual:

(a) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the person's major life activities;

Physical and mental impairments, as well as major life activities, are fairly well defined throughout case law and administrative decisions. In guidelines published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), "major life activities" are defined as "functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working." The effects of learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, and various psychiatric disorders on "learning and working" form the basis for considering affected individuals disabled under the law.

The parameters of "substantially limiting" are the most difficult aspect of determining eligibility under the definition of disability. There are no established criteria available for referencing whether a condition is in fact "substantially limiting." The ADA says that a disability is substantially limiting if a person is unable to perform a major life activity that the average person can perform or is significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which he or she can perform the activity. A "disability" exists only where an impairment "substantially limits" a major life activity, not where it "might," "could," or "would" be substantially limiting if corrective measures were not taken. Second, because the ADA requires that disabilities be evaluated "with respect to an individual" and be determined based on whether an impairment substantially limits the individual's "major life activities," the question whether a person has a disability under the ADA requires an individual answer. Each situation must be evaluated independently, and in light of the available facts. Functional limitations imposed by the impairment can serve as a guide in determining a substantial limitation. Since each case must be considered individually, mitigating circumstances (i.e., conditions that modify the extent or character of the impairment, e.g. medication) must be considered in determining whether an individual has a disability.

(b) a history of such an impairment; or

The intent of this condition is not to suggest that because an individual has a history of

impairment, he or she is currently eligible under the law. Rather ADA, as a civil rights

law, has the intent of ensuring that someone having a history of a disability is not discriminated against because of that disability. For example, someone with a history of major depression would be covered under the law to the extent that an academic program or employer could not use the depression as a reason for not admitting or hiring the individual.

(c) being regarded as having such an impairment.

An important goal of the third element of the disability definition is to ensure that persons with medical conditions that are under control, and that therefore do not currently limit major life activities, are not discriminated against on the basis of their medical conditions. An individual who is disfigured may not have any specific substantial limitations; however, others may perceive him or her to be disabled. Survivors of cancer also may be perceived as limited and thus disabled. Being previously regarded as disabled does not, in of itself, qualify anyone as being currently disabled.

2. A Qualified Individual with a Disability is someone who (with or without accommodations) meets the essential eligibility requirements for participating in programs, services, and activities provided by the university.

Students are qualified if they satisfy the essential eligibility requirements for participating in a program, service, or activity supported by the university with or without accommodation. Those requirements must be appropriate and defensible. The university does not have an obligation to admit an unqualified applicant to any program or discipline. A visitor or guest is qualified, and thus has a right to reasonable accommodation, if he or she satisfies the requirements for eligibility. For example, if eligibility for admission to a college theatrical production is predicated on possession of a ticket, then a person with a disability requesting accommodations would be otherwise qualified. On the other hand, if individuals must audition to attend a music camp, a person with a disability would also be required to audition provided that the requirement is deemed an essential eligibility requirement.

3. Accommodation means adjustments including reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices: environmental adjustments such as the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers; or auxiliary aids and services. Examples of accommodations include, but are not limited to: alternative testing, extended time, scribe, interpreter, environment free of distractions, brailled material, taped lectures, and computer-assisted instruction.

Most of the examples given in the policy are specific to auxiliary aids and services. There are, however, other adjustments that can be made. For instance, it may generally be allowable for a faculty member to deny students permission to tape lectures or for the campus to prohibit the presence of animals in buildings; however, denying a student with a disability an appropriate accommodation, for example the right to tape lectures or the right to have a service animal in the classroom, is impermissible. (Board of Regent Policy 77-5 provides that the student may be required to sign an agreement that they will not release the tape recording or transcript to others.)

4. Essential Eligibility Requirement means the academic or other technical standards required for admission to or participation in the university's programs, services, or activities which an individual must be able to meet with or without accommodation,


Universities need to exercise caution when determining whether an individual meets the essential eligibility requirements for an academic program. Prior to doing so, they must make certain the eligibility requirements, both academic and technical, are clearly articulated, necessary, and enforced in an equitable manner. Institutions and units are strongly encouraged to review eligibility requirements published in catalogues and program notices.

5. Individual means any person applying for admission to or participation in a program, service or activity of the university, or any person currently participating in a program, service or activity of the university.

For the purposes of this document the term, individual, refers to students, visitors and guests. It does not include employees. In cases where students are also employees, employment policies apply.


1. UW System Administration:

The President of The University of Wisconsin System shall appoint and maintain an Advisory Committee to provide information and recommendations relating to individuals with disabilities.
The President of the University of Wisconsin System shall designate a person or office to be a resource to the President's Advisory Committee, to act as a liaison to other agencies, and to assure that each institution has developed the procedures required by this policy.
System Administration shall develop operational guidelines for implementing this policy.

These guidelines need to be reviewed and, where necessary, revised on a regular basis. In doing so, there should be broad representation from related areas.

2. UW Institutions:

a. Each Chancellor shall appoint an advisory committee, including students, to provide information and recommendations responsive to the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities.

Each campus should, in writing, clarify and make known the composition and role of its advisory committee. Committees should meet regularly, keep minutes, and be composed of faculty, staff and students. Committees should submit annual reports to the chancellor.

b. Each Chancellor shall designate one or more individuals to coordinate its efforts to comply with and fulfill its responsibilities under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 and to investigate any complaints alleging the institution's non-compliance with Title II of the ADA and Section 504.

The role of the 504/ADA coordinator should be clearly defined and consistent with the campus organizational structure. The functions of the office serving as a resource on disability issues and determining accommodations should be separated from the individual or office responsible for investigating complaints of noncompliance with the ADA or Section 504. Because the ADA coordinator may be expected to investigate complaints, it may be a conflict of interest if the ADA coordinator is expected to also provide guidance to university staff and faculty. ADA coordinators should not be in the position of evaluating their own advice or guidance in the process of investigating a complaint.

c. Each institution shall adopt and make readily available in suitable formats (e.g., enlarged print, Braille, audio-taped):

(i) a procedure which allows an individual, including both prospective and current students, to disclose a disabling condition and request accommodations believed needed to obtain equal access to and participation in university programs, services and activities;

Universities should provide prospective students with information on how to request accommodations so that they may do so as early as possible. Because pre-admission inquiries regarding disabilities are prohibited, the application does not present an opportunity to self-disclose. Therefore, campuses may wish to include information on disability-related services in their mailings and communiqués to students. This information needs to clearly articulate the proper procedure for requesting accommodations. This procedure should be in writing and widely distributed.

(ii) a procedure for confirming an individual's disability and assessing the appropriateness of the requested accommodations;

The first step in confirming an individual's disability is having documentation criteria. Unless a program specifies what is acceptable documentation, it cannot accurately assess whether or not the materials submitted by a student are, in fact, acceptable. The criteria should state the following as a minimum:

  1. The documents must be prepared by an appropriate, treating professional;


  2. Documents must be relevant and appropriately recent to support the accommodation requested;


  3. Documents must address the functional limitations proscribed by the impairment;


  4. A specific diagnosis must be provided;


  5. The level of severity must be indicated;


  6. The major life activities limited by the impairment must be noted; and


  7. how, if applicable, the impairment affects learning in higher education.

Documentation criteria should state that students are responsible for submitting comprehensive disability documentation. If students provide incomplete documentation, the university has the right to require additional supporting materials satisfying the stated documentation criteria. If the documentation is complete but the program questions its validity, the university may ask the student to participate in a second-opinion assessment at the university's expense.

Assessment of requested accommodations includes the following: (i) a review of the documentation, (ii) consideration of the student's expressed needs, (iii) a review of prior service use, (iv) professional judgment, and (v) consideration of the academic program's specific characteristics. Accommodations may not fundamentally alter the nature of the academic program or cause an undue administrative or financial burden.


(iii) a procedure for sharing, storing and protecting confidential medical information

Universities shall have written policies and procedures for sharing, storing and protecting confidential information; students and the academic community must be informed of these procedures. Student records relating to the nature of a disability should be kept separate from the normal educational record and should be consolidated at a single location, such as the Disabled Student Services office (DSS). Records pertaining to an accommodation of a disability are typically education records under FERPA. Accordingly, they can be shared with appropriate university personnel on a need-to-know basis. Only in rare circumstances should the actual disability documentation be shared with individuals outside of the DSS office. Before sharing disability documentation, DSS staff may wish to seek a legal opinion.

(iv) a procedure for providing accommodations.

Procedures for providing accommodations must be in writing and widely distributed. They should include the role and responsibilities of the student, Disabled Student Services (DSS) and others in the institution and address both academic and extracurricular areas.

d. Each institution shall maintain data on the nature and extent of the services provided to individuals with disabilities. System Administration will develop data collection requirements as part of the operational guidelines for implementing this policy.

Institutions must follow UW System's operational guidelines for collecting data and reporting information. Copies are available from the UW System Office of Academic Affairs. In addition, institutions should maintain data on requests for accommodation and what their responses to those requests have been.

e. Each institution shall provide accommodations to allow individuals with disabilities to participate in or benefit from the university and its programs, services and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate.

Laws applicable to this policy intend to assure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to the same opportunities as their peers without disabilities. To this extent, institutions are instructed to provide services and activities in the most appropriate integrated setting. For example, students needing attendant care should not be automatically excluded from a university's roommate assignment program. In the same vein, creating a separate computer lab for students with disabilities rather than modifying existing labs to make them accessible is not appropriate under this provision.

f. Each institution shall adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action that would violate Title II of the ADA or Section 504. These procedures should be applicable to any anticipated complaint, including an appeal of a denied accommodation request.


One of the most common errors institutions make in implementing the ADA is not having a thorough and formal grievance and appeal process for students. The Office of Civil Rights has concluded that institutions, while coming to a reasonable conclusion regarding requests for accommodations, violated the students' rights by not adopting and publishing formal grievance procedures for resolving disability related complaints.

Campuses may use existing appeals and grievance procedures for resolving disputes, or they may establish separate procedures for disability related issues. Denials of requests for accommodation should never be made unilaterally.

g. An institution will not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures that are required to comply with the provisions of Section 504 and the ADA.

Institutions may not levy surcharges for accommodations or services that are mandated under Section 504 and the ADA. This does not prohibit colleges from charging for optional services of a personal nature such as tutoring, attendant care, or physical therapy provided the charges are comparable to

those paid by other students. Additionally, colleges charging students for parking may also assess students with disabilities for accessible parking provided that the charges are comparable to those paid by other students.

h. An institution will provide funding for auxiliary aids while an individual's application for funding by other agencies is being reviewed.

Institutions have the responsibility for ensuring that qualified individuals with disabilities receive the necessary auxiliary aids (e.g., interpreting, note-taking, and reading) for obtaining equal access to educational opportunities.

Even if the student is a client of DVR, the institution must pay for and provide services if DVR declines to provide funding. Furthermore, institutions may not require students to apply for funding from other agencies. Institutions are encouraged to develop relationships with local DVR offices and to make appropriate referrals whenever possible.

i. Each institution shall provide periodic in-service training for faculty and staff to develop their awareness and understanding of the needs of individuals with disabilities and legal compliance issues.

Campuses are encouraged to use existing opportunities to provide in-service training for faculty and staff. Because people tend not to want information until they need it, establishing training mechanisms that provide information in a timely and convenient fashion is most effective. For example, developing a comprehensive Web page may be as valuable as scheduling a series of lunch discussions.

3. Individuals with Disabilities:

a. Each individual is responsible for making timely and complete disclosures and specific requests regarding accommodations to meet his or her particular needs in order to enable the UW institution to provide an appropriate response. It is strongly recommended that requests for accommodations be made at least eight weeks prior to the date they would be needed to avoid delays which could affect participation in a program, service, or activity.


Students seeking accommodation have an obligation to disclose disabilities, to provide documentation, and to make requests for accommodation as provided in the published policies of the institution. The more thorough the documentation, and the more timely the request, the easier it is to respond effectively. Sometimes students do not provide adequate documentation, or do not make timely requests. However, it is unwise for universities to reject requests for accommodations simply because they are submitted late. The recommendation that requests be made at least eight weeks in advance is a suggestion intended to avoid delays. However, the eight-week notice should not be construed as a requirement. For one-time events, such as lectures or professional development courses, an eight-week notice is unreasonable. Clearly, a student needing interpreters for 15 credits is prudent to submit requests as far in advance as possible to ensure participation.

Institutions should accept any request for accommodation, even a last minute request, and give it ample consideration.

b. Each individual seeking accommodations based on a disability shall demonstrate initiative in obtaining and arranging accommodations. If requested, institutions will assist an individual in making the necessary applications for funding from other agencies.

The University recognizes that persons participating in the programs, services, and activities of the University may be seeking assistance and accommodations from federal, state, and local agencies beyond those that the University is required to provide. The Coordinators of Services for Students with Disabilities or other institutional designee should make reasonable efforts to assist those individuals seeking support from these other agencies. It is recommended that on-going relationships should be developed with local agencies to facilitate this interaction.

c. Each individual is required to submit documentation verifying his or her disability. Individuals submitting incomplete information may be asked to provide additional verifying documentation. Individuals may be required to participate in additional evaluations needed to determine the individual's eligibility for an accommodation or what constitutes an appropriate accommodation.

Universities cannot predict which students have disabilities and/or need accommodations. Thus, the obligation falls on the student to notify the institution and to provide adequate documentation. It is incumbent upon students to indicate a need for auxiliary aids, services and/or accommodations. Students may not understand all the ramifications of how a disability may impact their education. Institutions therefore have a duty to provide information on available services and to evaluate a student's needs beyond merely responding to requests. For example, a student may discuss a need for note-taking due to a hearing loss but may be unaware of the availability of assistive listening systems.

d. The university shall not require an individual with a disability to accept an accommodation, aid, service, opportunity, or benefit under any circumstances.

Institutions have decision-making authority in determining reasonable accommodations; however, they cannot impose particular accommodations. In the area of communications, the ADA specifically requires entities to strongly consider individual preferences.


However, if the requested accommodation does not relate to communication, the institution is permitted greater discretion in determining the form of the accommodation. See also section V.4, pages 13-15.

e. Students with disabilities are expected to abide by the student conduct code in the same manner as all students.

Disability law focuses on equal opportunity, not preferential treatment. On occasion, individuals with a disability may suggest they are exempt from normal societal obligations due to the impact of a disabling condition. Generally, this is not true. For example, a student with Tourette's Syndrome who repeatedly blurts out obscenities in class may be otherwise qualified to participate in the academic environment; however, if the outbursts are so undisciplined as to disrupt the instructor's ability to conduct class, then it may be legal and fair to require the student to withdraw. The issue is whether or not the outbursts truly "disrupt" the class. If they are occasional and annoying, the student may be qualified.

Another example: Students with a mental illness are expected to follow the same established codes of conduct other students must. Focus should be on behaviors, not diagnosis. If a student’s behavior is in violation of established campus conduct codes, he or she should be treated the same as other students, regardless of the presence of a disability. A mental health condition is not a defense for inappropriate behavior. Institutions are encouraged to take health conditions under consideration when reviewing conduct violations.


1. Existing Facilities:

a. Structural changes in existing facilities are not required when other methods provide program accessibility. Existing facilities shall be made readily accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities, through such means as:

Redesigning equipment or the facility after case review.
Providing appropriate signage.

(iii) Reassigning classes, staff, or services to accessible sites.

(iv) Delivering health, advisory, and support services at accessible sites.

Not every entry to a facility needs to be accessible to make the building as a whole accessible. Structural changes are not necessary if other methods provide program access.

Questions often center on what "other methods" might be used to provide program accessibility. Increasingly, distance learning technologies provide an alternative; however, such alternate methods should not be restricted to students with disabilities, nor should they result in the segregation of students with disabilities. Additionally, there may be more than one way of providing access. For example, a student who is deaf or hearing impaired may be provided with interpreting services for a theatre production, access to a wireless sound system, or even a play script, if the person lip-reads. The important issue is the quality of the experience and students' participation in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.


If there is a long-standing access problem with a facility, best efforts should be made to initiate needed structural changes to accommodate students with disabilities.

Students may not be excluded from a specifically requested course offering, program or other activity because it is not offered in an accessible location. However, every section of a course, program or activity need not be accessible.

Institutions should develop a mechanism for regularly reviewing access problems on campus and for identifying feasible solutions. As noted below, these studies should be integrated into campus planning processes.

b. Remodeling projects which affect the usability of a facility or any part of a facility shall, to the maximum extent feasible, be completed in such a manner that the facility is readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

Campuses should involve DSS coordinators, students with disabilities and other knowledgeable persons in the physical planning process. State-funded remodeling projects will bring facilities to code and afford disability access, but there should be an opportunity for the perspectives and needs of users with disabilities to be considered. Institutional remodeling projects must be designed and built so that they and their elements are accessible to students with disabilities.

c. Evacuation procedures shall be developed by each institution for individuals with disabilities.

Institutions must have a written, building-specific plan that describes procedures for evacuating persons with disabilities. Its development should involve emergency agencies (fire/police), campus security, cleaning staff, etc. The plan must outline who has responsibility for evacuating individuals with disabilities. The plan must be periodically updated with the physical plant and emergency personnel involved. It must be regularly disseminated and available to users of each building. Regular staff training in evacuation procedures should be provided; for example, residence hall staff should be trained annually.

2. New Construction: Each facility or part of a facility constructed by, on behalf of, or for the use of the university must be designed and constructed in such a manner that the facility is readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

New construction must conform to the American with Disabilities Act Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). Campuses should involve persons knowledgeable about the needs and interests of students with disabilities in the planning process.

3. Off Campus: Contractual or lease agreements for the use of off-campus facilities should reflect efforts to secure accessibility. Any program, service, or activity in that facility must be accessible.

Outreach activities frequently provide classes, programs and events in private facilities. Institutions should not enter into leases for inaccessible space. Contractual agreements should address any issues of facility access under ADA, and registration materials should provide individuals the opportunity to state their need for accommodation (access, large print, interpreters, etc.). Every opportunity should be given for individuals to request accommodation well in advance, though it is once again emphasized that last-minute requests should not be arbitrarily denied.


1. Admissions or Enrollment:

a. No information regarding an applicant's disability may be solicited to determine admission to the university. However, such inquiries may be made after an individual has been admitted for purposes of providing appropriate accommodations.

A qualified individual with a disability is someone who (with or without accommodations) meets the essential eligibility requirements for participation. An institution or program may not make any inquiry regarding possible disabilities prior to making an admission decision. However, institutions and programs must have processes in place to assure that all admitted students are informed of the procedures for disclosing disabilities and requesting accommodations.

If applicants for admission include materials regarding a disability with their applications, these unsolicited materials should not be weighed in the admission decision.

Institutions and programs may have a process in place to reconsider individuals not initially admitted who may have special circumstances - including disabilities. The process may include the review of any additional solicited and unsolicited materials by individuals with the expertise to evaluate those materials, for example, Disabilities Services staff. Only individuals who upon further review are deemed to meet the essential eligibility requirements should be admitted. Note: confidential documents relating to disabilities should not remain in admissions files.

Institutions and programs should exercise caution in determining that an individual does not satisfy the essential eligibility requirements of a program. Prior to doing so, they must make certain that the requirements, both academic and technical, are clearly articulated, necessary, and routinely enforced.

b. The number or proportion of individuals with disabilities who will be admitted or enrolled may not be limited solely on the basis of disability.

No quota may be established related to individuals with disabilities.

c. Tests administered for purposes of admission, enrollment, or placement may not discriminate. See section on testing which follows.

2. Testing:

a. Before tests are selected and administered campuses first should confirm that assessments do not discriminate by ensuring that:

Tests are selected and administered so that the results reflect aptitude or achievement level, or whatever other factor the test purports to measure, rather than the applicant's disability, unless the existence of a disability must be determined to allow an individual access to a program, services or activity established for individuals with disabilities.


The tests administered to individuals with disabilities are available as regularly and in as timely a manner as are other admissions tests. The individual is responsible for making special needs known in a timely manner.


For the purposes of the University of Wisconsin System Policy on Individuals with Disabilities, Section V.2 (Testing) refers to tests or assessments used in determining eligibility for academic programs. These include, but are not limited to: SAT, ACT, ORE, MCAT, LSAT, TOEFL, Journalism Usage Test, English or math placement tests, and foreign language placement exams.

An example of a test measuring an applicant's disability rather than their aptitude or achievement could be an individual using adaptive equipment being given a timed test. Use of adaptive equipment often requires the student be given more time to complete the exam. Thus, results of a timed exam would reflect the applicant's disability more than his or her aptitude.

Another example: one-third of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) measures listening comprehension; it might be discriminatory when administered in full to a deaf applicant. Evaluating the deaf applicant on two-thirds of the exam may be a reasonable accommodation.

In order to qualify an applicant for a specialized LD program, a neurological examination intended to determine the presence of a learning disability would be an example of a test measuring an individual's disability that is allowable.

Placement or other comparable exams need to be offered to applicants with disabilities in the same manner and frequency as they are offered to non-disabled students. For example, if standard placement tests were offered only on Saturdays, every effort should be made to schedule the accommodated exam at a similar date and time. As always, the individual is responsible for making accommodation requests. Establishing reasonable deadlines is allowable.

Standardized testing services like ACT are covered under Title III, Public Accommodations of ADA, and therefore must provide accommodations for their tests.

Current issues in respect to standardized testing include: a) whether applicants can be required to test or if qualifying factors merit a waiver; b) what are the appropriate accommodations for standardized tests; and c) should scores be flagged when reported to institutions? Because regulating agencies and the courts continue to struggle with these issues, disability services staff are advised to seek guidance from university counsel when making recommendations for accommodation.

Institutions offering computer based tests and Web-based tests must assure that they are accessible.

3. Off campus Activities: If a program is not wholly operated by the university but requires student participation (for example, internships, co-op, and student teaching assignments), the institution shall attempt to assure that these activities, as a whole, provide an equal opportunity for the participation of individuals with disabilities.

Prospective enrollees for UW Extension and university outreach programs are responsible for making requests for any special modifications or auxiliary aids. Registration forms and program announcements must allow applicants to identify special needs and request accommodations.

Institutions should have written policies and procedures to ensure equal opportunity for the participation of individuals with disabilities in all off campus activities such as internship placements, study abroad programs, student teaching assignments and other external programs. These procedures should include the elements outlined in the policy (see Part III: Responsibilities, 2: UW Institutions, sections c (i) - how to request accommodations; (ii) - confirming disabilities; (iii) - protecting confidential medical information; and (iv) - providing accommodations).

Contracts with external partners should specify who is responsible for assuring accessibility and providing accommodations. The institution should make clear who is responsible for assuring that programs outside the United States are as accessible as is feasible for participating students. Ensuring equal opportunity means that programs must be accessible when viewed as a whole. For instance, a professional internship is required for students to complete a degree. Must every business location used for internship placement be accessible? Not if the type of business opportunity is available in other locations that are accessible, and students with disabilities have choices. Students with disabilities must not be segregated.

Student teaching is a required part of teaching degree programs. If the program (e.g., elementary education, a magnet school or special education program) is available in multiple locations, not all buildings need be accessible. On the other hand, if the majority of buildings in a school district are inaccessible, or an inaccessible building has a program that is not available in another location, institutions should request accessibility enhancements or not use them for student placement.

All registration forms, program announcements and application materials should state

that reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request and indicate how an

individual may request an accommodation. Institutions are encouraged to develop a

standard format or template of language to be included on such materials.

4. Accommodations:

a. ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS - Academic requirements shall be modified as necessary, so that they do not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities.

Institutions are advised to review course and degree requirements thoroughly and carefully to ensure that such requirements are essential. Requirements should be in writing, communicated clearly to all students and available in alternative format.

b. PROGRAM EXAMINATIONS AND EVALUATIONS-Examinations or other procedures for evaluating an individual's academic achievements should where necessary, be adapted to permit evaluating the achievement of individuals who have a disability, rather than reflecting the individual's disability.

It is the student's responsibility to request test accommodations as soon as possible, preferably at the beginning of the program/course according to the procedures outlined by the institution. Testing accommodations are individually determined, based on documentation, and may include but not be limited to:

  • enlarged materials • oral test
  • taped test
  • extended time
  • reader
  • environment with minimal distractions
  • preferential seating (front, etc.)
  • alternate format
  • writer, scribe
  • computer-assisted
  • Brailled material

Modifications should not affect the substance of educational programs or compromise educational standards, nor should they intrude upon legitimate academic freedom. Modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirements (including credit load), substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degrees, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted. For example, a campus may permit an otherwise qualified student who is deaf to substitute an appropriate history, international education, or cultural studies class for a general education foreign language requirement. However, academic requirements that are essential to programs of instruction or to any directly related licensing requirement (e.g., licensing for physical therapy or nursing) need not be waived.

Testing accommodations may be provided by the instructor/faculty member or at an alternative-testing site (e.g., disability services unit, testing center, etc.) Testing accommodations should not, however, change the substance of the test, lower applicable academic standards, or otherwise compromise the integrity of the program.

c. ACADEMIC SUPPORT SERVICES-- No participant with a disability in a university program or activity shall be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be otherwise discriminated against in the provision of educational support services available to all individuals in general.

Student support services such as academic and career advising, counseling and remedial or tutorial programs serve all students. In addition to these services, accommodations and educational auxiliary aids should be available for qualified students with disabilities; they may include, but need not be limited to:

  • accessible parking
  • registration assistance
  • supplemental orientation
  • reader services
  • note-taker services
  • referral to appropriate on or off campus resources, services, or agencies
  • interpreter services, assistive listening devices, or real time captioning for the deaf/hard of hearing
  • arrangements for specialized auxiliary aids for document conversion, including tapes, Brailled materials and electronic texts


Computers and other technologies that are made available for student use must be made accessible through the provision of assistive technologies. Since the Internet and Web-based courses increasingly provide educational access, they must also be usable by students with disabilities.

All auxiliary aids, services or other accommodations used by individuals with disabilities to provide access to university programs, services, and activities need not be on hand or present at all times.

Institutions should have a written plan for obtaining services in a timely manner. For example, readers need not be available in libraries at all times if an adequate schedule for readers' services is established, and a Braille library need not be maintained if Brailled materials can be obtained as needed in a timely manner. Again, it is the responsibility of the student to request the necessary accommodation or auxiliary aid and to do so in a timely manner as well in advance as possible. Although students may not be denied an accommodation if advance notice is not given, provision of services may not be as prompt or timely as it can be with advance notice requests. Institutions should put suggested time frames in writing to be included in admission/registration/disability services materials.

The university does not provide individuals with disabilities with personal devices or assistance for personal use, including but not limited to wheelchairs, eye glasses, hearing aids, personal assistance for eating or dressing, or readers for personal use.

Additionally, personal computers and tutors (unless available to all students) are not required. Although not required to provide personal devices, the institution may provide assistance through referral to community agencies, services and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Prohibition against the use of tape recorders or Braille’s in classrooms, or service animals in campus buildings, or other rules that have the effect of limiting the participation of qualified students in educational programs or activities may not be imposed. Students or participants in university programs or activities may be required to sign an agreement that they will not release tape recordings or transcription of lectures, or otherwise hinder the ability of a professor to obtain a copyright (see Regent Resolution 77-5).

Accommodations shall not fundamentally alter the nature of the program, service, or activity; require waiver of essential program or licensure requirements; violate accreditation requirements; unnecessarily intrude on academic freedom; or pose an undue fiscal or administrative burden on the institution.

Though substitutions may be granted to qualified individuals and academic requirements modified to ensure non-discrimination, institutions are not mandated to waive program or licensure requirements or in anyway fundamentally alter a program or service. It is critical that institutions, as a part of curricular revisions and reviews, regularly consider course requirements, technical standards, and programs to ensure that all requirements are in writing, essential, and can be substantiated.


The university retains authority in determining appropriate accommodations after giving consideration to the wishes of the individual, the documentation provided, and institutional expertise in working with individuals with disabilities.

Since final authority regarding the determination of appropriate accommodations rests with each institution and its chief executive officer, it is incumbent on the institution to have available, staff who are well-trained, experienced, and knowledgeable regarding disability and legal requirements. In making accommodations and accessibility decisions, campuses are urged to consider their specific circumstances, the experience of other postsecondary institutions (including UWS institutions), legal advice and legal precedents. Also see III.3.d, page 8.

5. Physical Education, Athletics, and Related Activities:

Each institution shall require that all physical education courses, intercollegiate and intramural athletics, and related activities, taken as a whole, provide an equal opportunity for the participation of qualified individuals with a disability. Individuals who cannot participate in standard physical education courses or compete in athletic programs with or without accommodation because of a disability may be offered alternates that are separate or different, provided that the programs and activities are operated in the most integrated setting appropriate. If accommodations are not possible in a required course, a procedure for requesting a substitution should be available.

Students should not be excluded from a physical education program if they have a disability that might require an accommodation or adaptation of the class, e.g., a student in a wheelchair could not be denied the opportunity to enroll in a regular archery course, nor a deaf student be excluded from participating in a wrestling course. There should not be an automatic waiver in physical education courses, athletics and related activities because a student has a physical or sensory disability. Students with disabilities should be encouraged to fully participate in an integrated setting in physical education, as well as intercollegiate and intramural athletics.

6. Insurance:

For institutions which provide insurance plans and health services, the university shall afford these benefits to qualified persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with ADA. A student health center must provide the same types and levels of service for all students, non-disabled and disabled. In addition, student health centers should be prepared to provide individuals with disabilities with information about where specialized health services may be obtained, if these services are not provided at the center.

If an institution endorses supplementary insurance, it needs to review the policy to ensure it does not place limits on health services to students with disabilities. Institutions may not endorse any health plans that discriminate.

7. Housing:

ON-CAMPUS HOUSING-Where a university provides on-campus housing/food services, it shall provide comparable, convenient, and accessible services at the same cost to individuals with disabilities.
OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING-Where a listing of private off-campus housing is provided by any university office, it should identify those units that are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

It is important that the university include instructions for requesting accommodations on its housing contract. There should also be open communication between the office providing services for students with disabilities and residence halls to ensure that requested accommodations are completed in a timely fashion. The food contracts should be written so that there is an opportunity to indicate special dietary restrictions for qualified individuals with a disability. Students with disabilities should participate in the roommate arrangement process in the same manner as all students.

8. Financial Aid:

Financial aid awards may take into account the special needs of individuals with disabilities. Adjustments to awards as allowed by the rules or regulations governing the financial aid program may be made by the financial aid service.

There should be communication between Disability Services and the Financial Aid office to assure that students with disabilities who need to take a reduced credit load because of that disability are not penalized for it. When the disability causes the student to take less than a full load, there should be a mechanism that will assure the student receives benefits provided to students without disabilities (e.g., housing, access to recreational facilities on campus). If a reduced load is taken, the financial awards are required to be adjusted to comply with federal regulations.

9. Student Employment:

The University of Wisconsin System complies with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities 5Act and Section 504 so that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in institutional employment opportunities.

Student employees with disabilities are covered by the same provision that protects all employees of the UW System. Students with disabilities should be encouraged to apply for positions. To further this end, two actions are recommended: 1) guidance should be given to those who have authority to hire students regarding non-discrimination and their obligation to accommodate student employees with disabilities, and (2) students should receive information regarding their employment rights and responsibilities.

10. Advising, Counseling and Placement Services:

Institutions shall not counsel or advise qualified individuals with disabilities toward more restrictive career objectives than non-disabled individuals with similar interests. This does not preclude providing factual information about licensing and certification requirements that may present obstacles to individuals with disabilities in their pursuit of particular careers.

In-service opportunities addressing ADA and how it pertains to employment opportunities should be afforded to counselors, advisers and placement service personnel. Counselors should be able to refer students with disabilities to resources that discuss the technical standards of various professions. These resources should be available in alternative formats. Academic advising and personal counseling services should be provided to students with disabilities with the same quality and accessibility as provided to all students.

11. Social Organizations:

Before providing official recognition or assistance to fraternities, sororities, or other campus organizations, institutions shall request and obtain assurance that the organization does not permit actions prohibited by this policy.

Any recognized student organization on campus should be required to state that it does not discriminate in its bylaws, and provide information on how it handles requests for accommodations in its brochures. Any discrimination by a student organization should be subject to disciplinary action against the offending organization.

Institutions should develop written policies that delineate who bears fiscal responsibility for providing mandated accommodation in curricular, co-curricular and extra curricular settings.

Adopted by Board of Regents July 8, 1988 as UW System Policy and Guidelines Applying to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability. Amended December 6, 1996 as University of Wisconsin System Policy on Individuals with Disabilities. February 27, 2002

1.4.            University of Wisconsin – La Crosse - Philosophy

Students are the foundation of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Each student is valuable and brings a unique set of strengths and challenges to the university. Students with disabilities are no exception. While students learn in different ways and with differing styles, these differences do not imply a deficit in any student's intelligence. They may, however, result in differences in individual students' abilities to learn by various methods. Some of these differences in learning require that accommodations be made to ensure that students with different needs have equal access to the university's educational services and programs. To be successful, this process will require understanding, teamwork, and cooperation between faculty, academic staff, Disability Resource Services, and students.


It is not only federal law that qualified students with disabilities have equal access to federally funded educational opportunities, but the UW System has also mandated it, and our campus is implementing it. This manual is designed to facilitate the process of providing the mandated-and justly deserved equal access to educational opportunities to students with disabilities.


It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse that students with disabilities will receive the accommodations necessary for them to have equal access to educational opportunities and programs at the university. The successful implementation of this policy in instructional settings requires that both students and faculty understand and fulfill their respective responsibilities.


1.5.          Responsibility for Funding Reasonable Accommodations Policy

The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation act of 1973 (as amended) are federal laws, which mandate that all university programs, services and activities be fully accessible to people with disabilities. This includes students, employees (of all categories including students and contracted employees), applicants for employment or admission, and members of the public attending university events or using university facilities. Any costs associated with reasonable accommodations required by this mandate shall be the responsibility of one or more individual units, in accordance with the following guidelines:

The Disability Resource Services office is responsible for the costs directly associated with reasonable instructional accommodations for officially enrolled students.

Changes in facilities (e.g. restrooms, doors, ramps, etc.) and the removal of fixed barriers in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) will be the responsibility of the Assistant Chancellor of Administrative Services. Removal of temporary obstacles is the responsibility for the unit involved.

Financial responsibility for providing reasonable accommodations (other than general barrier removal) to employees, applicants, or public uses with disabilities belongs to the employing unit, academic unit, or unit sponsoring the public activity.

The cost of accommodation will be the responsibility of the lowest organizational level. Should this cost create an undue financial burden, the unit must apply to the next successive level as follows:

Unit Unit Representative
Department sub unit or program Supervisor
Department Dept. Chair or Director
School, College, or Division Dean or Division Head
UW-L Chancellor or designee

Among the criteria to be considered about whether a unit should have assistance in funding the accommodation from a higher-level administrative unit, is the impact on the support and expense budget that the request would represent. Decision makers may obtain advice from the ADA Coordinator. Using this process to obtain funding shall not be a reason to deny or delay providing a reasonable accommodation.


1.6.          Chancellor designation of responsible individuals to coordinate policy.

The chancellor will appoint an Americans with Disability Act coordinator, disability director, a facility accessibility director and a human resource director to address the disability/legal issues on campus.

On the UW-L campus there is an Affirmative Action/Diversity office. This office houses an ADA coordinator. This person reports directly to the chancellor and, in this capacity, provides leadership in recommending developing and implementing policies and procedures regarding all aspects of affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity, monitors compliance with these policies and procedures, and recommends corrective measures in instances of non-compliance. In addition, the Affirmative Action officer receives, reviews, and investigates complaints of discrimination.

The director of the Disability Resource Services has administrative responsibilities for the Disability Resource Services office at UW-L. The director reports to the dean of Student Development/Academic Affairs, and serves as a member of the staff to assure that all student disability services are interfaced with the institutions and division missions. The director directs all of the administration and or management of the office-serving students with disabilities. The director assures a high quality delivery of legally mandated services to diagnosed students with disabilities who identify to the office, a staff training/development program, acts as an expert and resource on disability accommodations and laws to the campus, as well as the community. The director plans and executes numerous training opportunities for the administration, faculty, staff, students and community.


The Facilities Management/Physical Plant Organization responsibility is to identify and coordinate the implementation of corrective action to address ADA deficiencies in campus facilities. The office has a list of Principles for Campus Physical Planning, which includes the following statement “Removal of Architectural Barriers-- Remove physical barriers obstructing access by physically disabled persons to university buildings and facilities. Providing a barrier-free environment is an inherent part of the planning process.”

1.7.            University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Disability Accessibility Statement

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of handicap. Ongoing efforts are being made to ensure that facilities and programs are accessible to all students with permanent or temporary disabilities. All students must present documentation (no older than three years) of their disabilities in order to receive ongoing accommodations. In some cases disability documentation could be more or less than three years (see Section 3: Documentation).

Direct student services to those with physical or learning disabilities include, but are not limited to: classroom note-takers, tutors, class pre-registration, taped textbooks, academic advising, and equipment loan. Specific requests for assistance or information should be directed to the director of the Disability Resource Services office in 165 Murphy Library.


1.8.            Reasonable Accommodations: Office of Human Resources

Katharine C. Lyall, President November, 1995


It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System Administration that qualified individuals with disabilities not be discriminated against because of their disability in regard to job application procedures, hiring, and other terms and conditions of employment. It is further the policy of System Administration to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities in all aspects of the employment process.

The University of Wisconsin System Administration is prepared to modify or adjust the job application process or the job or work environment to make reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of the applicant or employee to enable the applicant or employee to be considered for the position he or she desires, to perform the essential functions of the position in question, or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship or pose a direct threat of substantial harm to the health or safety of the applicant, employee or others.


This policy and procedures paper will be distributed to all new employees to make them aware of their right to request an accommodation.


A. The term disability means, with respect to an individual:

  1. a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;
  2. a record of such impairment; or
  3. being regarded as having such an impairment.

The following conditions are excluded from the definition of disability: homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, gender identity disorders, current psychoactive substance use disorders, and other sexual behavior disorders. For purposes of this policy, the term "disability" is used with the understanding that it has the same meaning as "handicap" in state and federal law. (See State Fair Employment Act [s. 111.32 (8)]; Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act and 45 CFR 85.3; Americans with Disabilities Act and 29 CFR 1630).

B. The term major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

C. The term qualified individual with a disability means an individual with a disability who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position such individual holds or desires, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position.

D. The term reasonable accommodation means a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, the job application process, or the way things are usually done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job and to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. Reasonable accommodation includes, but is not limited to, making facilities accessible, adjusting work schedules, restructuring jobs, providing assisting devices or equipment, providing readers or interpreters, and modifying examinations, training materials or policies.



Applicants for Employment


1. All UW System Administration position announcements will contain the statement, "It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System Administration to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with a disability who are applicants for employment or employees."

  1. Each applicant invited for an interview shall again be informed of the University of Wisconsin System Administration policy requiring reasonable accommodations to be provided in the hiring process.
  2. All applicants should make requests for accommodations through the contact person as identified in the vacancy announcement. When requested by an applicant with a disability, the University of Wisconsin System Administration is prepared to modify or adjust the job application process to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of the applicant to enable the applicant to be considered for the position he/she desires.
  3. Each applicant is responsible for making timely and complete disclosures and specific requests regarding accommodations to meet his or her particular needs in order to enable System Administration to provide an appropriate response. It is strongly recommended that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible to avoid delays in providing reasonable accommodations.
  4. An interviewer may not ask an applicant whether or not he/she has a disability. This includes both physical and psychological disabilities. If the applicant volunteers information about a disability, the interviewer shall not ask any questions relating to the nature or extent of the disability or whether treatment will be necessary.
  5. With respect to the ability to perform required job duties, an interviewer may ask each applicant whether or not he/she is able to perform the essential functions of the job applied for with or without reasonable accommodation.


If an applicant indicates in response to such an inquiry that he/she can perform the essential functions of the job but does not volunteer comment on the need for accommodation, then no inquiry shall be made about the need for an accommodation.
If, however, the applicant indicates in response to such an inquiry that he/she can perform the essential functions of the job and does volunteer the need for an accommodation, the interviewer may ask the applicant how he/she will perform the essential functions of the position and what accommodation will be necessary.
Current Employees or Applicants Offered Jobs
  1. To request a reasonable accommodation, an employee or applicant offered a job is required to submit a written statement to the UW System Administration ADA coordinator. The written statement must identify the nature of the claimed physical or mental disability, identify the functional limitations with respect to the disability, and identify the requested accommodation(s).


  2. An individual who identifies him/herself as having a disability and requests a reasonable accommodation may be required to provide documentation, including medical records, sufficient to establish the existence of the claimed physical or mental impairment and the need for accommodation. The information should be appropriately current and have been prepared by a qualified professional. The employee or applicant offered a job must bear the cost of this initial verification of a disability.


  3. The University of Wisconsin System Administration may require an employee or applicant offered a job who is requesting a reasonable accommodation to undergo further testing or evaluation by qualified professionals to verify or further establish the claimed disability, the need for an accommodation, and to provide a basis upon which a reasonable accommodation can be developed or implemented. The cost of such evaluation will be paid by System Administration.


  4. If an employee is having difficulty performing his/her job, the supervisor, in consultation with the ADA coordinator, should inform the employee of the existence of System Administration's policy to provide reasonable accommodations. If the employee requests a reasonable accommodation, the procedures in this policy shall apply. However, if the employee does not request an accommodation, an accommodation will not be offered nor provided.


Decision Making Procedures
  1. Each request for an accommodation shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The employee or applicant will be involved in the process of determining potential reasonable accommodations.
  2. The UW System ADA coordinator will make the decision to approve or deny an accommodation request. If the hiring authority, supervisor or the ADA coordinator is concerned about providing an accommodation, the hiring authority, supervisor and ADA coordinator shall consult with the appropriate vice president.
  3. The decision to approve or disapprove an accommodation request must be made by the ADA coordinator in writing and provided to the applicant or employee within 20 working days after the filing of a request. If an accommodation request is denied, the written decision must inform the employee or applicant of the complaint procedures available to that individual as listed in Section IV of this policy and procedures.
  4. Where there is more than one effective accommodation, the final decision as to which accommodation will be provided shall be made by System Administration after consideration of the wishes of the individual, the documentation provided, and advice from other appropriate personnel.
  5. A qualified individual with a disability is not required to accept an accommodation, aid, service, opportunity or benefit which such qualified individual chooses not to accept. However, if such individual rejects a reasonable accommodation, aid, service, opportunity or benefit that is necessary to enable the individual to perform the essential functions of the position held or desired, and cannot as a result of that rejection, perform the essential functions of the position, the individual will not be considered a qualified individual with a disability.
  6. System Administration does not provide individuals with disabilities with personal devices or assistance for personal use, including but not limited to wheelchairs, eye glasses, hearing aids, personal assistance for eating or dressing, or readers for personal use.
  7. When no reasonable accommodation is available to allow an employee with a disability to remain in his/her current position, System Administration will attempt to reassign that employee to a vacant position, which is equivalent in terms of pay and status, within the UW System. The employee must be qualified for the vacant position and the position must be vacant or will be vacant within a reasonable period of time. Assignment to another vacant position is only available to employees.
  8. All material and information collected from an applicant or employee regarding the individual's accommodation request shall be considered confidential information and be kept in a separate file. Upon completion of the decision making process regarding the accommodation request, all material collected will be kept in a separate, locked file by the ADA coordinator. This information will be confidential with the following exceptions:
  9. Supervisors and managers may be informed regarding necessary accommodations or necessary restrictions on the work or duties of the employee;
  10. First aid and safety personnel may be informed, when appropriate, if the disability might require alternative actions in emergency situations;
  11. Government officials investigating compliance with non-discrimination laws shall be provided relevant information on request.
  12. The ADA coordinator will periodically monitor the effectiveness of accommodations provided to applicants or employees.
  13. For reporting to the Department of Employment Relations (DER) only, the ADA coordinator will complete a "Reasonable Accommodation Request - Report form" for each accommodation request and provide a copy to the Division of Affirmative Action, DER.

B. Assessing Accommodation Requests

Several factors will be considered before asking an individual to further verify the existence of a disability and when reviewing an accommodation request for reasonableness.

1. Requesting Additional Verification

Is the employee known to have a disability?
Does the applicant or employee have an observable disability?
Does the request expand on an existing accommodation or previously provided accommodation for which a verification was required?

2. Determining Reasonableness of Accommodation Request

Are the job functions for which the accommodation is required essential?
Is the applicant or employee otherwise qualified to perform the essential job functions?
Does the accommodation accomplish the desired result allowing the individual toovercome limitations of the disability to effectively perform the essential functions of the job or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of similarly situated employees? Is the accommodation necessary and effective?
Will the accommodation adversely affect the productivity or work environment of other employees in the work unit?
Is the cost of the accommodation feasible within the budget of System Administration? If not, can approval be obtained from the Department of Administration to use funds which are statutorily reserved for reasonable accommodations?
Are there other more cost-effective options which will allow the individual to perform the essential functions of the job?


The UW System Administration has an internal complaint procedure to resolve complaints alleging violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. If an applicant, an applicant offered a job, or an employee disagrees with a decision regarding his or her request for an accommodation, a complaint may be filed with the associate vice president for human resources pursuant to this internal complaint procedure.
  1. Complaints filed pursuant to this internal procedure must be filed within fifteen (15)working days after the complainant is informed of the accommodation decision. Individuals wishing to file such a complaint should immediately contact the office of the associate vice president for human resources for information on the appropriate process.
  2. Use of this internal complaint procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.


At any time, an individual may pursue other remedies available to him/her under applicable state law or federal law. An employee may contact system administration's personnel department to obtain information on existing complaint/grievance resolution processes.


1.9.            ADA Employees  

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, it is the policy of the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse not to discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities will be provided, in accordance with our policy to ensure equal access to employment and benefits. A copy of the university policy on ADA can be found on the UW-L website http://perth.uwlax.edu/AAOD/ 

A UW-L employee may initiate the process by talking with his/her supervisor. You may use the form entitled Request for Reasonable Accommodation to facilitate this process. Use of this form at this point is not required. Your supervisor and /or division officer may approve it, or they may wish to consult with Human Resources to determine the nature of the disability and to facilitate a resolution. Human Resources may ask you to provide medical records concerning your disability. In addition, you may be asked to undergo testing or evaluation by medical personnel retained by UW-L. Please note that refusal to provide medical documentation concerning your disability may result in a denial of your request for reasonable accommodation.

Information about the grievance procedure is available from the assistant chancellor for affirmative action & diversity: Al Thompson, 235 Graff Main Hall, 785-8541, thompson.alfr@uwlax.edu or at the website: http://perth.uwlax.edu/AAOD/


1.10.      University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Disability Services Mission Statement

The primary purpose of UW-L is to provide education leading to baccalaureate and selected graduate degrees supplemented by appropriate research and public service activities as further detailed in the following set of goals:
The university shall emphasize excellence in educational programs and teaching.
The university shall provide a broad base of liberal education as a foundation for the intellectual, cultural, and professional development of the students.
The university shall offer undergraduate programs and degrees in the arts, letters, and sciences; education; health and human services; health, physical education, and recreation; and business administration.
The university shall offer graduate programs and degrees related to areas of emphasis and strength within the institution.

1.11.        Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) Program Standards

The Disability Resource Services (DRS) mission is to collaborate with students with disabilities to identify, reduce, or eliminate barriers to obtaining education within the most integrated settings possible.

In pursuit of its mission, the Disability Resource Services will:

  • Develop and facilitate self-advocacy, empowerment, responsibility, independence, personal growth, understanding of his or her disability, and the development and use of compensatory skills in students with disabilities.
  • Assure that all services at the UW-L that are provided to students with disabilities are in compliance with the legal mandates regarding people with disabilities.
  • Provide timely, efficient, and equitable accommodations and services when such services are required to ensure equal access to educational opportunities and services for students with disabilities.
  • Promote awareness of the types of services and accommodations that are available through DRS among students, prospective students, the community, and the University of Wisconsin System by contacting all incoming freshman and transfer students, by presenting informational workshops, and by distributing informational material in a broad range of settings.
  • Strive to maintain the academic integrity of UW-L degrees it presents by monitoring the types of academic substitutions and accommodations that are made for students with disabilities and by assuring that these accommodations are being used responsibly by both the student and the instructor.
  • Act as a liaison between the students and the university faculty and staff and community organizations/agencies by assisting in the negotiation of accommodations, promoting effective educational experiences for students with disabilities, and providing the necessary services to enable students with disabilities to have equal access to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
  • Educate the community, faculty, staff and the students about disabilities by organizing the Representatives for Individuals with Disabilities (RID’S) from each academic department and unit, training them to present informational in-services for their departments, and preparing them to respond to student feedback about the quality of educational accommodations each department provides to students with disabilities
  • Ensure that all students with disabilities that are being serviced by DRS have appropriate updated documentation indicating the need for specific accommodations in the university setting.
  • Keep abreast of all the current trends and issues related to individuals with disabilities and will inform the relevant faculty and staff persons of these issues.
  • Refer students to other community and campus organizations when appropriate.


1.12.      University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (UW-L) Advisory Committee

The advisory committee will meet and make recommendations to the ADA coordinator and the chancellor about the need and status of disability issues on the campus. The advisory committee at UW-L is called the Individual with Disabilities Advocacy Committee (IDAC). The committee members will be chosen from staff, faculty, students and administrative members on the campus. Access and Accommodation Resource Coordinators (AARC’s) are comprised of members from each unit and department at UW-L. Both committees advocate for students with disabilities. IDAC will meet as a whole twice a year. There will also be subcommittees, which will meet more often to address specific issues that are disability related.

Individuals on the committee meeting with various offices and units to explore issues regarding disabilities sometimes resolve concerns and recommendations. Individuals on the committee will address these concerns at the group meetings. Programs are developed by the committee to reflect these concerns. Issues at times are reported to the chancellor if deemed appropriate by the committee. Annual reports will be given to the chancellor.

1.13.      Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) Code of Ethics


AHEAD is an international, multicultural organization of professionals that was organized in 1977 to act as a resource to postsecondary institution's disability service providers. Its membership is approximately 2100 individuals representing 1400 institutions. The association sponsors workshops, conferences, printed materials, and other information to assist service providers in the delivery of services. In August 1997, AHEAD adopted a Code of Ethics as a guiding principle for delivery of services by AHEAD members.

As members of AHEAD, the university/college service providers adhere to the Code of Ethics of this organization. We agree that these principles are the Code of Ethics for postsecondary disability service providers. As professionals, we are responsible for upholding, supporting and advancing these ideas whenever possible. Members of AHEAD agree to monitor themselves and their peers in accordance with the spirit and provisions of this code, as delineated by the following principles:

  1. Postsecondary disability service providers are committed to facilitating the highest levels of educational excellence and potential quality of life for postsecondary students with disabilities.
  2. Postsecondary disability service providers strive to achieve and maintain the highest levels of competence and integrity in all areas of assistance to adult students with disabilities. This support is guided by the consistent use of objective, professional judgment in all areas, especially when addressing the confidential nature of the student's disability.
  3. Postsecondary disability service providers continually participate in professional activities and educational opportunities designed to strengthen the personal, educational and vocational quality of life for students with disabilities. This includes the on-going development of strategies, skills, research and knowledge pertinent to the highest quality of disability service delivery whenever and wherever it occurs.
  4. Postsecondary disability service providers carry out their responsibilities in accordance with all AHEAD professional standards and policy guidelines for adult students with disabilities. When certified, licensed or affiliated with other professionals or organizations, they comply with those professional guidelines as well.
  5. Postsecondary disability service providers are actively engaged in supporting and clarifying all institutional, state, provincial and federal laws, policies and procedures applicable to the service delivery to students with disabilities. Compliance implies that professionals will not condone or participate in any unethical or illegal acts discussed within these guidelines.
1.14. Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) Program Standards

Based upon empirical data (Dukes & Shaw, 1998) involving more than 1,000 postsecondary disability professionals, the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) is pleased to present Program Standards for Offices for Students with Disabilities. The Program Standards represent those service components that are fundamental for assuring equal educational access for postsecondary students with disabilities. They set parameters for essential postsecondary disability services and assert the credibility and unique responsibilities of offices that serve students with disabilities. Program Standards should serve as a tool for professionals to proactively develop appropriate services that meet both the letter and the spirit of the law. The 27 Program Standards across nine categories have been identified as essential regardless of type of school (two or four year), funding source (public or private), location (U.S. or Canada), or competitiveness (open enrollment vs. competitive). Their implementation should provide more consistency across institutions and help students with disabilities by simplifying the selection of postsecondary services.

  1. Consultation/Collaboration/Awareness
  2. Serve as an advocate for students with disabilities to ensure equal access.
  3. Provide disability representation on relevant campus committees (e.g., academic standards, policy development.)
  4. Information Dissemination
  5. Disseminate information through institutional publications regarding disability services and how to access them.
  6. Provide services that promote access to the campus community (e.g., TDDs, alternative materials formatting, interpreter services, adaptive technology).
  7. Provide referral information to students with disabilities regarding available campus and community resources (e.g., assessment, counseling).
  8. Faculty/Staff Awareness
  9. Provide consultation with faculty regarding academic accommodations, compliance with legal responsibilities, as well as instructional, programmatic, physical, and curriculum modifications.
  10. Provide individualized disability awareness training for campus constituencies (e.g., faculty, staff, administrators).
  11. Provide feedback to faculty regarding general assistance available through the office that provides services to students with disabilities.
  12. Academic Adjustments
  13. Maintain records that document the plan for the provision of selected accommodations.
  14. Determine with the students, appropriate academic adjustments consistent with the student's documentation.
  15. Have final responsibility for determining effective academic accommodations that do not fundamentally alter the program of study.
  16. Instructional Interventions
  17. Advocate for instruction in learning strategies (e.g., attention and memory strategies, planning, self-monitoring, time management, organization, problem-solving).
  18. Counseling and Advocacy
  19. Assist students with disabilities to assume the role of self-advocate.
  20. Policies and Procedures
  21. Develop written policies and guidelines regarding procedures for determining and accessing "reasonable accommodations."
  22. Establish guidelines for student rights and responsibilities with respect to service provision (e.g., documentation of a disability, course substitution/waiver).
  23. Develop written policies and guidelines regarding confidentiality of disability information.
  24. Encourage the development of policies and guidelines for settling a formal complaint regarding the determination of a "reasonable accommodation."
  25. Program Development and Evaluation
  26. Provide services that are based on the institution's mission or service philosophy.
  27. Coordinate services for students with disabilities through a full-time professional.
  28. Collect student feedback to measure satisfaction with Disability Services.
  29. Collect data to monitor use of Disability Services.
  30. Report program evaluation data to administrators.
  31. Training and Professional Development.
  32. Provide Disability Services staff with ongoing opportunities for professional development (e.g., conferences, credit courses, membership in professional organizations).
  33. Provide services by professional(s) with training and experience working with college students/adults with disabilities.
  34. Adhere to the AHEAD Code of Ethics.

1.15. Networking with Collaborative Agencies


The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provides services to people with disabilities to assist them to reach independent living or employment goals. There are many services and programs for persons with disabilities. Some programs require specialized examinations to show that you have a disability that creates problems for you. All programs require prior DVR approval before goods or services can be provided. Below is a partial list of services that are available. Services may include any or all of these examples:

  • Counseling to cope with disability related problems.
  • Evaluations to determine what disabilities are present and what problems exist.
  • Informational and referral services for other programs.
  • Vocational training or retraining to allow you to work.
  • Telecommunications and other adaptive devices for personal communication needs.
  • In-home assessments to identify ways to increase your personal independence.
  • Evaluations to determine the potential for job-site modifications.
  • Support services during your rehabilitation.
  • Interpreter services for persons with sensory disabilities.

If the student is eligible for any DVR services, DVR staff will work with the student to develop a written service plan. If note-taking, test taking, tutoring, taping or services are used, the DVR counselor must be notified in advance of receiving service in the DRS office.

DRS advisers assist students in coordinating disability services with appropriate agencies and educational representatives, either on or off campus. DRS staff work in cooperation with DVR counselors in implementing funding for special services for students with disabilities.

Section 2.        Federal Laws and Legal Precedents Pertinent to Disability Services


2.1.          Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973


"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 assistance."

Who is Protected Under Section 504? A "qualified handicapped individual" is defined as one who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the institution's programs or activities.

The act defines a person with a disability as

"... any person who

has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person'smajor life activities,
has a record of such an impairment, or
is regarded as having such an impairment."

Who Can Use Disability Resource Services (DRS)?

Any student at UW-L who has a physical, sensory, emotional or learning disability should meet with personnel from DRS during his/her first semester on campus. Even students who have a mild disability may find it beneficial to discuss their adjustment to campus life with the office staff.

This would include students with any of the following disabilities.

• AIDS • Diabetes
• Mental Illness • Drug Addiction
• Alcoholism • Developmental Aphasia
• Mental Retardation • Epilepsy
• Blindness/Visual Disability • Learning Disabilities
• Multiple Sclerosis • Heart Disease
• Cancer • Attention Deficit Disorder
• Muscular Dystrophy  
• Cerebral Palsy  
• Orthopedic or Speech Problems  
• Deafness/Hearing Disability  
• Perceptual Disabilities

What is the Impact of Section 504 on Post -Secondary Education?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to all recipients of federal funds, including colleges, universities, and post-secondary vocational schools. Educational institutions such as the UW-L may not discriminate in recruiting, admissions, or treatment of students with disabilities.

Educational institutions must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services, to equalize these students' opportunities to participate in educational programs or activities.

Colleges and universities may not:

  • limit the number of students with disabilities admitted,
  • make pre-admission inquiries about an applicant's disabilities,
  • use admission tests or criteria that inadequately measure the academic level of persons with disabilities because special provisions were not made for them,
  • exclude a student from a course of study,
  • counsel a student with a disability toward a more restrictive career,
    • institute prohibitive rules that may adversely affect students with disabilities
    • Colleges and universities could be required to:
  • extend the time permitted for a student with a disability to earn a degree,
  • modify teaching methods and examinations to meet the needs of students with disabilities,
  • develop course substitutions or waivers for students with disabilities

According to the Health, Education, and Welfare regulations, accommodations need not produce the "identical result or level of achievement."



2.2.          Postsecondary School Provision of Auxiliary Aids

The Section 504 regulation contains the following requirement relating to a postsecondary school's obligation to provide auxiliary aids to qualified students who have disabilities:

Arecipient . . . shall take such steps as are necessary to ensure that no handicapped student is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under the education program or activity operated by the recipient because of the absence of educational auxiliary aids for students with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.

The Title II regulation states:

A public entity shall furnish auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity conducted by a public entity.

It is, therefore, the school's responsibility to provide these auxiliary aids and services in a timely manner to ensure effective participation by students with disabilities.

Examples of Auxiliary Aids

Some of the various types of auxiliary aids and services may include:

  • taped texts • voice synthesizers
  • note-takers • specialized gym equipment
  • interpreters • calculators or keyboards with large
  • readers buttons
  • video text displays • reaching device for library use
  • television enlargers • raised-line drawing kits
  • talking calculators • assistive listening devices
  • electronic readers • assistive listening systems
  • Braille calculators, printers or • telecommunication devices for deaf typewriters persons.
  • telephone handset amplifiers
  • closed caption decoders
  • open and closed captioning Technological advances in electronics have improved vastly participation by students with disabilities in educational activities. Colleges are not required to provide the most sophisticated auxiliary aids available; however, the aids provided must effectively meet the needs of a student with a disability. An institution has flexibility in choosing the specific aid or service it provides to the student, as long as the aid or service selected is effective. These aids should be selected after consultation with the student who will use them.

Effectiveness of Auxiliary Aids

No aid or service will be useful unless it is successful in equalizing the opportunity for a particular student with a disability to participate in the education program or activity. Not all students with a similar disability benefit equally from an identical auxiliary aid or service. The regulation refers to this complex issue of effectiveness in several sections, including:

Auxiliary aids may include taped texts, interpreters or other effective methods of making orally delivered materials available to students with hearing impairments, readers in libraries for students with visual impairments, classroom equipment adapted for use by students with manual impairments, and other similar services and actions.

There are other references to effectiveness in the general provisions of the Section 504 regulation which state, in part, that a recipient may not:

Provide a qualified handicapped person with an aid, benefit, or service that is not as effective as that provided to others; or

Provide different or separate aid, benefits, or services to handicapped persons or to any class of handicapped persons unless such action is necessary to provide qualified handicapped persons with aid, benefits, or services that are as effective as those provided to others.

The Title II regulation contains comparable provisions.

The Section 504 regulation also states:

Aids, benefits, and services, to be equally effective, are not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement for handicapped and non-handicapped persons, but must afford

handicapped persons equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement, in the most integrated setting appropriate to the person's needs.

The institution must analyze the appropriateness of an aid or service in its specific context. For example, the type of assistance needed in a classroom by a student who is hearing-impaired may vary, depending upon whether the format is a large lecture hall or a seminar. With the one-way communication of a lecture, the service of a note-taker may be adequate, but in the two-way communication of a seminar, an interpreter may be needed. College officials also should be aware that in determining what types of auxiliary aids and services are necessary under Title II of the ADA, the institution must give primary consideration to the requests of individuals with disabilities.

Cost of Auxiliary Aids

Postsecondary schools receiving federal financial assistance must provide effective auxiliary aids to students who are disabled. If an aid is necessary for classroom or other appropriate (nonpersonal) use, the institution must make it available, unless provision of the aid would cause undue burden. A student with a disability may not be required to pay part or all of the costs of that aid or service. An institution may not limit what it spends for auxiliary aids or services or refuse to provide auxiliary aids because it believes that other providers of these services exist, or condition its provision of auxiliary aids on availability of funds. In many cases, an institution may meet its obligation to provide auxiliary aids by assisting the student in obtaining the aid or obtaining reimbursement for the cost of an aid from an outside agency or organization, such as a state rehabilitation agency or a private charitable organization. However, the institution remains responsible for providing the aid.

Personal Aids and Services

An issue that is often misunderstood by postsecondary officials and students is the provision of personal aids and services. Personal aids and services, including help in bathing, dressing, or other personal care, are not required to be provided by postsecondary institutions. The Section 504 regulation states:

Recipients need not provide attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature.

Title II of the ADA similarly states that personal services are not required. In order to ensure that students with disabilities are given a free appropriate public education, local education agencies are required to provide many services and aids of a personal nature to students with disabilities when they are enrolled in elementary and secondary schools. However, once students with disabilities graduate from a high school program or its equivalent, education institutions are no longer required to provide aids, devices, or services of a personal nature.

Postsecondary schools do not have to provide personal services relating to certain individual academic activities. Personal attendants and individually prescribed devices are the responsibility of the student who has a disability and not of the institution. For example, readers may be provided for classroom use but institutions are not required to provide readers for personal use or for help during individual study time.


2.3.          Americans with Disabilities Act – 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities, extending the coverage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It prohibits discrimination in employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and state and local government operations. In addition to individuals with physical or mental disabilities, persons with contagious or non-contagious diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, epilepsy, and HIV/AIDS are covered.


All universities and colleges are covered whether or not they receive federal aid. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse must comply (1) as an employer in its public services-such as programs and activities, and (2) in its public facilities (such as Cartwright Center and Murphy Library) in providing telecommunication services for persons with speech and hearing disorders, and (3) as a unit of state government.



There are five titles to the ADA. They are:







Basic Principles of the ADA as They Apply to Colleges and Universities
  1. The ADA is a civil rights law intended to provide equal access and opportunity for people with disabilities. It is not intended to afford anyone special privileges.
  2. Disability = Impairment + Substantial Limitation + Major Life Activity. Determining impairments and major life activities is relatively straightforward. Measuring what constitutes a “Substantial limitation” is the complex aspect of determining disability. Not everyone with an impairment is disabled; only those whose impairments rise to the level of “substantial limitation” are qualified as disabled.
  3. The individual must be otherwise qualified. In education this means the individual meets the academic and technical standards for admission or participation. However, if the qualification for attending a specific event, such as a lecture or performance, is having a ticket, then an individual with a disability possessing a ticket is qualified.
  4. Institutions must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are modifications to policies, practices or environments that allow an individual with a disability equal access or opportunity.
  5. Institutions do not need to provide a reasonable accommodation if it fundamentally alters the nature of the program or activity. For example, a student, who because of their disability will miss several weeks of classes, asks for permission to work from home and not attend classes. This may be reasonable but the request can be denied if the instructor/college believes attending class is fundamental in math (e.g. all the math assignments can be done at home and class participation may not be an essential requirements).
  6. Students must self-identify, provide documentation of disability and request services and accommodations. Accommodations requested after the fact are not appropriate and generally need not be provided.
  7. The institution can decide on the type of accommodation to be provided and need not always provide what is requested. The institution should consider specific requests and provide them whenever reasonable and feasible. The primary issue is that accommodations need to be “effective”.
  8. Only individuals who currently have a disability are entitled to accommodations. An individual with a “history” of a disability is protected from discrimination but is not disabled for the purposes of receiving services and accommodations. For example, an individual acquires the substantially limiting impairment of cancer. For two years, the student requests and receives a reduced course load, a campus disability parking permit, a note-taker when they are unable to attend classes and additional time on examinations (due to the effects of the chemotherapy). Three years after being diagnosed the student is fully recovered. The student is no longer disabled. However, they are protected against discrimination related to their prior history of having cancer. For example, it would be discriminatory if a graduate program too the cancer into consideration for admission purposes.


2.4.          Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

In the U.S., the Family Educational Rights land Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, provides faculty with access to educational information in institutional files regarding students with whom they are working.


Disability related records provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional are not subject to free access under FERPA. The Act exempts such disability related records that are used for support of the student and are available only to service providers and other professionals chosen by the student.


Note that there are individual state and provincial laws that may provide additional protection of confidentiality for medical and mental health records.


2.5.          Confidentiality

Students with disabilities are enrolling in institutions of higher education in increasing numbers. These students are protected from discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 in the United States. Discrimination often occurs as a result of attitudinal barriers and misconceptions regarding the potential of persons with disabilities. These government mandates for non-discrimination carry within them rules regarding the confidential treatment of disability related information.


What are the rules regarding confidentiality?


Disability related information includes the comprehensive documentation from an appropriate source that persons with disabilities must provide to establish the existence of their disability and their need for accommodation or consideration.


Disability related information should be collected and maintained on separate forms and kept in secure files with limited access.


Disability related information should be shared only on a limited basis within the institutional community It may be shared only when there is a compelling reason for the individual from the institution seeking information regarding some specific aspect of this confidential information


What does that mean for post secondary institutions?


The DRS office is assigned the responsibility for collecting and holding disability related documentation for students with disabilities.


The information regarding a student's disability should be shared by those who hold the documentation on a limited basis, and then only when there is compelling reason for such disclosure. This may mean sharing with faculty only the information that a student has a documented disability and need for accommodation(s). In the U.S., the Department of Justice has indicated that a faculty member generally does not have a need to know what the disability is, only that it has been appropriately verified by the individual (or office) assigned this responsibility on behalf of the institution. Thus, faculty would nave no legal right to demand access to the actual documentation, including testing scores, dates or names of professionals providing such documentation.


Administrators may have a need to collect data such as how many students are being served, the nature of their disabilities and recommended accommodations. Under typical circumstances however, they do not have a need for personally identifiable information about whom those students are for purposes of statistical or survey reporting. One way to protect the confidentiality of students with disabilities is by being careful to see that their names do not appear on general listings that may be circulated throughout the institutional community in other contexts.


As post secondary institutions become increasingly computerized in their record keeping and communication functions, it is important to note that information regarding someone's disability or their status as a person with a disability is sensitive and should be managed carefully. Interoffice correspondence regarding the needs of a student with a disability should not be placed in shared files without password protection. The same memo sent to a number of students with disabilities by computer with a multiple address listing may lead to a violation of confidentiality by revealing the names of those students to each other.


The need to share disability information may change with time and circumstances. If a student with a disability resulting from a health-related condition moves into university housing, the residence hall staff may need to know about the condition in order to provide emergency accommodations.


If a student files a grievance regarding treatment by a faculty member, the administrator charged with handling the concern may need to know the specifics of the individual's disability and history within the institution.


Designated Office

The student must self identify by contacting Disability Resource Services, 165 Murphy Library, and provide documentation not older than three years from the appropriate professional in order to receive services.


Need to Know

At the college level, students must become their own advocates, taking more responsibility for their disability and negotiating with instructors. This is a new experience for many students whose parents or teachers took care of disclosure for them in high school.


Students do not have to disclose specifics about their disabilities; they must only provide the instructor with a copy of the DRS contract and identify the types of accommodation that will be necessary. Any questions about the appropriateness of an accommodation can be directed to the Disability Resource Services office.


It is important for faculty and staff to recognize that for many students disclosing their disability to a faculty member can be very threatening and difficult. It is helpful to be sensitive to this fact. This is especially true of freshmen, newly diagnosed students, or students with an acquired disability who have not had to explain it at the high school level.


Maintenance of Records

DRS maintains records on all accommodations used by DVR clients, including the amount of hours, as well as the number of contacts.


Disposal of Records

Student records will be disposed of five years after the student leaves the university.


Computer Database

Prospective students, those not officially enrolled, are tracked via a database program. Disability types are clearly defined by the same definition as used by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and those accepted by UW-System.


2.6.          Legal Implications: Individual Needs

The contents herein are the guiding procedures and policies in general for all students with disabilities. However, each student’s needs must be considered on an individual basis. Basic determination of accommodations will be in collaboration with the student and sometimes faculty based on recommendations.


2.7. Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS)

The CAS standards and quidelines represent the collective effort and wisdom of hundreds of professionals in higher education who strive toward high quality education programs and services for students. The promulgation of standards of practice and of professional preparation to encourage the best educational practice possible is the core purpose of the Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), which has served the higher education community for over two decades.

The CAS standards promote the connections between the life of the student and the college community, giving direction to the leaders in higher education who, as advocates, design and manage meaningful learning environments that promote student learning and personal development. (click here) for the complete CAS Standards and Guidelines.


2.8 OCR’s Complaint Procedure


I.                  Complaint Evaluation


OCR begins by evaluating complaints. OCR’s objective in complaint evaluation is to determine whether or not OCR can proceed to complaint resolution. OCR cannot proceed to complaint resolution under a variety of circumstances, for instance, where OCR has no jurisdiction; where a complaint is not timely; where another agency has already reached a binding decision; or where the person alleged to be injured declines to cooperate in OCR’s investigation.


OCR will actively work with complaints and examine other sources of information to ensure that the agency has sufficient information to evaluate complaints appropriately. OCR staff will provide appropriate assistance to complainants who may need help in providing information OCR needs.


It is expected that complainants will also work actively with OCR to ensure that OCR has the information needed. OCR can initiate complaint resolution only for those complaints for which sufficient information has been provided.


OCR is responsible for enforcing the following Federal civil rights laws:


Ø      Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.


Ø      Title XI of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs.


Ø      Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination of the basis of disability.


Ø      The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age; and


Ø      Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.


Generally, OCR will take action only with respect to those complaints that have been filed within 180 calendar days of the last act of alleged discrimination or where the complaint alleges a continuing discriminatory policy or practice. If a complaint is not filed in a timely manner, the complainant may request a waiver, which may be granted only under limited circumstances. Age discrimination complaints are timely if filed within 180 days of the date the complainant first had knowledge of the alleged discrimination.



II.               Complaint Resolution


OCR’s primary objective in complaint resolution is to resolve the complaint’s allegation of discrimination promptly and appropriately. OCR has a variety of tools for resolving complaints. These include: Resolution Between the Parties, agreements for corrective action, and enforcement. Any approach, or combination of approaches, may be initiated at any time and multiple approaches may be used to resolve any complaint.


a. Resolution Between the Parties


Resolution Between the Parties provides the parties involved the opportunity to immediately resolve the allegations prompting the complaint. If the complaint and the recipient are willing to utilize this approach, OCR will work with the parties to facilitate resolutions of the complaint. OCR does not sign, approve, or endorse any agreement reached between the parties; however, OCR will assist both parties in understanding pertinent legal standards and possible remedies.


OCR does not monitor any agreement reached between the parties in RBP, but if the recipient does not follow through on the agreement, the complainant may file another complaint with OCR.


b. Agreements


OCR’s investigations continue until such time as ICR can determine an appropriate resolution of the complaint allegations under OCR regulatory standards. OCR may use a variety of fact-finding techniques, which may include informal fact finding such as joint discussions with the complainant and recipient.


Any agreement for corrective action will specify the action, if any, to be taken by the recipient to resolve each complaint allegation. Implementation of such agreements will be monitored by OCR.


c. Other Ways Complaints Can be Resolved


OCR may also consider a complaint resolved when any of the following occur:


·                                If the complaint has been investigated by another agency and the resolution of the complaint meets OCR standards

·                                If OCR determines that the evidence is sufficient to support a finding of a violation

·                                If the complaint withdraws his or her complaint, and

·                                If OCR obtains information indicating that the allegations raised by the complaint have already been resolved


III.           Letters of Findings and Enforcement


If OCR determines that the recipient has violated one or more provisions of the civil rights laws, and the recipient is unwilling to correct the violation(s). OCR will promptly issue a violation letter of findings specifying the factual findings and the legal basis for the violation(s). OCR will again attempt to negotiate a corrective action agreement. If OCR is still unable to obtain voluntary compliance, OCR will move immediately to enforcement by either initiating administrative enforcement proceedings or referring the case to the Department of Justice. OCR can also move immediately to defer any new or additional federal financial assistance to the recipient, and will begin administrative enforcement proceedings to terminate existing federal assistance.


IV.            Additional Information For the Complainant


a.      What To Do If You Disagree With OCR’s Resolution of Your Complaint

OCR is committed to ensuring that every complaint is appropriately resolved. If the complainant has questions or concerns about OCR’s resolution determination, he or she should contact the OCR staff person whose name appears in the complaint resolution letter. The complainant should be encouraged to address these concerns with as much specificity as possible, focusing on factual or legal questions that would change the resolution of the case. Should the complainant continue to have questions or concerns, she or he should be advised to contact the Office Director. The Office Director will verify the appropriateness of the complaint resolution.


b.      Information About the Right To File a Separate Court Action


The complainant should be aware that a separate court action may be filed regardless of OCR’s findings. It should be clear that in resolving complaints, OCR cannot and does not represent the complainant in the way that a person’s private attorney would. If the complainant wishes to file a court action, he/she may do so through an attorney.


The complainant alleging discrimination prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 may file a civil action in federal court only after exhausting administrative remedies. Administrative remedies are exhausted upon the earlier of either (1) 180 days have elapsed since the complainant filed the complaint with OCR and OCR has made no finding with regard to the complaint, or (2) OCR issues a finding in favor of the recipient. At such time, OCR will promptly notify the complainant of this fact and will provide additional information regarding the complainant’s right to file a civil action for injunctive relief.


Complainants and recipients have the right to have a representative at all stages of the complaint procedure.


c.       Prohibitions Against Intimidation or Retaliation


A recipient may not intimidate, threaten, coerce, or engage in other discriminatory conduct against anyone who has either taken action or participated in an action to secure rights protected by the civil rights statutes enforced by OCR. If any individual believes that he or she is being harassed or intimidated by a recipient because of the filing of a complaint or participating in the resolution of it, a complaint alleging such harassment or intimidation may be filed with OCR.


d.      Investigatory Uses of Personal Information


OCR processes complaints and conducts compliance reviews regarding discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age at institutions that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. The resolution of complaints may involve the collection and analysis of personal information, such as student records (including academic standing) and, in some cases, employment records. No law requires a complainant to give personal information to OCR, and no sanctions will be imposed on complainants or other individuals who do not cooperate in providing information requested by OCR in connection with its case resolution process. However, if OCR is unable to obtain information needed to investigate or to otherwise resolve allegations of discrimination, it may be necessary for OCR to discontinue its complaint resolution activities.


There are two laws governing personal information submitted to all Federal agencies, including OCR the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act), 5 U.S.C. 552a, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552.


THE PRIVACY ACT OF1974 protects individuals from the misuse of personal information held by the Federal Government. The law applies to records that are kept and can be located by the individual’s name, social security number, or other personal identifier. It regulates the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of certain personal information in the files of Federal agencies. Persons who submit information to OCR should know that the information that OCR collects is analyzed by authorized personnel with the agency and will be used only for authorized civil rights compliance and enforcement activities.


However, OCR may need to reveal certain information to persons outside the agency in the course of verifying facts or gathering additional information to develop a basis for resolving a complaint. Such details could include the physical condition or age of a complaint. Also, OCR may be required to reveal certain information to an individual who requests it under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOIA) (discussed below). OCR will not release information to any other agency or individual except I the 11instances defined in the Department’s regulation at 34 C.F.R. 5.b.9(b)., one of which is release under the FOIA.


Finally OCR does not reveal the name or other identifying information about an individual unless it is necessary for the completion of an investigation or for enforcement activities against an institution that violates the laws, or unless such information is requires to be disclosed under the FOIA or the Privacy Act. OCR will keep the identity of complainants confidential except to the extent necessary to carry out the purpose of the civil rights laws, or unless disclosure is required under the FOIA, the Privacy Act or otherwise by law.


THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT gives the public a right of access to records and files of Federal agencies, including those of OCR. Individuals may obtain items from many categories of records of the Federal Government, not just materials that apply to them personally. OCR must honor requests under the FOIA with some exceptions. Generally, OCR is not required to release documents during the case resolution process or enforcement proceedings if the release could have an adverse effect on the ability of OCR to do its job. Also, any Federal agency may refuse a request for records complied for law enforcement purposes if their release could constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy of an individual. Also, a request for other records, such as medical records, may be denied where disclosure would be clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.


Addendum to “Information About OCR’s Complaint Resolution Procedures”


Please retain this document and the document “Information About OCR’s Complaint Resolution Procedures” as reference. Future correspondence will refer, in abbreviated form, to the statutes and regulations detailed in these documents.


OCR works to resolve allegations of discrimination from the public. OCR also initiates compliance reviews based on information from credible sources. Finally, OCR provides technical assistance to school personnel, parent/professionals, and other interested persons by providing training, answering questions, conducting workshops, and participating in meetings and conferences.


Please note that individual complaints alleging race and sex discrimination in employment are generally referred to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Although OCR may have jurisdiction over these Title VI and Title IX complaints, regulations require us to refer them to the EEC. Generally, complaints alleging disability discrimination in employment will also be referred to the EEOC. However, under certain circumstances involving complaints filed under both Title II and Section 504, complainants may be given a choice of having either the EEOC or OCR investigate their disability discrimination complaint. The general regulations requiring referral are the Procedures for Complaints of Employment Discrimination Filed Against Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance, 28 C.F.R. 42.601et seq. and 29 C.F.R. 1691. The regulations governing referral of disability discrimination complaints are 28 C.F.R. 37 and 29 C.F.R. 1640.


OCR does not have jurisdiction over complaints of age discrimination in employment. Such complaints should be filed directly with the EEOC.

Section 3.      Documentation of Disabilities


3.1.          Purpose of Documentation

Documentation of a disability will be required by the DRS office to establish disability and functional limitations of the student. The student must self identify by contacting Disability Resource Services. The student must provide documentation no older than three years from the appropriate professional in order to receive services.


3.2.          Specific Learning Disabilities

A learning disability is generally defined as a significant discrepancy between achievement and ability with intra-cognitive discrepancies not attributable to other handicapping conditions or to environmental deprivation. Documentation for learning disabilities is required for special admissions consideration and academic adjustments and is provided at the student's expense.

The following documentation criteria are used to identify qualified individuals with learning disabilities for special admissions consideration and to determine disability-related support services.


Documentation verifying a learning disability shall:


1.      Be prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose a learning disability, (e.g. a licensed psychologist, learning disabilities specialist, neuropsychologist). Collaborating with speech and language clinicians, reading specialists and other educational professionals may be appropriate and necessary for a comprehensive assessment of a student’s needs, however these professionals are not generally considered qualified to diagnose a learning disability.

2.      Include results of clinical interview with the individual and descriptions of the testing procedures, instruments used, test and sub-test results reported in standard scores as well as percentile rank and grade scores where useful, interpretation and recommendations on data gathered.

3.      Be comprehensive and include test results in the following areas: intelligence, reading, mathematics, spelling, written language, language processing and cognitive processing skills. Testing should carefully examine areas of concern/weakness as well as areas of strengths so a complete profile of an individual’s learning is developed.

4.      Include a clear diagnostic statement based on the tests’ results and personal history.

5.      In general, be dated no more than three prior to admission or request for services. (Historical documentation of disability provides useful information, however, it alone may not be used or special admissions purposes or to determine service eligibility.)


Assessment Tools Guidelines

Selection of test instruments should be individually tailored to answer the referral issues of the client. Instruments should, to the extent possible be normed on an age, educational and culturally appropriate sample. The domains of intelligence, academic achievement and cognitive processing should all be assessed when a diagnosis is to be made. The following instruments are examples of tests that would be considered appropriate for use in the diagnosis of a learning disability in adults:


Wechsler Adult intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R),

Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised, Cognitive and Achievement Sections,

Halsted-Reitan Neuropsychological Test battery for Adults,

Nelson-Denny Reading Test.


This list is not intended to be exhaustive or to restrict assessment in other pertinent areas. Other tests may be deemed appropriate based on the presenting issues of the individual. The referral issues presented by the student should guide the assessment. However, it is not appropriate to base a diagnosis on the results of one test in a single domain.


Accommodations and academically related services for students with learning disabilities are designed to accommodate a perceptual disorder that impairs the student’s ability to acquire, process, or communicate information. They are not designed to provide remediation. Accommodations and services are determined based on the specific nature of the learning disability and are provided based on the collaboration between the student, Disability Resource Service staff and, in many cases, with the faculty teaching the courses in which the student is enrolled. Each academic accommodation is determined on an individual basis and made available to the extent that is does not compromise the academic integrity of the student’s program.


Members of the Disability Resource Services staff can address questions regarding learning disability documentation and assessment procedures.

3.3.           Physical and Systemic Illness

A student with a physical, sensory, or health-related disability is to provide documentation verifying a disabling condition by a licensed health care professional who is qualified in the diagnosis of the disability and is currently or recently associated with the student. The diagnosis must reflect the student’s present level of functioning of the major life activity affected by the disability. The student must present the verified documentation to the DRS office prior to obtaining accommodations and services. The cost of obtaining the professional verification is the student's responsibility.

If the initial verification is incomplete or inadequate to determine the present extent of the disability and/or appropriate accommodations, the DRS office will request supplementary documentation or an assessment of the disability. The cost of the supplementary documentation or assessment is the responsibility of the student.

3.4.          Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD)


Eligibility criteria for disability-related support services includes:
  1. Verification of diagnosis and severity of disabling condition from qualified treating professional (e.g. psychiatrist for ADD/ADHD, psychologist or psychiatrist for other psychological disorders) provided by the student.
  2. Detailed description of how this impairment significantly limits a major life activity in an educational setting.
  3. To ensure the provision of reasonable and appropriate services for students with psychological or attentional disorders at UW-L, current and comprehensive documentation of their disability is required. This documentation should include the following information:
  • DSM-IV diagnosis; date of diagnosis, last contact with student?
  • What is the current Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale score?
  • What instruments/procedures were used to diagnose the psychological disorder?
  • A description of symptoms which meet the criteria for the diagnosis with approximate date of onset.
  • A description of what major life activity(s) were impacted by this disorder as well as how significant this impact is.
  • Direct observations or anticipated occurrences of the disorder in an educational setting.
  • Measures (formal and informal) that were used to assess the educational impact of the psychological condition or ADD/ADHD.


3.5.          Psychiatric/Psychological Disorders

Eligibility criteria for disability-related support services at UW-L includes:

1. Verification of diagnosis and severity of disabling condition from qualified treating professional (e.g. psychiatrist for ADD/ADHD, psychologist or psychiatrist for other psychological disorders) provided by the student.

Detailed description of how this impairment significantly limits a major life activity in an educational setting.

2. To ensure the provision of reasonable and appropriate services for students with psychological or attentional disorders at UW-L, current and comprehensive documentation of their disability is required. This documentation should include the following information:

  • DSM-IV diagnosis; date of diagnosis, last contact with student?
  • What is the current Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale score?
  • What instruments/procedures were used to diagnose the psychological disorder?
  • A description of symptoms which meet the criteria for the diagnosis with approximate date of onset.
  • A description of what major life activity(s) were impacted by this disorder as well as how significant this impact is.
  • Direct observations or anticipated occurrences of the disorder in an educational setting.
  • Measures (formal and informal) that were used to assess the educational impact of the psychological condition or ADD/ADHD.


3.6.          Hidden Disabilities

All students who desire special consideration because of a disabling condition are required to present evidence of the disability to DRS as a part of a request for Accommodation. The student’s DRS Accommodation Request form (click here) should be considered adequate proof of disability by faculty/staff. Specific limitations or special needs information from the student’s file will be made available as it pertains to the teaching role.   


Section 4.      Disabilities: Characteristics and Reasonable Accommodations


4.1 Etiquette and Disabilities

Inclusive Language


In today's diverse society, using language to label and separate people is not acceptable. Labeling people with disabilities is no different. Saying "the disabled" or "the handicapped" is labeling and, therefore, implying that the disability is the most important thing about that per­son-not that he or she is a human being. The following are some tips for using appropriate, inclusive language when discussing issues concerning people with disabilities.


1. Always put the student first and the disability second when speaking and writing about a person with a disability.

Text Box: Preferred:
“Student with a visual disability”
“Person with cerebral palsy”
“Man who uses a wheelchair”






Text Box: Preferred:
“The student has a visual disability that prevents her from reading small print.”
“Carol has a physical disability that prevents her from taking notes in class.”
“Tom has a learning disability that interferes with his ability to process language effectively.”
2. Use the word “disability” to describe a functional limitation.







Text Box: Preferred:
“The lack of curb cuts created a handicap for Paula in getting to class.”
“The lack of grab bars created a handicap for Kevin in using the rest room from his wheel chair.”
“The height of the water fountain created a handicap for Jennifer in getting a drink.”
(Adapted from Hen                                                                             Adapted from Hennepin Technical College Reference Guide)
3. Use the word “handicap” to describe a situation or barrier created by society, environment, or self.








Text Box: Preferred:
“People who are able-bodied should use the non-accessible rest room stalls first, so the accessible
  stalls are available for people with disabilities.” 
“People are people--disabled and non-disabled alike.”
4. Use the words “able-bodied” or “non-disabled” instead of “normal” when talking about the non-disabled population.








5. Avoid terms like “crippled,” “mute,” “deaf and dumb,” “wheel chair bound,” “a victim of...,” “afflicted with ...” or other offensive, dehumanizing terms.









Text Box: Preferred:
“…person with cerebral palsy…”
“…student with a hearing disability…”
Rules of Etiquette

               What do you say to someone with a disability?


1        Remember that a student with a disability is like anyone else, except for the special limitations of the disability. A student with a disability has more similarities with other students than differences.


2        Be yourself when you meet a student with a disability and talk about the same things you would talk about with anyone else. Speak directly to the person, not to someone accompanying him or her. Do not try to avoid using--or become embarrassed if you do use--commonly accepted expressions, such as “see you later” or “I’ve got to run,” that seem to relate to the person’s disability. People with disabilities use them, too!

3 Do not rely on preconceived ideas or stereotypes about what the student can or cannot do. Let the student explain his or her disability and the accommodations needed. If the student does not take the initiative, then ask; but make sure to be respectful and sensitive. Only ask about needs that are relevant to the successful completion of the course work. Do not ask questions you would not want to answer yourself.

4         Treat your adult students with disabilities in a manner befitting adults. Use the person's first name only if extending this familiarity to all others present. Do not pat people on the head who use wheel chairs. This feels patronizing and is age-inappropriate for college age students. Only pat people on the shoulder or arm who use wheel chairs, and only if you do this as your interaction style with all people.

5 Be consistent in your standard of acceptable behavior. Do not accept inappropriate behavior from a student with a disability just because he or she has a disability. Socially inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated on the job later, so do not "let it slide" now.

6 Always ask if a student with a disability needs help before assisting him or her; do not just assume he or she does, and provide it. You may offer assistance, but always wait for it to be accepted before acting. Respect his or her choice if your help is declined. It is best to let the student know that he or she may ask for and receive help at any time, then let the student control how much help he or she wants.

7 Do not be overprotective/over-solicitous or offer pity/charity. Do not go overboard with praise for accomplishments, either. These types of interactions can be patronizing and embarrassing for anyone receiving them.

8 Let the student set his or her own pace in walking, speaking, and at times, learning. Teaching a student who learns differently can be frustrating, but imagine how frustrated the student must be!

9 Do not move an individual's wheelchair or crutches unless he or she requests it. These types of equipment are his or her access to mobility, so he or she may want them within reach.

1O Do not assume that a person with a disability has additional limitations. (For example, do not raise your voice when speaking to a person with a visual disability. He or she may listen more carefully than most people to compensate for the lost vision.)

11 Do not overprotect people with disabilities, but allow them to take risks. Taking risks is one of the best ways to learn about personal potential and to build self esteem. Be sure safety precautions have been taken, but do not protect a student with a disability more than you would any other student.

12 Our entire society is in the process of learning about disabilities, so be a role model for non-disabled students by demonstrating appropriate behavior toward students with disabilities. One of the most difficult aspects of living with a disability is the negative attitude of others. Help be a part of the change.

13          In public, if a child asks about a person with a disability he or she can see, answer the question directly and promptly. Do not act as if having a disability is something to be ashamed of.

14          Emphasize the uniqueness and worth of all people, rather than the differences between them.

15 When planning events involving people with disabilities, consider their needs ahead of time. Check into the accessibility of the building, and the types of activities being offered. If an insurmountable barrier exists, let the participants with disabilities know well ahead of time.


4.2.          Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

(Partially adapted from McBurney Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, brochure

on Learning Disabilities. Used with Permission.)


Attention Deficit Disorder IS NOT a form of mental illness. College students with ADD/ ADHD often have normal to above normal intelligence. However, some students with ADD/ADHD exhibit some learning disabilities in reading, math, speech, and/or language.


ADD/ADHD on the College Campus

Problems experienced by ADD /ADHD students are often compounded by college living conditions, which may mean a drastic change in the student's access to familiar support systems, such as family. Life in a residence hall can be full of distractions and provide very little privacy and/or few quiet places.


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a neurological condition that affects learning and behavior and occurs in approximately five to ten percent of the population. It begins in childhood, and though it was initially thought to be outgrown in adolescence, we now know that this is probably true for only about 40 to 60 percent of persons with ADD. Symptoms of ADD may not be as bothersome in adulthood, but they are still present to some degree.


There are two types of attention deficit disorders-Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Both disorders affect the attention or distractibility of the individual. However, the individual with ADHD exhibits decreased impulse control and is more likely to act out, while the individual with ADD is more likely to turn inward and exhibit shy or quiet behaviors.


Characteristics of ADD/ ADHD may include attention deficits, impulsivity, hyperactivity, mood swings, low frustration tolerance, and difficulty falling asleep at night. Some people may daydream, some may have difficulty completing tasks, and others may be disorganized and forgetful or may procrastinate. Some may even find it difficult to concentrate on reading.


A11 of the characteristics of ADD /ADHD have an impact on academic performance. Students with ADD/ADHD may have trouble with time management; initiating, maintaining, or shifting focus; completing assignments on time; organizing; and setting priorities.


Common Characteristics of Students with ADD/ADHD

·        Fidgetiness, squirminess, or constant restlessness (ADHD only)

·        Difficulty staying in his or her seat (ADHD only)

·        Exaggerated distractibility (lights, sound, or movements)

·        Difficulty concentrating

·        Difficulty waiting his or her turn - blurting out or interrupting others (ADHD only)

·        Difficulty paying attention

·        Difficulty completing tasks or projects after starting them

·        Difficulty listening (or does not seem to be listening - even though hearing is ok)

·        Disorganization (is often losing things such as school work or books)

·        Impulsivity (acts before thinking, often leading to risk-taking behavior - ADHD only)

·        Inability to follow directions

·        Extreme untidiness or neatness

·        Quiet or shy personality/behavior (ADD only)

·        Depression-like tendencies



Suggestions for Helping Students with ADD/ADHD Succeed in the Classroom

ü      Provide students with a detailed course syllabus. Make it available before registration, if possible. Clearly spell out expectations before the course begins (e.g., grading, material to be covered, and due dates). Include class-reading assignments to allow students with reading disabilities to access taped materials. (It takes an average of six to eight weeks to get a textbook taped.)


ü      Start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered that period. At the conclusion of the class, briefly summarize key points.


ü      Give assignments both orally and in writing.


ü      Present new and technical vocabulary on the chalkboard or use a student handout.


ü      Terms should be used in context to convey greater meaning.


ü      Facilitate use of tape recorders for note taking by allowing students to tape lectures. (This accommodation is mandated by law-see the note-taking portion of the Accommodations section of this manual.)


ü      Provide study questions for exams that demonstrate the format, as well as the content, of the test. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.


ü      If necessary, allow students with to demonstrate mastery of course material using alternative methods (e.g., extended time, oral exams, taped exams, individually proctored exams in a separate room free of distractions).


ü      Permit use of simple calculators, scratch paper, notes on index cards, and/or speller's dictionaries during exams.


ü      Allow students to take a break during long lecture periods.


ü      Speak directly to students, and use gestures and natural expressions to convey meaning.


ü      Use manipulatives when possible (e.g., puzzles, models, computer programs, etc.). Students with ADD/ADHD learn best when manipulating their materials.


ü      Allow students with ADD/ADHD to break exams into shorter segments, because maintaining attention is difficult for them. For example, let the student take a ten-page exam at two separate times, five pages at a time.


Interacting with People with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


Ø      Remember that people with attention deficit disorder are not being inattentive on purpose. Be patient and try to keep their attention by continually re-engaging them and making the conversation as personable as possible.


Ø      When conversing with a person with ADD select a quiet place without distractions.


Ø      People with ADD /ADHD may be impulsive and may act without much thought or planning. This may manifest itself in frequent interruptions or in changing the subject frequently and without any warning. These actions are not meant to be rude or impolite.


Ø      People with ADD most often have difficulty with time management and may frequently be late for appointments or meetings, or miss them entirely. Though there are certain actions that the person with ADD can take to compensate or remedy this problem, they cannot eliminate it completely. Therefore, it is important that instructors be patient and build reminders into the scheduling of appointments, etc. (reminder cards).


Ø      Disorganization may also be a serious problem. This is not a sign that the person with ADD does not respect others or the task at hand.


4.3.          Blind/Impaired Vision

The Student with a Visual Disability

(Adapted from North Texas State University brochure on Visually Impaired Students. Used with Permission.)


There are many degrees of visual disabilities; therefore, students with visual disabilities will sometimes be difficult to detect within the classroom or elsewhere. The student may appear to have little difficulty ambulating, reading from the chalkboard or overhead, and reading the textbooks. However, other students with visual disabilities will need the use of a special aid or appliance. Such devices may include magnifying glasses, monoculars, textbooks on tape cassette, special reading and note taking equipment, materials that are enlarged or Brailed, dog guides, or long white canes.


Visual Disabilities DO NOT affect the hearing or mental ability of the individual. Most students with visual disabilities have worked out their own ways of coping with their disabilities, and the instructor should be careful not to assume that the student cannot do the work in his or her class simply because of a visual disability. It is not necessary to lower academic standards, but it is necessary to work with the student to identify alternative methods of accomplishing tasks.


Most specialists agree that legal blindness includes vision as great as 20/70 or as little as 20/200. A person is "legally blind," therefore, when his or her vision (while wearing corrective lenses) does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye or whose visual field is less than an angle of 20 degrees. Ninety percent of individuals who are legally blind have some useful vision or light perception. The individual with 20/200 vision, while wearing glasses, would see less at 20 feet than a normal sighted person would see at 200 feet. He or she also does not have any distant vision, but does have useful near vision.


Total darkness is a visual disability that is rare and is referred to as "total blind-ness." Students who have visual disabilities, but are not totally blind, experience such problems as cloudy, blurred, or double vision; spots; loss of side vision; or loss of central vision. Vision that is limited to a narrow angle is sometimes called "tunnel vision." The various types of disabilities may appear alone or in combination, and all affect the student's ability to function in an educational setting.


Difficulties Encountered by Students with Visual Disabilities

Students who are partially or legally blind may experience such problems as:

·        recurring eyestrain while reading

·        inability to read standard size print, inability to read poor quality print

·        difficulty reading certain colors of ink, fluctuations in visual acuity

·        inability to see at night or in poorly-lighted areas



Students who are totally blind may experience such problems as:

·        distortion and difficulty in finding buildings or locations within buildings

·        necessity to rely upon readers or reading services to access printed material

·        necessity to rely upon sighted guides, dog guides, or canes for mobility/travel

·        difficulty in relating to instructions or information, which utilizes visual cues. Common verbal expressions may be meaningless to one who has never had vision.





Suggestions for Helping Students with Visual Disabilities Succeed in the Classroom


ü      At the beginning of the semester, ask the student with visual disabilities what special arrangements are needed. Some suggestions follow.


ü      Provide reading materials or syllabi in advance -- at least two months before beginning the semester. This allows time for ordering taped textbooks, recording texts that are not available on tape, and/or enlarging or Brailling of this material to be completed before the semester begins.


ü      Allow use of a tape recorder or other note-taking device (Brailler or slate and stylist) for note taking.


ü      Verbalize the content of transparencies, chalkboard or any other visual medium, and describe important content.


ü      Use of large type or Braille copies of materials may be helpful. Large-print copies of classroom materials can be provided by enlarging them on a photocopier.


ü      Team the student who has a visual disability with a sighted classmate for in-class and laboratory assignments. If a student is unable to perform a lab technique, a reasonable substitution may be that he or she does computations or calculations and describes or explains the procedures involved.


ü      Use a reader/scribe or tape tests for the student with visual disabilities and have the student type answers or answer on another tape. You must provide a suitable location for test administration, either in your area or at the Disability Resource Services office. (Use of the DRS office requires an advance request and appropriate arrangements.)


ü      Reserve front seats for students with visual disabilities and accommodate students with limited vision by seating them away from the window-to reduce interference from sunlight on the board.


ü      Face the class when speaking (i.e., use of overhead instead of chalkboard). Provide clear-possibly large print copies of tests and handouts.


ü      Students with partial or legal blindness may require extra time to complete tests, quizzes or in-class assignments.


ü      Provide alternative testing formats--oral, large print, tape, computer diskette, or Braille for the student with a visual disability.


ü      Give the students with visual disabilities an equal chance, but not an advantage, during tests. For example, do not let a blind student take the test at home without a proctor if the other students must do it in class.


ü      Avoid shouting, talking down to, or speaking through a third party to a student with a visual disability.


ü      Be flexible with assignment deadlines, especially if library research is required. When outside papers are assigned, students with visual disabilities must frequently hire extra readers to help with the research and to proofread. The student may need extra time to coordinate schedules with these readers.


ü      Consider an alternative assignment if a specific task is impossible or extremely difficult for the student with a visual disability to carry out.


Interacting with People With Visual Disabilities


Ø      Do not be afraid to laugh with the person.


Ø      Do not stare at or ignore people with disabilities.


Ø      Do not lower your academic standards for the person with a disability, though you may have to devise creative ways to assess the person's level of attainment.


Ø      Identify yourself (and those with you) when entering the presence of someone who is blind. When conversing in a group, remember to say the name of the person you are talking to, to avoid confusion. Speak in a normal tone of voice, indicate when you move from one place to another, and let it be known when the conversation is at an end.


Ø      When walking with a person who is severely visually disabled or blind, never grab the person's arm. Let the person take your arm; then walk a little ahead. Guide, rather than propel, the person.


Ø      Offer information about the immediate surroundings to a student who is visually disabled. For example, say, "There is a chair in the way about four feet ahead of you." Wait to be asked for further assistance.


Ø      As tempting as it may be, do not pet or distract the service dog of a person who is visually disabled. Doing so could put the owner in grave danger. The dog is specially trained and is a working animal.


Ø      Control background noise for a person who is visually disabled because the person may compensate for the loss of vision by developing sensitive auditory skills.



U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Regulations-Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973-states:

"Taping of class notes must be permitted if that is the request of the student with the physical or learning disability."


If an instructor plans to publish these materials, a request may be made that the tapes be erased after use for the class.



Lengthy assignments, in-class projects, and/or extra reading assignments that are not communicated early, and equipment breakdowns cause problems for students with visual disabilities. Due to the time consuming nature of taped-text listening, advance material availability will allow these students to maintain a level of equality in the academic setting.


4.4.          Closed Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury

The Student with a Head Injury (Adapted from North Texas State University brochure on Head Injury. Used with permission)


Head injury is the result of a blow to the head, the most common source being automobile accidents. The blow causes an injury to the brain, which can be a penetrating wound (open head injury) or a non-penetrating wound (closed head injury). The initial injury may have occurred on one side of the head, but because the brain is suspended in cerebral spinal fluid, functional disability can be widely spread. Every head injury is different in degree as well as rate and level of recovery.


When the head is injured, an individual's sensory, cognitive, emotional and motor abilities are often impaired. Common difficulties may be a lack of coordination, range of motion, mobility, or manual dexterity. Other limitations may involve loss of memory, space confusion, information processing, emotional instability, as well as loss in concentration, reasoning, or problem-solving skills. Interpersonal problems and/or social isolation may result from any one or a combination of these deficit areas. Rehabilitative retraining, time, and patience are the key elements of the recovery process for the person with a head injury.


Often--depending on the extent of the injury--the individual is able to regain partial, if not total, functional independence. Before the student with a head injury enters the university classroom, he or she has most probably developed specific strategies to assist in achieving academic success without major adjustments being made in course requirements. Adaptive aids and services are available to the student with a head injury to assist in compensating for skill weaknesses.


The best way to assist a student with a head injury is to ask him or her what particular needs or challenges may be occurring for the individual in your class. Working together, the two of you can usually find satisfactory ways for the student to complete requirements and to demonstrate learning. Specific suggestions, however, are available based on the area of disability (See sections of this manual that address vision, hearing, speech, mobility, etc.).


Remember that the objective in providing special accommodations is to eliminate the competitive disadvantage for students with disabilities--not to give these students a competitive edge. Reasonableness and mutually agreeable procedures should be the goal. Many instructors find that all students benefit when the suggested classroom accommodations are implemented.


4.5.          Deaf/Impaired Hearing

The Student with a Hearing Disability (Adapted from North Texas State University brochure on hearing impaired students. Used with Permission.)


There are two major categories of hearing disabilities--deafness and other hearing disabilities.

NOTE: Contrary to popular belief, hearing problems of even a mild degree interfere with learning and communication to a much greater extent than do visual problems.


Individuals who are hard of hearing--who have hearing disorders but are not totally deaf--may get some benefit from amplification (hearing aids). Many of these students will also depend on speech reading (lip reading) or sign interpreters to understand much of what is said.


Individuals who have total hearing loss or whose residual hearing is so minimal that they cannot use hearing for communication are rare. The degree of hearing loss will vary from student to student, as will the ability to use auditory and visual cues in understanding spoken communication.


Hearing disability DOES NOT affect the mental ability of the individual. Most students with hearing disabilities have worked out their own ways of coping with their disability. The instructor should be careful to consult the student early and throughout the semester to determine and make arrangements for needed adaptations.


Suggestions for Helping Students with Hearing Disabilities Succeed

in the Classroom


ü      At the beginning of each semester, ask the student what special arrangements will be needed. Some suggestions are:

·  Use a personal amplification device

·  Use a note taker.

·        Use an interpreter.


ü      Since students who are hard of hearing depend on speech reading (lip reading) to supplement what they miss auditorially:

ü      Be sure you can be clearly and easily seen from the student's seat, which is preferably in the front of the room.

ü      Do not lecture as you write on the chalkboard or read from overheads with your back to the class.

ü      Avoid lecturing with your back to a window. The bright lighting behind you obscures clear vision of your face, making it difficult to speech read.

ü      Speak at a normal rate without exaggerated lip movements.

ü      Avoid obscuring your face with your hands, notes, or books as you speak to the class.


ü      If possible, list major topics of the lecture or discussion on the board as they are presented. If the student with a hearing disability knows the specific topic of discussion, following the spoken information will be easier.


ü      Use as many visual aids as your class preparation time allows.


ü      Encourage the student with a hearing disability to ask questions right after class to clear up any uncertainties and to fill any gaps in the information that was received.


ü      Students with hearing disabilities use visual cues and abilities to gather information. Therefore, the accommodations they require are often of a visual nature.


ü      When a student with a hearing disability is seated in the front of the classroom, it is important that the instructor also teach from the front of the classroom to facilitate speech reading and other visual compensation techniques.


ü      A student with a hearing disability should be seated close to the front of the classroom with the good ear directed toward the instructor.


ü      Realize that students who are deaf and use a sign language interpreter will be a distraction to the class only for a short time. The newness and curiosity will wear off and will not present a lasting interference. The student needs to see the interpreter and the instructor at the same time.


ü      If possible, provide a detailed syllabus and/or lecture outline to the student with a hearing disability-especially if the lecture material is not covered in the textbook. Technical terms and names are difficult to speech read, so put this information on the chalkboard.


ü      Students with hearing disabilities are not able to simultaneously attend to visual aids and speech reading; therefore, allow these students time to shift their gaze from the visual aid to the speaker's lips before giving a verbal explanation.


ü      Use written captions on visual aids.


ü      Use gestures and facial expressions as you speak to convey meaning, emphasis, and variety-and reduce fatigue created by the need for constant visual attention. Ask the student for feedback on your presentation style (especially rate and volume).


ü      When another student asks a question, repeat the question before answering.


ü      In group discussions, allow the student with a hearing disability to select a seat where he or she can clearly see all the key speakers. Visual recognition of new speakers helps the student locate the current speaker and establish visual contact more quickly.


ü      Discourage any unnecessary talking by fellow students and close doors and windows to muffle external sounds. Since hearing aids are sensitive amplifiers, background noise and poor acoustics can cause difficulty for the person with a hearing disability.


ü      Provide light for speech reading or sign interpreting for people with hearing disabilities whenever the room is darkened. A small, high-intensity lamp should help.


ü      When using audio-visual equipment, it is essential to the student with hearing disabilities to have equal access to the audio information. Closed captioning, written transcript of the program, or a private viewing with special audio-enhancing equipment (such as dual control headphones) are the most reliable ways to provide this access.


Interacting with People with Hearing Disabilities


Speak directly to the person who is hearing disabled, whether or not there is an interpreter or companion present. Maintain eye contact with the student, not the interpreter.


Ø      Ask the student if he or she understood the information, if he or she appears confused.


Ø      Keep the environment as quiet as possible. Keep background noise to a minimum.

Ø      Tap the shoulder of a person with a hearing disability or wave your hand to get that person's attention.


Ø      Look directly at the person and speak clearly, at a normal rate and without exaggeration to establish if the person can read lips. Not all people with hearing disabilities can read lips. Those who do will rely on facial expression and other body language to help in understanding.


Ø      Place yourself facing the light source, and keep your hands and objects (food, pens, cigarettes) away from your mouth when speaking. Keep moustache well trimmed.


Ø      Shouting will not help; writing notes will.


4.6.          Hidden Disabilities

(Adapted from North Texas State University brochure on Hidden Disabilities. Used with Permission.)


Hidden disabilities include a vast range of disabling conditions that are not usually visible or readily detectable upon casual observation.


Among the vast range of disabling conditions that are not usually visible or readily detectable in students with hidden disabilities are the following:


Brain Injuries. Students who have experienced closed head injuries, stroke, cerebral tumors, or other types of injuries to the brain often have visible or readily detectable disabilities such as speech, hearing, and ambulation disorders.


Sometimes, however, disabilities are not apparent. Some students with brain injuries may be slow in comprehending information or may have difficulty understanding speech. They may also have some difficulty with reading, writing, and using numbers. Severe headaches, tremors, mild seizures, trouble with vision, decreased control over emotions, and decreased ability to function under stress may also characterize the student with a brain injury.


See additional information in the "Head Injuries" section in this manual.


Cardiovascular Disorders. This type of disability involves impaired function of the heart and/or coronary arteries. Fatigue, shortness of breath, limitation on physical activity, and decreased tolerance for stress are frequent results of this disorder.


Emotional Disorders. Emotional disorders have a wide range of symptoms and effects, from periodic confused thinking to extreme fear and tension, to deep depression. Students with such disabilities are usually individuals who have required treatment in hospital settings for significant psychological difficulty, but they may also be individuals who are currently working with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor.


Medication prescribed to alleviate emotional disabilities often interferes with concentration and attention. The stress of participating in tests or even in class may adversely affect the student with an emotional disability. In addition, fatigue may be a side effect of either the medication or the emotional state.


Neurological Disorders. This term covers many different disabilities which affect the way in which the brain and the nervous system function. Chemical imbalance in the brain and electrical discharges of brain cells are thought to be the causes of many common disorders. Such conditions are not connected in any way with intelligence or mental soundness.


Neurological disorders are most commonly characterized by recurrent seizures, which involve rigid, jerking movements and loss of consciousness for a period of a few seconds to several minutes. They may also be characterized by brief loss of consciousness (one to two seconds) accompanied by

staring, blinking, or mild facial twitching; or uncontrollable, purposeless actions such as lip smacking, chewing motions, fidgeting with clothing, involuntary repetition of sounds.

While medication can reduce the severity or somewhat control most neurological disorders, high levels of stress and occasional problems with medication levels may cause the student to experience nausea, display confusion, or exhibit extreme agitation.


If the individual does experience a seizure, it is usually not necessary to take action. It may be necessary, however, to ease the student to the floor, remove sharp objects from the area, and loosen tight clothing. When the seizure is over, allow the student to rest, as the experience is fatiguing and may leave the student somewhat disoriented for a short while. Hospitalization or emergency procedures are usually not necessary. Stay calm and return as soon as possible to the regular routine.


Neither seizures nor other manifestations of neurological disorders are life threatening, but they can be extremely embarrassing to the student and may cause social ostracism by others.


Musculo-skeletal Disorders. Certain disorders may primarily affect the bones, joints, or muscles, resulting in quite evident, visible disabling conditions. Osteoporosis, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, back injuries, scoliosis, polio, palsy, lupus, and muscular dystrophy are among common disorders or diseases, which affect the function of the muscles, joints, and bones.


However, students with musculo-skeletal disorders may be severely disabled by

conditions without obvious manifestations and without the need for assistive devices (e.g., crutches, wheel chair, etc.) which able-bodied persons often associate with them.


Limitations in mobility, the amount of weight the student can manipulate, the length of time the student can sit or stand, the range of motion, or reduced endurance or strength are common problems. Constant pain, fatigue, and side effects from a variety of medications may also affect the attention span, concentration, and the rate at which tasks can be accomplished. A special seating arrangement, permission to change positions-stand, sit, etc.or the provision of assistance with some physical tasks may be necessary for such students.


Respiratory Disorders. Asthma, severe allergies, and a number of diseases may cause problems with the intake of oxygen or its utilization. Molds, dust, pollen, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, and emotional and physical stress can make the problems so severe as to confine students to their homes to use air filters, oxygen, or special medications. Limitations on physical abilities, extreme fatigue, and drowsiness from medications are some of the problems students with respiratory disorders experience.


Systemic Disorders. A number of disorders and diseases affect the entire system. Among these are cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, anemia, hemophilia, heart disease, and a number of glandular disorders. Fatigue is one of the major concerns of many students with systemic disabilities, but pain may also be a constant or intermittent concern. Lowered resistance to infections or chemotherapy may also mean such students are frequently absent from class.


In the classroom


Most students with hidden disabilities have worked out their own ways of coping with their disabilities. They may not find it necessary to call upon the instructor for any type of assistance in accessing classroom instruction or finding alternative means of accomplishing tasks, but they may frequently need your understanding when absences occur, or in other circumstances caused by the hidden disability.


Most students with hidden disabilities will rarely experience any type of medical problem (seizure, heart attack, coma, etc.) in the classroom, since most such problems are controlled by medication. However, a calm response from the instructor and students is important in the event that an emergency should occur.



Protective Services officers are trained in emergency medical procedures and can assist if an ambulance is needed, or to transport a student to the Health Center or to the student's room in a residence hall.


Suggestions for Helping Students with Hidden Disabilities Succeed in the Classroom


ü      At the beginning of each semester, announce in class that any students who have a health problem or condition that they feel may need special accommodations in the classroom or while taking the course they should see you during office hours to discuss their specific needs.


ü      The best source of information about the student's needs is the student. Do not hesitate to make inquiries privately with students with disabilities. Most appreciate an objective approach to assessing and resolving any barriers to their full participation in the class.


ü      Ensure that every student has a complete course syllabus detailing requirements, assignments, grading system, absence policy, etc.


ü      Use the chalkboard or an overhead projector to outline lecture material, as well as presenting the material verbally.


ü      Emphasize important points and key concepts, unusual terminology, or foreign words.


ü      Write assignments on the board, in addition to giving them orally, if they are not part of the syllabus.


ü      Provide an opportunity for participation, questions, and discussion.


ü      Provide time (during office hours) for individual discussion of assignments and questions about lectures or readings.


ü      Provide a study guide for tests, study questions and review session to aid the student in mastering materials and preparing for exams.



When special arrangements for accessing classroom information or modifications of evaluation procedures are necessary, Disability Resource Services may be of assistance to the instructor. Please contact the Director of DRS at 785-6900.


4.7.          Orthopedic/Mobility

The Student with a Motor Disability

(Adapted from North Texas Student University brochure on Motor Impaired Students. Used with Permission.)


Motor Disabilities DO NOT affect the mental ability of the individual. Most individuals with motor disability-especially those congenitally disabled-have worked out their own ways of coping with the disability. Instructors should be careful not to assume that the student cannot do the work of the class simply because of the motor disability.


The need for adaptation varies among individuals; therefore, students with motor disabilities should be consulted regarding the areas and extent of adaptation necessary for them.


Motor disabilities include partial or total loss of the function of a body part, usually a limb or limbs, resulting in such problems as:

·        muscle weakness, poor stamina, lack of muscle control, or total paralysis.

·        spasticity, palsy, or other abnormality or motor functions, such as seizure disorders, lack of coordination, extreme slowness of movement, etc.

·        restrictions in range of motion due to pain of movement, stiffness paralysis, amputation, etc.


A student with a motor disability may be non-ambulatory or semi-ambulatory, or the student may be manually disabled.


Students who are non-ambulatory or semi-ambulatory may require:

·        wheel chair accessible facilities,

·        special seating easily accessible for students manipulating crutches or other mobility aids,

·        assistance or extra time in getting to or from a class.


A result of a student being manually disabled may be:

·        mechanical aids are used for taking notes, responding to quizzes, etc. (e.g., tape recorder, typewriter, lap top computer)

·        if no mechanical device is needed, the student may still fatigue quickly while writing or write much more slowly than students without disabilities.


Suggestions for Helping Students with Motor Disabilities Succeed

in the Classroom


ü      Communicate with the student to determine what, if any, special needs exist, and to what extent these can be accommodated. It may be easiest for the student to sit in the front of the room for ease of access, and to sit next to someone who is willing to assist in note taking.


ü      Provide adequate space for students in wheel chairs to maneuver.


ü      Arrange for a note taker to provide lecture notes when a mobility disability makes it impossible or very difficult to attend. A student with mobility disabilities may or may not need assistance to travel from one class to another.


ü      Make allowances for occasional tardiness. It may take the student longer to get around campus than it takes students without disabilities--especially in inclement weather. Most of these concerns should be considered and planned for during registration for classes.


ü      Recognize and accommodate the need of some students with motor disabilities to move or change positions frequently. This is not a sign of inattention.


ü      Understand that, depending on the cause of the disability, some individuals with motor disabilities may be prone to infections and illness that can result in frequent absences. If the student begins to miss class frequently, you may need to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement to make up work. Certainly, the student should meet the same requirements as other students for providing proof of illness, etc.


ü      Allow extra time to complete class assignments or tests when needed to accommodate a student with a motor disability. Alternative testing may need to be arranged with the student. If you are not able to accommodate the student in

your area, Disability Resource Services can proctor tests with advance notification and appropriate arrangement.


ü      Be flexible and creative with lab assignments. If equipment cannot be adapted so that the student can use it alone, the student may be paired with another student and perform the required tasks as a team. Another option would be that the student with a mobility disability adequately describe and explain the procedures involved.


ü      Plan accessible field trips, and observe the requirements to make alternative arrangements when accessibility is impossible.


Interacting with People with Motor Disabilities


Ø      Address a student in a wheel chair at eye level. This helps to avoid an unintended dominant/subordinate dynamic in the interaction. If talking for more than a few minutes, sit down or bend down to help the student avoid neck strain.


Ø      Do not take control of the person’s wheel chair without gaining permission or being asked. To do so would be similar to pushing, pulling or otherwise controlling the mobility of a non-disabled student.


Ø      Do not hold onto or lean on a person’s wheel chair. The wheel chair is considered his or her personal space.


Ø      Give your full attention to a person who has difficulty speaking. Encourage, rather than correct. Do not speak for the person—be patient and wait for his or her own words. When necessary, ask short questions that require short answers or even a nod or shake of the head.


Ø      Never pretend you understand if you do not. Most people with disabilities that affect speech are accustomed to repeating themselves and can tell if you try to “fake” understanding; so be honest. Repeat what you understand. The persons’ reactions will clue you in and guide you to understand.


Ø      When introduced to a person with a disability, offer to shake hands even if the disability affects the right hand or arm. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually shake hands. If the person has no use of the right hand/arm, shaking hands with the left hand is an acceptable greeting.



4.8.          Psychiatric/Psychological Disorders

(Adapted from Psychiatric Disabilities. University of Minnesota. Used with Permission.)


Psychiatric disabilities is the term used to refer to conditions such as bi-polar disorder, depression, personality disorders and schizophrenia. The term may also refer to affective disorders or mood disorders.


Affective or mood disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions characterized by disturbances of a person's mood and affect-most often depression, but elation (mania) can also occur. The mood disorders are divided into two types. The depressive disorders include major depression, dysthymic disorders, and adjustment disorders with depressed mood. The prominent feature of these conditions is depression.


The bipolar disorders form the second category. These include the mixed, manic, depressed, and cyclothymic disorders, and are characterized by alterations in mood.


Psychiatric problems affect people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. With appropriate treatment, the vast majority of psychiatric disorders are effectively cured or controlled. Treatment, which often combines medications and psycho-therapy, can effectively stop acute symptoms in 80 percent of those living with schizophrenia, end the terror of phobic disorders, and halt the downward spiral in approximately 90 percent of those living with depressive disorders.


Common Characteristics of College Students with Psychiatric Disabilities



·        Short term memory problems

·        Time management problems

·        Extreme self-absorption

·        Concentration problems

·        Difficulty screening noise

·        Distractibility



·        Impulsiveness

·        Repetitive motion

·        Acting out behavior

·        Pacing

·        Difficulty maintaining stamina



·        Auditory and visual hallucinations



·        Lack of affect

·        Speech may be rambling, halting, weak, or pressured

·        Feelings of fear or anxiety

·        Difficulty in initiating interpersonal contact


Side Effects of Medication

·        Drowsiness

·        Fatigue

·        Thirst

·        Blurred vision

·        Hand tremors

·        Concentration (especially when changing medications)


Suggestions for Helping Students with Psychiatric Disabilities Succeed in the Classroom

Reasonable academic accommodations for students with psychiatric disabilities include:

ü      Encourage disclosure of functional limitations

ü      Provide extra time on assignments and exams

ü      Provide private, quiet test-taking environment

ü      Provide an advance syllabus

ü      Provide alternative seating arrangements

ü      Provide access to instructors' office hours

ü      Allow for breaks during instruction

ü      Provide honest feedback when behavior is inappropriate and talk about alternative behaviors

ü      Elicit volunteer note takers

ü      Allow tape recording of lectures

ü      Provide access to a liaison support person

ü      Assist with completing forms

ü      Refer to campus and community resources

ü      Ensure access to mentoring

ü      Consider allowing less than full-time involvement in programs

ü      Expect periodic absences due to relapse

ü      Consider issuing incompletes rather than failures if a relapse occurs


4.9.          Specific Learning Disabilities

The Student with a Learning Disability

(Adapted from University of Wisconsin-Madison, McBurney Center, brochure

on Learning Disabilities. Used with Permission.)


A learning disability IS NOT a form of mental retardation nor an emotional disorder.


A learning disability (LD) is a permanent disorder which affects the manner in which individuals with normal or above normal intelligence take in, retain, and express information. The experience is similar to interference on the radio or a fuzzy TV picture--incoming or outgoing information may become scrambled as it travels between the eye, ear, or skin and the brain.


Learning disabilities in adults is commonly recognized by deficits in one or more of the following areas: reading comprehension, spelling, written expression, math computations, and problem solving. Less frequent, but no less troublesome, are problems in organizational skills.


Many adults who are LD may also have language-based and/or perceptual problems. Quality and timeliness of work is often inconsistent. The LD may present problems on Monday, but not on Tuesday. It may cause problems throughout grade school, seem to disappear during high school, and resurface in college. It may manifest itself in only one specific academic area, such as math or foreign language.


Persons with learning disabilities often have to deal not only with functional limitations, but also with the frustration of having to "prove" that their invisible disability may be as handicapping as paraplegia.


Disclosure of this disability is often difficult because it is not obvious and, therefore, it may be more difficult to gain the acceptance and understanding of the instructor.


Sensitivity and understanding are essential for the disclosure process to be comfortable and productive to both parties.


Common Characteristics of College Students with Learning Disabilities




It is important to note that a person with a learning disability has areas of strengths (average or above) as well as weaknesses. This strength and weakness combination is one of the requirements for diagnosing a learning disability. For example, the student may be a "whiz" at math or science but is behind in written or spoken language skills. The learning disability does not mean a decreased intelligence, just a disability in one or more areas of learning or memory.


Reading Skills

Slow reading rate and/or difficulty in modifying reading rate in accordance with material difficulty

·        Poor comprehension and retention

·        Difficulty identifying important points and themes

·        Poor mastery of phonics, confusion of similar words, difficulty integrating new vocabulary


Written Language Skills

·        Difficulty with sentence structure (e.g., omissions, substitutions, trans-positions), especially in specialized and foreign vocabulary

·        Inability to copy correctly from a book or the chalk board

·        Slowness in writing

·        Poor penmanship (e.g., poorly formed letters, incorrect use of capitalization, trouble with spacing, overly large handwriting)


Oral Language Skills

·        Inability to concentrate in and comprehend oral language

·        Difficulty in orally expressing ideas which he/she seems to under-stand

·        Less ability in written expression than in oral expression

·        Difficulty in speaking grammatically correct English

·        Inability to tell a story in proper sequence


Mathematical Skills

·        Incomplete mastery of basic facts (e.g., mathematical tables)

·        Reversal of numbers (e.g., 123 to 321 or 231)

·        Confusion of operational symbols, especially + and y

·        Copying problems incorrectly from one line to another

·        Difficulty in recalling the sequence of operational processes

·        Inability to understand and retain abstract concepts

·        Difficulty in comprehending word problems

·        Reasoning deficits


Organizational and Study Skills

·        Time management difficulties

·        Slowness in starting and completing tasks

·        Repeated inability, on a day-to-day basis, to recall what has been taught

·        Difficulty in following oral and/or written directions

·        Lack of overall organization in written notes and compositions

·        Apparent short attention span during lectures

·        Inefficient use of library reference materials


Social Skills

·        Time management difficulties

·        Some adults with learning disabilities may have social skill problems due to their inconsistent perceptual abilities.

·        For the same reason that a person with visual perception problems may have trouble discriminating between a joking wink and a disgusted glance, people with perception problems might not notice the difference between sincere and sarcastic remarks, or may not be able to recognize other subtle changes in tone of voice. These difficulties in interpreting nonverbal messages may result in lower self esteem for some adults with LD and may cause them to have trouble meeting people, working cooperatively with others,


for and making friends.


Interacting with People with Learning Disabilities

Ø      Be aware that some people with learning disabilities may have trouble decoding body language and tones of voices. Do not expect that everyone will be able to "read you" correctly.


Ø      Some people with learning disabilities may have difficulty understanding spoken language, so speak slightly more slowly, and with more expression. The student with a learning disability may need longer to process what has been said. Be patient. Written reminders, lists, and diagrams may be of assistance.


Ø      Try to communicate as directly and concretely as possible to avoid misunderstanding, since persons with learning disabilities may have difficulties understanding the subtleties of language. They may not understand the meaning of common colloquialisms or popular sayings, and may interpret them literally.


Ø      Persons with learning disabilities may speak more slowly and with more pauses, due to difficulties with the word retrieval process. Again, be patient.


Ø      Be aware that people with learning disabilities may have difficulty remembering very familiar things, such as phone numbers, addresses, names of friends, etc. Writing down information to be remembered may be helpful. Do not take these lapses in memory personally.




ü      Make the syllabus available four to six weeks prior to the start of the quarter or semester, and, if possible, be accessible to discuss it before class starts up.


ü      Begin a discussions and lectures with a brief review and then introductory overview of topics to be covered.


ü      Use transparencies, overheads, or the chalkboard to reinforce oral instruction, especially in the form of outlines. Highlight key words and concepts.


ü      Keep all visuals legible.


ü      Emphasize key concepts and main points in writing and orally.


ü      Give assignments orally and in writing and be available for further clarification.


ü      Provide opportunities for cooperative work.


ü      Provide time for individual clarification of assignments and concepts.


ü      Provide study guides and review sessions for exams.


ü      Allow tape-recorded assignments and/or oral presentations in lieu of written ones.


ü      Modify evaluation procedures if necessary. Some suggestions might include permitting untimed tests; oral or tape-recorded or typed exams; alternatives to exams; provision of adequate scratch a lined paper for students with poor handwriting; offering alternatives to computer scored answer sheets. Some students with learning disabilities will show improved performance if timed tests are given in two parts. Others benefit if exam typefaces are enlarged.


4.10.          Temporary Medical Condition

For a temporary medical condition, a handicapped-parking sticker (bring a doctor’s recommendation) can be obtained at protective Services Information Center, 789-9000. If an extended absence notification (more than one week) or withdrawal from the University, including medical withdrawal, is needed, contact the Student Life Office, 149 Main Hall, 785-8062. If residence hall accessibility is needed, contact Residence Life, 213 Wilder Hall, 785-8075. If classroom notes or assistance is needed, contact the course instructor.

4.11.      Tips for Faculty that Facilitate Student Learning

ü      Provide students with a detailed course syllabus. Make it available before registration, if possible. Clearly spell out expectations before the course begins (e.g., grading, materials to be covered, due dates).


ü      Start each lecture with an outline of the material to be covered that period. At the conclusion of class, briefly summarize main points.


ü      Speak directly to students, and use gestures and natural expressions to convey meaning.


ü      Present new or technical vocabulary on the chalkboard, or use a student handout. Terms should be used in context to

ü      convey greater meaning.


ü      Announce reading assignments well in advance for students who are using taped material. (It takes an average of six to eight weeks to get a book tape-recorded.)


ü      Facilitate use of tape recorders for note taking by allowing students to tape record lectures.


ü      Provide study questions for exams that demonstrate the format, as well as the content, of the test. Explain what

ü      constitutes a good answer and why.


ü      If necessary, allow students with LD to demonstrate mastery of course materials using alternative methods (e.g., extended time limits for testing, oral exams, taped exams, individually proctored exams in a separate room).


ü      Permit the use of simple calculators, scratch paper, and speller's dictionaries during exams. Provide adequate opportunities for questions and answers, including review sessions.


ü      If possible, select a textbook with an accompanying study guide.


ü      Allow students with learning disabilities to break exams into shorter segments. For example, let the student take a ten-page exam at two separate times-five pages at a time.


ü      Note that a student with a learning disability may manifest one or more of the above characteristics.


ü      Note the following Disability Compliance Checklist:


Disability Compliance Checklist:


·        Stand by academic standards and freedoms. Full and equitable access to academic programs serves as the foundation to standards and freedoms.


·        Communicate clear and concise expectations for performances to your students. Care should be taken to distinguish between essential and non-essential components of the course.


·        Allow reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are changes in the way things are done and affect only non-essential aspects of a course. They are reasonable so long as course standards are not fundamentally altered.


·        Notify students of your willingness to accommodate. This can be done verbally during lectures and in writing within a course syllabus. DRS recommends both. One might say “Students with disabilities are welcome to discuss accommodations with me.”


·        Consult with the student and DRS office/advisor. Any student should generate his or her own requests for accommodations. Requests ought to be backed up by evidence of the need for accommodations. (click here) A sensible link between the disability’s functional limitations and the accommodation requested must be supported. Students present written documentation of their disability. Faculty should verify the existence of the disability and need for accommodation with the student, DRS or another authority. DRS recommends that written verification come from our office. We furnish everything relevant an instructor needs to know.


·        Permit students to use auxiliary aides and technologies, which ensure access. Depending on the disability, students may use note takers, sign language interpreters, readers, scribes, and research assistants. Others may use tape recorders/players, computers, assistive listening devices, and other technologies for the same purpose.


·        When requested, provide alternatives to printed information such as Braille, computer electronic text, large print, and tape cassettes. If Internet resources and other technologies are used, then they must be accessible to students with disabilities as they are for other students. DRS can produce some of these alternative formats.


·        Make academic adjustments in instruction. Some students need lectures to face the audience while speaking. Others may need written or graphic information spoken aloud or described. Adjustments such as these may be made after the student requests them.


·        Grant testing accommodations. Again, depending on the particular needs of a student, it may be necessary to extend testing times, change testing formats, test in a quiet environment, and so on. Instructors may accommodate independently or use DRS test accommodation services.


·        Regard disability-related discussions and information with the strictest confidentiality. No professor has the right to destroy program access by ignoring confidentiality.


4.12.      University of La Crosse Emergency Response Policy

·        Determine if the event is a life threatening or non-life threatening emergency.

·        Call 911 to report any life-threatening emergency to local authorities. Provide follow-up notification to Protective Services at 789-9999.

·        Call 789-9999 to report all other emergencies to Protective Services.

·        Call 785-8000 for other campus dispatch/switchboard emergencies requests for assistance or information.


A life-threatening emergency is an unforeseen event in which there is a clear potential for serious injury to a person if immediate action is not taken. If in doubt, consider the emergency life threatening.


An emergency is an unforeseen event that calls for immediate action to protect individuals, the environment or property.


There may be an occasion when a student’s condition needs immediate intervention in the classroom. The most likely examples are seizures, diabetic shock (insulin reaction, and heart attacks. Should such a situation arise, call Protective Services immediately. Give the building name, room number, and a description of the emergency.


Although an ambulance is usually not needed for most seizure incidents and insulin reactions, Protective Services may request an ambulance, or may transport the student to a hospital, clinic or the UW- La Crosse Health Center, if needed. Protective Services can also provide transportation to the student’s room in a residence hall.



Section 5.      Access to the University


5.1.          Activities: Theatre, guest speakers.

All departments and offices offering special activities are encouraged to hold them in fully accessible buildings and rooms.  There should also be an announcement in programs for a person who needs special accommodations.  Please refer to Disability Access Statements on the web for appropriate statements.


5.2.          Admissions, Readmissions, and Registration

Some students with disabilities may qualify for assistance with registration.

DRS advisors will assist students with pre-registration. Students are encouraged to do pre-planning with their assigned academic advisor, as well as to obtain their SNAP report and the checklist of requirements for their major before meeting with DRS advisors. DRS advisors will also help other students with disabilities plan and register during their regular registration time slot as needed. DRS advisors are primarily responsible to assist students with disability-related choices of classes. For example, a student with a reading disability should not take two courses that entail heavy reading in one semester.


5.3.          Advising – Academic



Academic Advising at UW-L




A key ingredient to your success as a student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is for you to become acquainted with Academic Advising opportunities. This page serves as a "roadmap" to guide you on your way to graduation. A complete set of directions is available in the UW-La Crosse UNDERGRADUATE CATALOG, an important publication that contains the answers to all of your questions.

"UW-L has numerous advising resources to assist students. At the heart of the advising program is the relationship between students and their respective faculty advisers that seeks to assist students in clarifying their education and life goals. Other campus resources include knowledgeable Assistants to the Deans in each college, special advisers for pre-professional and transfer students, the Academic Discovery Lab (ADL) in Wilder Hall, the new peer advising program housed in the ADL, and helpful Student Notice of Academic Progress (SNAP) Reports to help you track your graduation requirements. We encourage you to take advantage of all of these resources to help you make the most of your undergraduate experience at UW-La Crosse."

--Doug Hastad


UW-L Organizational Structure
Advising at UW-L
Academic Departments
Undecided Majors
Campus Resources


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UW-L Organizational Structure:


Understanding the organization of the university is essential to reaching your final destination. When you applied for admission, you were assigned to one of four colleges or two schools, based on the major you indicated on your application form. The university is organized into these major academic units:

All departments, schools and colleges within the university establish certain requirements which must be met before a degree can be granted. At UW-La Crosse, you are required to complete general education, college core, major, and graduation requirements outlined in the UNDERGRADUATE CATALOG in effect at the time you were admitted to the university.

GENERAL EDUCATION is the common educational experience required of all undergraduates. Courses are selected in categories such as literacy, math and logical systems, science, social studies, arts and humanities, and physical well being. The knowledge and skills acquired in this broad base of academic study prepare you to enter society with the ability to question, think and act independently.

COLLEGE CORE is a set of required courses determined by the college that offers your major. The major and college core determine the degree awarded--bachelor of science or bachelor of arts. The bachelor of science degree generally requires additional courses (beyond general education) in mathematics/science; the bachelor of arts degree requires competency in a foreign language.

MAJOR requirements are determined by each department to ensure that you acquire a sound understanding of your chosen discipline. Some majors have additional requirements necessary for certification or accreditation as prescribed by external agencies or accrediting groups.

GRADUATION requirements include minimum credits overall, minimum credits at the 300/400 level, minimum cumulative grade point averages, and the minimum number of credits you need to earn in residence at UW-L.

FOUR-YEAR GRADUATION AGREEMENT offers entering freshman students the opportunity to participate in an agreement that ensures graduation within four years of your initial enrollment. More information about the conditions of the four-year agreement is available from your dean's office.


Advising At UW-L :


ACADEMIC ADVISING is critical to your progress toward meeting degree requirements. Your number one source of advising is your faculty adviser. It is important for you to consult your adviser regarding program development, major and career choices and concerns, course sequencing and selection. In addition, many resources exist on campus to assist you with academic and non-academic issues. Please refer to our extensive online list of resources.

FACULTY ADVISERS are assigned to each undergraduate student based on academic major. If you have not declared a major (and, therefore, are "undeclared"), you will be assigned a faculty adviser in the college or school with which you have affiliated. To learn who your adviser is, contact the office of your college dean. New freshmen are notified of their adviser assignment before coming to campus. Once you know who your adviser is, you may visit him or her in person, call or email. Phone numbers, office locations and email addresses may be found online at http://www.uwlax.edu/directory/.

You are encouraged to connect with your adviser early in your college career, and you should schedule a minimum of one conference each semester. Your faculty adviser is available to review your program requirements, interpret your SNAP report, recommend future course selection, and discuss your overall career plans and goals. Meeting with your adviser is an important step in the registration process, and several departments require advising before registration.

Prior to the registration period (November in the fall semester and April in the spring semester), your adviser will receive an updated version of your SNAP report. The registration period is an opportune time to meet with your adviser. Stop in at his or her office or call to make an appointment.

ADDITIONAL ADVISING ASSISTANCE is available to new transfer students, undeclared students, and pre-professional students. Please contact one of the individuals below if you have questions in these areas.

ENTERING TRANSFER STUDENTS in College of Liberal Studies, College of Science & Allied Health, and School of Education.

Mr. Timothy Walls
106 Graff Main Hall
(608) 785-6634


Mr. Timothy Walls
106 Graff Main Hall
(608) 785-6634


Mr. Troy Richter
240D Morris Hall
(608) 785-8650

ASSISTANTS TO THE DEANS are available in each college dean's office to interpret and carry out university policy for the college. You should contact them regarding graduation requirements, change of majors/minors, inter-college transfers, admission to programs, academic action appeals, petitions for exceptions to curriculum requirements and policies, and transfer credit evaluations. Assistants to the deans are also available to answer questions and give advice on a variety of other topics related to your collegiate experience.

Ms. Amelia Dittman
223 North Hall
(608) 785-8090

Ms. Theda Holder
125 Mitchell Hall
(608) 785-8653

Ms. Sandy Keller
220 Morris Hall

Ms. Chris Bakkum (Social Sciences)
227 Graff Main Hall
(608) 785-8113
Ms. Kathy Elgin (Humanities)
227 Graff Main Hall
(608) 785-8113

Ms. Kathy Elgin
227 Graff Main Hall
(608) 785-8113

Ms. Carla Burkhardt
105 Graff Main Hall
(608) 785-8218


Academic Departments:


The following is a list of departments within each of the six colleges/schools. Some departments offer multiple majors/minors. A complete listing of all majors, minors, concentrations, emphases and programs is available in the UNDERGRADUATE CATALOG. Additional information can also be found in the Academic Discovery Lab in Wilder Hall.


ENGLISH (B.A. only)



       TEACHER EDUCATION (B.S. degree)



MAJORS generally consist of 32-40 credits from one department and are designed to give you an in-depth understanding of your primary field of interest. (Some majors are more than 40 credits because of certification or accreditation requirements.)

MINORS are designed to complement your major career interest or personal interest. Minors usually require 18-24 credits from one department. (Some majors require completion of a minor.)

CONCENTRATIONS, EMPHASES and PROGRAMS are specialized, approved curricula ranging from 15-24 credits, which provide an interdisciplinary approach to the study of a specific topic. Examples include: gerontology emphasis, child/youth care concentration, general honors program, etc.






Undecided Majors:


ALL INCOMING STUDENTS must declare an affiliation with one of the UW-L colleges or schools. While new students may also declare a major at this time, they are not required to do so. UW-L believes that early affiliation with a college or school will facilitate a better academic advising experience for you.

UW-L recognizes that changing majors and re-thinking career decisions is a common and expected occurrence among students. You may lack sufficient academic and career information or experience problems associated with your initial choice of major. In response, the university offers a variety of services to help you learn about careers, identify your interests and skills, generate options, and discuss your plans for making these important decisions.

THE ACADEMIC DISCOVERY LAB is located in Wilder Hall. The lab has been established to improve and extend services to those students who are undecided about their academic plans or have decided to change majors or career directions. 

The lab functions as part of an advising referral network that is coordinated with the colleges, departments, and faculty advisers. Academic Discovery Lab staff provide the following services:

  • Individual meetings with students who are uncertain about their academic major or career choice.
  • Academic and career information on all majors, minors, concentrations, emphases and programs at UW-L.
  • Access to written materials, videotapes, UW-L alumni, and electronic information to assist students in their academic and career decision-making.
  • Professional consultations along with the computer assisted DISCOVER, WCIS (Wisconsin Career Information System), and world wide web programs to help students learn how their interests and skills match with possible majors and occupations.
  • Personal referrals to faculty advisers in academic departments/programs.
  • Career resources for faculty directed assignments related to their discipline.
  • Confidential referrals for vocational testing and career counseling to resolve career problems and conflicts.
  • Centralized information about institutional policies, procedures, and resources at UW-L.

The Academic Discovery Lab also sponsors an academic majors fair where students can talk to professors and gather literature on academic programs at UW-L. Students, especially freshmen, are strongly advised to visit the Academic Discovery Lab.

Undeclared, pre-professional and transfer student advising is available through your dean's office. For more information contact your dean's office.

PEER ADVISING LAB (PAL) is located in the lower level of Wilder Hall in the Academic Discovery Lab. It adds a student-to-student component for the advising system.

Peer advisers can be a resource to help students understand the process of registration, academic planning and major selection. They will refer students to appropriate campus offices for further assistance with academic, career or personal concerns.

SNAP SEARCH is a service which allows you to request a "what if" SNAP report. You can find out exactly which courses you would need to complete for any major/minor. You may request a SNAP search at the transcript window outside the Office of Records and Registration, 117 Graff Main Hall. The report will be available the next working day after 10:00 a.m. There is a $1.00 fee for this service.

MAJOR/MINOR CHANGES require completion of a "Change of Program" form, available in your college dean's office.  Declaring a new major will change your faculty adviser to a member of the department of your newly declared major. You must be in good academic standing to change your college/school. The College of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Teacher Education requires a 2.50 cumulative grade point average to be eligible to transfer into their programs. Major/minor changes should be done before mid-semester.


Campus Resources:



    Basement, Cartwright Center


    165 Murphy Library
    1st Floor, Health Science Center
    Lobby, Cartwright Center


    109 Wilder Hall



Faculty advisors are assigned to each student based on academic major. The dean’s assistant in the appropriate college notifies students of this assignment. Advisors may be consulted for program development, major and career choices and concerns, curse sequencing and selection. Students should schedule a minimum of one conference per semester with their advisors. Frequently, this is done when planning next semester’s class schedule. Advisors receive SNAP (Student notice of Academic Progress reports for each advisee a few weeks prior to registration. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate contact with an advisor. Office hours are posted on their office doors.


Other advising resources include the Career Service Office, Counseling and Testing Center, and Academic Discovery Lab, all located in Wilder Hall. The staff in these offices provide academic, career and personal counseling, and make referrals when appropriate. These resources, particularly the Academic discovery Lab, are useful for students who are uncertain about an academic major or career.


Academic assistants to the deans are knowledgeable about university policies and procedures. They assign faculty advisors and notify students of their academic status. They determine whether students have completed all general education, college core, major, minor and university requirements for graduation. Students should schedule an appointment with the assistant in their college dean’s office one semester prior to graduation to confirm that all requirements will be met.


The SNAP report is an important advising tool. Each semester, a report is generated and sent to the student’s faculty advisor. The repot identifies requirements that have been completed and those that remain.


Using one’s SNAP is the best way to ensure that you are taking exactly the courses you need for graduation. SNAP search allows a student to get a SNAP report for any major. This provides an opportunity to determine how one’s courses fit into a different major, and what requirements would need to be met. SNAP reports and SNAP searches are available for minimal cost at the Records and Registration Office transcript window.


5.4.            Advising – Disability Resource Services

DRS assigns an advisor to each student with a disability who receives DRS services. This advisor helps to assess the student's needs, selects the appropriate accommodations, counsels, assists with educational and vocational planning, and makes referrals for further services.


5.5.          Attitudinal Accessibility

All students and staff need to address accessibility in all three of its environmental aspects:

·        Physical

·        Informational/technological

·        Attitudinal


Accessibility may refer to how easily a person with a disability can move around in and use the physical environment. However, accessibility also refers to more encompassing concepts such as informational and technological access and attitudinal access. The physical environment may, for example, allow students with disabilities to (or inhibit them from) gaining access to rest rooms, water fountains, entries, elevators, dining facilities, dormitories, grounds, buildings, and handicap parking.


The intention of recent laws regarding people with disabilities is to ensure that physical, architectural, and transportational barriers are removed so that facilities are accessible to everyone. All new facilities, or parts of facilities, constructed for University of Wisconsin use, must be designed and built so that they and their parts are useable to people with disabilities. They must also be in accordance with the State of Wisconsin's "Survey Guideline for Determining Building Accessibility" or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards-whichever promotes greater accessibility (Policy and Guidelines Applying to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability).


Just as people with physical disabilities can be inhibited from using physical facilities because of lack of adaptations, so may people with a variety of disabilities be inhibited from gaining access to informational and technological sources. Informational and technological access includes providing the adaptations required for all people to be able to use all aspects of reading, writing, speaking, listening and recording technology.


Even when the physical and info-technological adaptations are made to allow people with disabilities to have access to the same facilities and equipment, there may still remain invisible barriers that are even more limiting than the others-attitudinal barriers. Attitudes of a society or community are the driving force behind the number and type of adaptations it will make for people with different abilities. Attitudinal access on our campus requires the participation of disabled and non-disabled students, and employees of the university.


To provide attitudinal access, a community must provide conditions in which all people have the freedom to advocate for disability rights and awareness, and it must actively work-through education, training and exposure to reduce prejudice and discrimination against persons with disabilities.






Access for people with disabilities encompasses four environments: Physical, Programmatic/Policy,

Information, and Attitudinal. Assess the items below to help determine the accessibility of your unit.







1. Provides a wheelchair accessible location (elevators, wide hallways, lowered fountains and phones, ramps, accessible restrooms)

Completed In Progress N/A


2. Locates all equipment in wheelchair-accessible areas and the most frequently used materials on lowers shelves.

Completed In Progress N/A


3. Provides nearby disability parking.

Completed In Progress N/A


4. Schedules programs in accessible locations.

Completed In Progress N/A




5. Allows alternative admissions tests or test administration procedures.

Completed In Progress N/A


6. Keeps disability-related information about student confidential.

Completed In Progress N/A


7. Provides disability accommodations at events (e.g., interpreters).

Completed In Progress N/A


8. Includes a statement regarding availability of accommodations on all advertising.

Completed In Progress N/A


9. Adapts policies to allow for students’ disability-related needs:


allows students to borrow reserved material for taping or enlarging if not provided by the office.

Completed In Progress N/A

allows students with print-related disabilities to borrow materials for extended periods of time

or use computers for longer periods of time.

Completed In Progress N/A


allows part-time students with disabilities to participate in programs for full-time students.

Completed In Progress N/A



10. Consults with Disability services regarding specific disability issues.

Completed In Progress N/A




11. States on materials that they are available in alternative formats upon request.

Completed In Progress N/A


12. Produces materials in alternative media (braille, large print, audiotapes) upon request.

Completed In Progress N/A


13. Shows videos/films with closed or open captions.

Completed In Progress N/A


14. Provides a TTY (teletypewriter for phone communication with deaf people).

Completed In Progress N/A


15. Provides adaptive technology.

Completed In Progress N/A


16. Includes information about Disability Services in promotional material.

Completed In Progress N/A


17. Provides assistance to students who need:


Completed In Progress N/A

scribers (for exercises 7 inventories)

Completed In Progress N/A

assistance with operating equipment

Completed In Progress N/A

assistance with procuring materials

Completed In Progress N/A




18. Monitors the attitudes of staff toward individuals with disabilities.

Completed In Progress N/A


19. Encourages positive attitudes of non-disabled students toward individuals with disabilities.

Completed In Progress N/A


20. Includes in materials pictures of people with visible disabilities portrayed in a positive manner.

Completed In Progress N/A


21. Uses appropriate language to refer to people with disabilities.

  Completed In Progress     N/A



Adapted from Aase & Smith Accessibility Checklist, 1990







Suggestions for Making UW-L offices and work space Accessible


·        Arrange offices as closely to the recommended standard of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as possible. (Copies of these guidelines are available in the Disability Resource Services office and in Murphy Library.)


·        Have video, audio, large print, or Braille forms of important documents needed or used by students and employees with disabilities available.


·        Make materials more accessible to persons using wheelchairs by placing them on lower shelves.


·        Allow sufficient, unobstructed room in halls, offices, and waiting areas to accommodate people using wheelchairs or scooters. (A five-foot square area turning radius is recommended.)


·        Refrain from frequently or abruptly changing layout/furniture arrangements of offices (especially during academic periods) since people with visual disabilities depend on things being in the same places.


·        Uses the international wheelchair symbol in your office window if the space is accessible, thereby helping persons feel confident they will be able to access the services fairly independently.


Suggestions for Making STUDENT DEVELOPMENT SERVICES Accessible


Ø      Provide captioned videos, which inform and promote the university in such areas as the admissions office.


Ø      Include photographs of students with disabilities in University pamphlets, slides, videos, and other publications.


Ø      Provide academic support staff with basic training in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disability Act, accessibility, and disability awareness.


Ø      Encourage staff to attend disability awareness programs cosponsored by campus services and organizations (such as SAPA, IDAC, RIDS, and DRS).


Ø      Encourage/train staff to develop sensitivity to persons with disabilities.


Ø      For persons who advise and counsel students with disabilities, avoid directing students with disabilities into more restrictive career choices than those they would recommend for non-disabled students. This is a must for staff that advise and counsel students with disabilities.


Ø      Inquire about disability-related information and/or laws from qualified staff who specialize in disabilities or make an appropriate referral if uncertain about the information.


Ø      Make efforts to have adaptive equipment and/or resources available to students with disabilities in student service offices, libraries, and computer centers (such as adaptive computer equipment/software, enlarged print materials or the capability to enlarge via copier; Try for hearing disabled, electronic media such as audio or video taped material. Be prepared to assist students with disabilities (such as helping to secure inaccessible or out of reach materials and providing reading or writing assistance).


Ø      Conduct all programs and activities offered by the university in the most integrated settings appropriate.


Ø      Evaluate classes, programs, and activities that are to be held off campus in private facilities in light of their accessibility. Ml registration forms should provide a place where persons with disabilities can indicate what types of accommodations they will require to facilitate the accommodation process.


Ø      Provide food/housing services to students with disabilities that is "comparable, convenient, and accessible" as the services provided to non-disabled students. These services must be provided to students with disabilities at the same cost (Policy and Guidelines Applying to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability).


Ø      Identify any units that are accessible if the campus maintains a list of off-campus housing.

Suggestions for Making ATHLETICS AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION Accessible


Ø      Encourage students with disabilities to participate in adaptive physical education classes, rather than securing waivers.


Ø      Encourage students to participate in any recreational, intramural or special athletic activities and to request reason-able accommodations for participation.


Ø      Ensure that athletic spectator event areas are accessible to persons with disabilities (such as having accessibility for wheel chairs to gymnasiums and athletic fields).


Ø      Offer separate and different programs and activities, provided in the most integrated setting appropriate, if students are unable by reason of their disability to participate in the regularly offered physical education courses or compete in the athletic programs. If accommodation is not possible in a required course, a substitution procedure should be in place.


Suggestions for Making building and grounds Accessible


·        Take care to remove barriers such as cleaning carts, waste receptacles, or wet floor signs placed in and around elevators, doorways, or in normal traffic areas that may interfere with the mobility of persons with visual or mobility disabilities.


·        Assure paths are at least 36 inches wide accommodate users of wheelchairs.


·        Provide signage to rooms and in elevators for persons with visual disabilities.


·        Ensure an accessible and safe living environment in dormitory and dining areas by keeping pathways free of obstruction, avoiding major furnishing changes without properly orienting students who regularly access the area and by meeting requirements for safe exiting in case of emergency.


·        Provide prompt and adequate snow removal from sidewalks, curb cuts, and other access areas. (Paths must be at least 36 inches wide.)


·        When parking university and other vehicles on campus, be sure they are out of the normal path of pedestrian traffic, and provide safe access facilities for individuals with visual or mobility disabilities.


·        Provide appropriate use of handicapped parking spaces and report any misuse to Protective Services.


5.6.            Bookstore

The University Bookstore is wheelchair accessible, and will assist students in receiving textbooks in advance. A form is available from the Accommodations Manager in the DRS office.


5.7.            Continuing Education

For Continuing Education and Extension (CEE) credit outreach courses and non-credit conferences and workshops, off-campus facilities are required to be ADA accessible. Registrants who need special accommodations are asked to provide that information to CEE at the time of registration or at least two weeks prior to the program.

5.8.            Counseling and Testing Center

The Counseling and Testing Center is fully accessible and is available free of charge to currently enrolled UWL students. Please contact them at 785-8073 or ctc@uwlax.edu if you have any questions about eligibility, confidentiality, or the services that are available to students. 


5.9.            Emergency Procedure

Recommendations for Persons With Disabilities or Persons Who Provide Assistance to Those With Disabilities:


1. Contact the Disability Resource Services Office to discuss building evacuation procedures for individuals with disabilities.


2. Identify in advance possible volunteers, such as classmates, roommates, Residence Hall staff, faculty or fellow workers who are willing and able to assist you during an evacuation. Make specific arrangements for their assistance.


3. If you are unable to exit a building, contact Protective Services or civil authorities or arrange for others to inform Protective Services or civil authorities of your location.


4. Know the safest method people could use to assist you. Know how many people you need to provide you that assistance.


5. If you use a wheelchair, be prepared to explain how and where persons should support you. Practice instructions beforehand.


6. If you have difficulty being understood, develop a card containing all appropriate instructions and carry it with you.


7. Carry a loud whistle or similar device you can operate, for use in the event you become trapped.


8. While attending class or meetings, position yourself near a doorway for easier exit. Do not block doorway.



Evacuation Options During a Fire Alarm


Horizontal Evacuation: Move away from the area of imminent danger to a safe distance (i.e., another wing, an adjoining building, opposite end of the corridor, or outside if on the ground level).


Vertical (Stairway) Evacuation: Stairways can be used by those who are able to evacuate with or without assistance. Persons with sight disability may require the assistance of a sighted person. Persons who must use crutches or other devices as walking aids will need to use their own discretion, especially when there are several flights of stairs.


Stay in Place: Unless danger is imminent, remain in a room with an exterior window and a telephone, closing the door if possible. Call the campus emergency number, 789-9999 and give your name, location, and reason you are calling. Protective Services will relay the information to on-scene emergency personnel. Phone lines normally remain in service during most building emergencies. If the phone lines fail, the individual can signal from the window by waving a cloth or other visible object.


Area of Refuge: If the person with disability cannot get far enough away from the danger by using horizontal evacuation, then that person should seek an area of refuge. Usually, the safest areas of refuge are stairwells with fire rated doors. All stairwells with doors that are self-closing are fire-rated. Taking a position in a corridor next to the stairs is a good alternative to a small stair landing crowded with the other building occupants using the stairway. If you need to select an alternate area of refuge seek a space with a telephone, window and fire rated construction.


Disability Guidelines


Mobility Impaired (Wheelchair): Persons using wheelchairs should stay in place or proceed to a more safe location during an emergency. If present, an assistant should exit the building and tell emergency personnel the location of the person with disability. If no assistant is present, the person with disability should locate a telephone and contact the campus emergency number at 789-9999. Persons calling this emergency number should provide their present or planned location and any need for assistance.


Mobility Impaired (Non-Wheelchair): Persons with mobility impairments may be able to use stairs in an emergency. If danger is imminent, the individual should wait until the heavy traffic has cleared before attempting the stairs. If there is no immediate danger (smoke, fire, or unusual odor), the person with disability may choose to stay in place or move to an area of refuge, until emergency personnel arrive.


Hearing Impaired: Some buildings on campus are equipped with fire alarm strobes that flash strobe lights during an emergency. Persons with hearing impairments may not notice the strobe light or hear the alarm horn and will need to be alerted of emergency situations.


Visually Impaired: All buildings on campus are equipped with fire alarm horns that sound during an emergency. Since the emergency evacuation route is likely different from the commonly traveled route, persons who are visually impaired may need assistance in evacuating. A person assisting can offer guidance to the individual with a disability.


Residence Halls


Students with disability need to make their location known and should register their room number and description of disability with the Hall Director. The director will keep this record confidential and make it available only to responding emergency personnel for the purpose of locating persons during an emergency.


Students with temporary disability should also register their room number and description of disability with the Hall Director. These students should let the Director know when there is no longer any disability so his/her name can be removed from the record.


During an emergency requiring evacuation, students with disability should decide whether they should exit the building or stay in their rooms. If staying in their rooms, the students with disability or an assistant should call the campus emergency number at 789-9999. They should inform the dispatcher of their location and reason for calling. The dispatcher will relay the information to Protective Services and/or the responding emergency personnel. If evacuation is chosen, carry your room key with you in case a return to the room is warranted because of a blocked exit.


Residence Hall rooms qualify as areas of refuge because a telephone is available, the doors, walls and ceiling are fire-rated and rooms have windows.


Wentz Hall has been improved to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Please contact the Office of Residence Life 785-8075 or the Disability Resource Services Office at 785-6900 to discuss current and additional accommodations.

For Additional Information Contact:

·                    Disability Resource Services Office at 785-6900.

·                    Chief of Protective Services at 785-8711.


5.10.      Facilities: Buildings and Other

The University strives to make the campus fully accessible. Presently, campus buildings meet Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Disability parking is available in all parking areas. Braille signage is in place in Murphy Library and the Cleary Alumni and Friends Center, with long-range plans to continue providing Braille signage throughout campus. The Office of Residence Life will provide reasonable accommodations to make the living environment enjoyable and barrier-free upon request of students with disabilities.




All academic building elevators do not require a key, with the exception of the north elevator at North Hall. However, the south elevator is for public use and people do not need to secure a key for the north elevator. In the residence halls, the Wentz Hall elevator is key operated. A key should be obtained from the hall director. If you have a problem with the elevator please contact Randy Otto, Physical Plant, at 785-8585 or the DRS office at 785-6900.




CARTWRIGHT CENTER: Power operated doors on north. Elevator on north. Power operators on Mezzanine, basement and first floor restrooms. Parking on east side of Building 13 (Archeology Center).


COWLEY HALL: Power operated doors north and south. Push button on east wings. Parking in C-3. Restrooms on first floor have power operators.


FINE ARTS BUILDING: Power operated doors on north side and northwest side. Power operated elevator. Parking on northwest side. Power operator on first floor restrooms. Remodeled restrooms. Stairwell does have lever sets. Parking in C-10.


INFORMATION CENTER: Ramp to main door.


MAIN HALL: Power operated doors northeast and east. Button operated elevator. Parking on east side of Building 13 (Archeology Center). Stairwell and corridors have hold-opens and lever sets on doors. Stage lift in the auditorium.


MAINTENANCE & STORE BUILDING: Power operated door. No curbing or steps. Parking in visitors area.


MITCHELL HALL: Power operated doors on southwest and north side of building. Button operated elevator in southeast wing. Parking in Lot C-9.


MORRIS HALL: Power operated doors on north side of building. Button operated elevator on north side of building. Parking in Lot C-10. Stage lift in Frederick Theater.


MURPHY LIBRARY: Power operated doors at both entrances. Button operated elevator. Parking in Lot C-3. Office of Disability Resource Services is located here.


NORTH CAMPUS BUILDING: Access doors - no curbing or steps. Parking next to building.


CARL WIMBERLY HALL: Power operated doors on the south and southeast of building. Button operated elevator on north side of building. Parking in Lot C-6.


RECREATIONAL EAGLE CENTER & CHILD CARE CENTER: Power operated doors on main entries. Parking in C-7.


STADIUM: Restrooms have power operated doors. Lift on northeast side to the seating area.


WHITNEY CENTER: Ramp to main level. Ramp to health center and basement Power operated doors on the east and west side, basement, and first floor. Main floor restroom. Parking on street.


WILDER HALL: Power operated door on south side of building. Button operated elevator. Parking in Lot C-10.


WING COMMUNICATION CENTER: Power entry on south and north sides of building. Button operated elevator. Parking on southwest side of building.


WITTICH HALL: Power entry on east and west sides of building. Button operated elevator. Parking on east side of building, Lot 13 (Archeology Center).


5.11.      Financial Aid

Full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students must complete and pass 70% of all credits registered for and meet the grade point average requirements in order to be eligible for financial aid and student loans. The University recognizes a reduced credit load as long as the student does not exceed 150% of credits necessary to graduate. Special needs costs are funded by the Disability Resource Services office and the State Department of vocational Rehabilitation, and are documented within each office. Should a student become ineligible to collect from federal aid programs due to unsuccessful completion of classes, special consideration will be given for documented disability/health reasons.


5.12.      Inclement Weather

There are "snow emergency routes" across campus in the winter. These routes and accompanying curb cuts will be cleared by 7 AM following significant snow and ice accumulation overnight and kept clear during continuing accumulation during the day. All other walkways and curb-cuts on campus will be cleared by 8 AM following significant snow and ice accumulation overnight, but cleared after snow accumulation has stopped. Traffic patterns have been determined using snow removal plan maps from past semesters.


Sidewalks connecting buildings to the walkways are the responsibility of the buildings' custodians.


Disability Resource Services staff may call on "really nasty" days to advise you to stay home for all or part of the day. If you find places where the walks have not been salted or sanded, call the Grounds Manager at 785-8585. Please call Disability Resource Services at 785-6900 with comments about how well the "snow emergency routes" are working for you.


5.13.      Insurance

The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse provides injury and illness insurance to enrolled students and their families. The insurance also provides for specialized health services to individuals with disabilities, if they have had twelve months of consecutive coverage prior to enrollment in the Student health Insurance Program for a pre-existing condition. If the condition is diagnosed while covered by the Student Health Insurance, some benefits may apply. The Student Health Center, including the Physical Therapy Unit, provides care as requested by all students at no additional charge. However, if appliances are needed, the student is charged the cost incurred in obtaining the appliance. If services are not available, individuals will be referred to other campus units or community resources as needed.


5.14.      Library

All aspects of the Library are made available to disabled students.


5.15.      Physical Education, Athletics and Related Activities

All students are provided an equal opportunity for participation in physical education, intercollegiate athletic and intramural activities. There are rule modifications for intramural activities if needed for special situations. The Recreational Eagle Center is accessible according to ADA specifications.


5.16.      Public Safety

Handicapped parking areas and appropriate signage are available where needed. Parking Utility honors any valid license plate, placard, or hanging tag issued to a handicapped or disabled person, regardless of the state of issue.



5.17.        Publication of Disability Services and Other Information


Disability Access Statements

When planning conferences, events, and activities have someone in your office or department be responsible for handling requests for accommodations. Call Disability Services (785-6900) for assistance with arranging and implementing accommodations. In registration brochures, invitations or fliers use the following access statement:


“To request disability accommodations, please contact (name, department, address, phone number).”



Publications, such as college bulletins, program brochures, class schedules, newsletters, and instructional publications must be provided in alternative formats (Braille, large print, tape, electronic) upon request: document conversion is provided through Disability Services. In these publications use the following statement:


This publication/material is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact (name, department, address, phone number).


Syllabus Statement


Disability Resource Services recommends that all University faculty use the following statement on their course syllabi to encourage disability disclosure and inform students of their willingness to provide reasonable accommodations:


Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, or hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor and the Disability Resource Services Office (165 Murphy Library) at the beginning of the semester. Students who are currently using the Disability Resource Services will have a copy of a contract that verifies they are qualified students with disabilities who have documentation on file in the disability Resource Service Office.


5.18.      Recruitment

a. No information regarding an applicant's disability may be solicited to determine admission to the university. However, such inquiries may be made after an individual has been admitted for purposes of providing appropriate accommodations.

b. The number or proportion of individuals with disabilities who will be admitted or enrolled may not be limited solely on the basis of disability.

c. Tests administered for purposes of admission, enrollment, or placement may not discriminate.


5.19.      Residence Halls

Accessibility and accommodations for individual student rooms, restrooms, public areas and all activities have been made available for disabled students at Wentz Hall for both men and women. Residence Life provides a listing of off-campus housing, if needed. All dining areas at Whitney Center are accessible.


ANGEL HALL: Ramp on front entry to main floor. Outside grade level to basement. Parking available upon request in Lot R-1.


BAIRD HALL: Side entry to first floor and front is accessible. Parking in Lot G-10.


COATE HALL: Ramp on front entry (main level). Outside ramp to basement. Parking upon request in Lot R-5.


DRAKE HALL: Ramp on front entry (main level). Accessible toilet and shower facilities on first floor. Parking upon request in Lot R-5.


HUTCHISON HALL: Accessible on first floor north cube.


LAUX HALL: Non-accessible.

REUTER HALL: Fully accessible.


SANFORD HALL: Ramp to main level. Ramp to basement from north of building. Parking upon request in Lot R-4.


TROWBRIDGE HALL: First floor accessible at main entrance. Accessible toilet and shower facilities on first floor.


WENTZ HALL: Power operated front door (main level). Two interior dorm rooms have power operated doors. Parking upon request in Lot R-1. Elevator is key operated to all floors.


WHITE HALL: Ramp on all entrances.


Accessible phones are located outside each building.


5.20.      Scholarships

Students with disabilities should always begin their search for scholarship and other financial aid information through the Financial Aid Office and the University Foundation.


The UW-La Crosse Foundation sponsors two scholarships annually to persons with disabilities:

1.      Coulee Region White Cane Club Scholarship (for persons with a visual impairment).

2.      The Diversity Scholarship through the Office of Multicultural Services


The purpose of identifying the following references is to provide students with information specific to scholarships for students with disabilities. Such information may be accessed through printed resources and the Internet via the computer.



Counseling for College, Matthay, 2nd edition, Peterson’s Guide, 1995, call 1-800-338-3282, write Peterson’s Guides, PO Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123.


Dollars for College-Students with Disabilities, Garrett Park Press, call 1-301-946-2553, write Garrett Park Press, PO Box 190, Garrett Park, MD 20896.


1996 Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities, HEATH Resource Center, call 1-800-544-3284 (voice & TTY), write HEATH, One Dupont Circle, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036-1193.


Financial Aid for the Disabled and Their Families, 1996-98, Schlacter and Weber, Reference Service Press, call 1-415-594-0743, write Reference Service Press, 1100 Industrial Road, Suite 9, San Carlos, CA 94979-4131


National Scholarships and Grants for Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities, 1996, National Educational Association of Disabled Students, call 613-526-8008 (voice & TDD), write NEADS 4th Level Unicentre, 1125 Colonel by Drive, Carleton University Ottawa, KIS 5B6.


NOTE: Some references may cost. Be sure to inquire about cost as you make your contacts.



5.21.      Student Conduct

A student should contact the Office of Student Life (OSL) when his/her absence will exceed five days and the cause for the absence is reasonable, i.e., illness, family emergencies, etc. The OSL will officially notify the appropriate instructors; however, the legitimacy of a reported absence is determined by the instructor.  If you, as a student, know you are going to be gone ahead of time, contact your instructors.  If faculty are concerned about a student's absence from class, they are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Life.  The Office of Student Life will then contact the student regarding his/her welfare.


The rules governing student academic and nonacademic misconduct may be found in Chapters UWS 14 (academic misconduct) and UWS 17 (nonacademic misconduct) of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.


UWS 14.03 Academic Misconduct Subject to Disciplinary Action


(1)   Academic misconduct is an act in which a student:

a)      Seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation;

b)      Uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise;

c)      Forges or falsifies academic documents or records;

d)      Intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others;

e)      Engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student’s academic performance; or

f)        Assists other students in any of these acts.


(2)   Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:

a)      Cheating on an examination;

b)      Collaborating with others in work to be presented, contrary to the stated rules of the course;

c)      Submitting a paper or assignment as one’s own work when a part or all of the paper or assignment is the work of another;

d)      Submitting a paper or assignment that contains ideas or research of others without appropriately identifying the sources of those ideas;

e)      Stealing examinations or course materials;

f)        Submitting, if contrary to the rules of a course, work previously presented in another course;

g)      Tampering with the laboratory experiment or computer program of another student;

h)      Knowingly and intentionally assisting another student in any of the above, including assistance in an arrangement whereby any work, classroom performance, examination or other activity is submitted or performed by a person other than the student under whose name the work is submitted or performed.


UWS 17 Non-Academic Misconduct Subject to Disciplinary Action

The university may discipline a student in nonacademic matters in the following situations:

(1) (a) For conduct which constitutes a serious danger to the personal safety of a member of the university community or guest.

(b) Examples of the conduct prohibited by this subsection include, but are not limited to: engaging in conduct that is a crime involving danger to property or persons, as defined in s. UWS 18.06(22)(d) (Note: The offenses enumerated in s. UWS 18.06 (22)(d) include serious crimes against the person, such as sexual assaults.); attacking or otherwise physically abusing, threatening to physically injure or physically intimidating a member of the university community or a guest; attacking or throwing rocks or other dangerous objects at law enforcement personnel, or inciting others to do so; selling or delivering a controlled substance, as defined in ch. 161, Wis. Stats., or possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver; removing, tampering with or otherwise rendering useless university equipment or property intended for use in preserving or protecting the safety of members of the university community, such as fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire exit signs, first aid equipment, or emergency telephones; or obstructing fire escape routes.

(2) For stalking or harassment.

(3) For conduct that seriously damages or destroys university property or attempts to damage or destroy university property, or the property of a member of the university community or guest.

(4) (a) For conduct that obstructs or seriously impairs or attempts to obstruct or seriously impair university-run or university-authorized activities, or that interferes with or impedes the ability of a member of the university community, or guest, to participate in university-run or university-authorized activities.

(b) Examples of the conduct prohibited under this subsection include, but are not limited to: preventing or blocking physical entry to, or exit from, a university building, corridor or room; engaging in shouted interruptions, whistling, or similar means of interfering with a classroom presentation or a university-sponsored speech or program; obstructing a university officer or employee engaged in the lawful performance of duties; obstructing or interfering with a student engaged in attending classes or participating in university-run or university-authorized activities; or knowingly disrupting access to university computing resources, or misusing university computing resources.

(5) For unauthorized possession of university property or property of another member of the university community or guest.

(6) For acts which violate the provisions of Ch. UWS 18, Conduct on University Lands.

(7) For knowingly making a false statement to any university employee or agent on a university-related matter, or for refusing to identify oneself to such employee or agent.

(8) For violating a standard of conduct, or other requirement or restriction imposed in connection with disciplinary action.

5.22.        Student Employment

Financial Aid assigns all students, regardless of their disability, student employment based on a completed questionnaire. Assignments are made to accommodate the students’ interest and abilities and to meet the departmental needs. Individual departments are responsible for making employment accommodations.


5.23.        Student Health Center

Students are seen on an appointment basis on weekdays when school is in session between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  Appointments can be scheduled by calling the Student Health Center receptionist desk at 785 – 8558.  Urgent care is available on a walk-in basis when the Center is open.  Students who need emergency medical care when the Health Center is closed should go to the emergency department or walk-in clinic of either La Crosse hospitals. 


5.24.        Student Organizations

A listing of all recognized student organizations, fraternities and sororities is published each semester by Student Activities and Centers, and made available to all students. The Involvement Center provides an introduction of the various organizations to students, and is accessible to all individuals. Student organizations are required to cite the non-discrimination clause in their bylaws.




Students with physical or learning disabilities are encouraged to join in a support group, which meets to discuss academic and personal concerns. For more information regarding the physical and learning disabilities support groups call 785-6900 or talk with your DRS advisor.




Disability Resource Services conducts a series of workshops on leadership skills that is open to students with disabilities registered with our department. The goal of the programs is to introduce students to the student activity organizations available on campus and in the La Crosse community, guiding them with the understanding that they have the opportunity to join and become an important part of campus and community life. Besides the leadership skills that the students would develop, this program would look good on their resume.



Emphasis of the UW-L Sign Language Club is on socializing and having fun while enhancing sign language skills. The club encourages the membership of UW-L students, non-students and community members. The purpose of this organization is to: (a) make available to the student body an alternative method of instruction for American Sign Language, (b) create an environment for deaf and hard-of-hearing within the entire community of La Crosse and surrounding areas, (c) organize a support network for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and (d) provide sources for any individual seeking information about American Sign Language and the deaf/hard-of-hearing culture.




SAPA is a campus organization that includes disabled and non-disabled students, faculty, and staff members who are interested in providing academic and social support to students concerned with disabilities. The organization creates campus and community awareness of disability issues and develops a fellowship of people. SAPA also promotes the right of all students to have equal access to a college education.


Projects supported by SAPA include the annual "Conference on Disabilities," "Disability Awareness Week," and the award presented to the "Most Accessible Professor." Please contact your DRS advisor for further information.




Each unit and department has a representative who acts as a liaison between Disability Resource Services and UW-L staff members. If you are having concerns in a department, please contact these representatives. You can check for their names in our office. Call 785-6900 or talk with your DRS advisor.




RASO is organized to assist adult students throughout their university experience. The purpose is to promote the interests of returning adult students at UW-L. Membership is open and free of charge to all UW-L students who consider themselves "returning adults." Meetings are held on Wednesdays from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. in the Cartwright Center. Members then have an opportunity to meet and socialize with other returning adult students and to discuss relevant issues of concern to returning adults.


5.25.        Student Support Services

Students with disabilities who qualify for the Federally funded Trio program, Student Support Services (SSS), may have access to math and language arts tutors. In order to participate in this program, a student must have a diagnosed physical or learning disability, be a first generation college student (neither parent nor legal guardian graduated from a four-year college or university) or receive a substantial amount of financial assistance. The DRS Director will inform students who should qualify, and they would be assigned an advisor who works in cooperation between SSS and DRS. SSS location is 109 Wilder Hall.


5.26.        Transportation

The Facilities Management/Physical Plant Organization responsibility is to identify and coordinate the implementation of corrective action to address ADA deficiencies in campus facilities. The office has a list of Principles for Campus Physical Planning, which includes the following statement “Removal of Architectural Barriers- To remove physical barriers obstructing access by physically disabled persons to university buildings and facilities. Providing a barrier-free environment is an inherent part of the planning process.” Students may contact Facilities Management/Physical Plant for specific needs.


Each commuter lot has convenient spaces allotted for students and visitors with disabilities. It is recommended that you obtain a Wisconsin Disability license plate. For more information, contact the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) at 608-266-3041. You can write the DOT Special Plates Unit at: 4802 Sheboygan Avenue, Room 201, P0 Box 7911, Madison, WI 53707-7911.


Information also is available on the DOT's web site:


Some La Crosse city buses and the La Crosse mini-buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts. To use the mini-bus service, call Access Medical Transit one day ahead of time. The city bus also has lifts.


5.27.      TTY (TTD) and Other Technology Locations

Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDDs, TTY) provide access to the campus for callers requesting general information or assistance in contacting an office that does not have a direct TDDS line (785-6900), for callers requesting information on campus events or programs (785-8897), for callers requesting information on services for individuals with disabilities (785-6900) or for callers requesting information on employment or related topics (785-8013).


5.28.      University Career Services

Career Services, located in a handicapped accessible building, houses the Career Resource Center which contains a limited number of career related resources for students with disabilities. A professional staff member from Career Services serves as a liaison between Career Services and the Disability Resource Services office.



Section 6.      Access to Academic Services


6.1.          Qualifying for Services

Any student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who has a diagnosed permanent physical, sensory, emotional, or learning disability, which presents a barrier to obtaining his or her education, qualifies for DRS services.


The Disability Resource Services (DRS) office acts as a consultant to the various university offices and assists with appropriate accommodations. DRS employs advisors to assist students with a documented permanent or temporary disability.


All academic support services are available to disabled students. Scribes assistance with typing papers and tutoring for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation students is provided. Interpreting/Captioning/Transcription arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis. A student with a documented disability will receive assistance from DRS with program examinations and evaluations in various capacities, including note taking and quiet testing rooms. DRS is responsible for the time and location; however, departments and instructors are encouraged to provide the accommodation, if possible.



DRS staff develops individualized plans of accommodation and advise students with disabilities, serving approximately 350-400 students annually


Students involved in the program are responsible for obtaining documentation to verify their disabilities. All students need to provide appropriate documentation of their disability to the DRS office. Documentation must be no older than three years. No student will receive the mandated services without this documentation.


A11 students must request services at least eight weeks before the specific accommodations are needed. They must then meet regularly with an assigned DRS advisor and negotiate with professors, in good faith, for the reasonable accommodations to which students with disabilities are entitled.


There is a wide diversity among people within a given disability type, and a wide range of previous experiences that people have had in accommodating their disabilities. Those who have limited experience with what accommodations they need to succeed in a class may be, for example, freshmen, students whose disabilities are recent or have changed over time, and students who are taking a certain type of class for the first time, such as a computer class or a lab science. It is important to keep in mind that two people with the same disability may require different accommodations.


Additionally, students are encouraged to apply for services with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to access state services and assistance.



6.2.          Disability Certification Letter for Faculty

Students who qualify for disability accommodations will be given an Accommodation form (click here) to be signed by their DRS Advisor, the instructor, and the student. This form will be kept in the student’s confidential file.


Students will also fill out two in-take forms. (click here) 

6.3.          Alternative Testing

Some disabilities present students, as well as instructors, with challenges related to testing; so alternative testing must be used. Alternative test taking may include the use of extended time, a private or quiet room, a reader or taped exam, a computer, a scribe, and enlarged print or Braille.


Since the more commonly used testing accommodations are the use of extended time and a distraction-free room, instructors are encouraged to use their own office areas for test accommodations.


The instructor is the expert in his or her area of study, and can, therefore, answer questions regarding the exam better than those not familiar with the information. If instructors find it difficult or impossible to provide alternative tests in their own area, arrangements may be made to administer the test within the DRS office. The DRS office requests that the professor/instructor have the test hand-delivered to the DRS office in a sealed envelope. Instructors will complete an exam checklist when they deliver the test to the DRS office. (click here)*** Following test administration, the test will be sealed and hand-delivered back to the professor/ instructor. Every precaution will be made to protect the confidentiality of the tests. (Tests are stored in a locked drawer with only staff members having access.) Students are responsible for scheduling their tests at the DRS office a week in advance, in order to ensure the accommodation arrangements and availability of a test proctor.


Alternative forms of testing may include but are not limited to the following:

·        Tests administered independently by approved readers or teaching assistants,

·        Take-home examinations,

·        Large print tests for the visually limited student, additional time for the completion of the work,

·        An oral report or examination,

·        Taped test questions with the option to tape the responses and answers.




Some people may feel that allowing students with disabilities extra time to complete a test is giving them an unfair advantage.


However, research by M. Kay Ronan at Berkeley University (1991) has shown that persons with learning disabilities who are offered extended test taking time on tests of reading comprehension consistently improve their scores compared to students with learning disabilities who did not receive extended time. The scores of students without learning disabilities, however, did not change significantly between the timed and non-timed conditions.


Ronan concludes that non-learning-disabled students are processing at peak performance in either condition, and extended time does not improve their scores. But learning disabled students' processing of reading material is much slower and, therefore, the extended test-taking time does affect their scores.


These findings underscore the importance of providing students with learning disabilities extended testing time as an accommodation to provide them equal access to the educational process and shows that this accommodation is not giving students with learning disabilities an unfair advantage.




1. At the beginning of the semester, it is the responsibility of the student to notify and obtain permission from the professor for alternative test taking. Timely notification will be necessary to ensure that you will receive the accommodation. You should talk to your instructor when you have them sign the Accommodation Request Form.


2. We recommend that you negotiate taking the test in the professor's area because they are the experts in their subject matter.


3.      If the instructor is unable to accommodate you in this area and recommends taking the test in our office, the following procedures must be followed:


·        You must get a permission slip signed by the professor.

·        You must schedule tests at Disability Resource Services at least ONE WEEK in advance of the scheduled test date.

·        Pick up a test checklist to give to your professor each time you test. Your instructor will complete this checklist for each exam taken.

·        If you need a reader, writer, or private room, you must notify the office.

·        Tests will be scheduled between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. This office closes at 4:30 p.m.

·        We ask that you schedule exams in the Disability Resource Services office for the same time the test is scheduled in class. This office will inform your instructor of the date and time we administered the exam.

·        Your instructor is required to deliver the test to our office. If this is not to your instructor’s satisfaction, you must negotiate with your DRS advisor.


This office will adhere to the cheating penalties in the Eagle Eye (Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures, Section 1403). If cheating occurs while using our services, your test will be confiscated, actions documented and reported, and you may jeopardize the use of our office as a testing site.


6.4.            Assistive Technology


Assistive Technology Hardware / Software

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has adaptive computer stations available for use by students with disabilities. The stations are located throughout campus for easy access.

The Assistive Technology Hardware and Software items available at UW-La Crosse that may be useful to students with special needs are:



* Visualtek enlarging device is located in the Assistive Technology room in Murphy Library.

* Tiger and Juliet embossers are to print Braille, and are located in the Assistive Technology room in Murphy Library.

* Victor Reader DAISY CD players are located in Murphy Library and can be checked out at the reference desk.

* Ergonomic Keyboard is located in the GSA computer lab in Wing.