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Frequently Asked Questions

Is this program confidential?

Your registration with the Office of Disability Services is completely confidential. Students must give permission for the staff to disclose necessary accommodations with faculty or administrators should they wish the Office of Disability Services to advocate on their behalf.

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Can a student with a learning disability be exempt from a foreign language/math requirement?

There are various requirements throughout the different divisions of the University. Some have a foreign language and / or math requirement. It is possible for students with a learning disability to petition for a waiver of certain requirements. The decision to allow for a waiver is made on a case-by-case basis by an academic standards committee.

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Is a reduced course load available?

Course loads vary from program to program. However, some students with disabilities elect to take on different loads. These instances are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

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What is a disability?

An individual with a disability is defined as any person who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, or performing manual tasks).
  • has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual.

  • Major Life Activities: The term "major life activities" refers to normal functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
  • Physical Impairment: A physical impairment includes any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following bodily systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory and speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
  • Mental Impairment: A mental impairment includes any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
  • Learning Disabilities: A learning disability is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders occur in persons of average to very superior intelligence.

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What is meant by "is regarded as having such an impairment" in the definition of disability?

For example, a person with a facial disfigurement may not have an impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, but others may regard him or her as having one due to how he or she appears.

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I have a disability. How will this affect my application and the admissions process?

Barry University will make admissions decisions using criteria which do not consider an individual's disability. Thus, Barry University will not impose or apply admission or eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out individuals on the basis of their disability, unless such criteria are necessary for the provision of the program, service, or activity being offered. Barry University believes that this carries out the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Students with disabilities desiring to enroll in any program, service, or activity of Barry University must be able to meet the minimal standards of both the University and the particular school, program, service, or activity to which admission is sought.

Barry University does not engage in any affirmative action programs for students with disabilities, nor does it consider a student's disability in evaluating admissions criteria. It is, of course, within the student's discretion to inform the Admissions Committee of a disability if they wish. If this choice is made, Barry University will not discriminate against the student on the basis of the disability and will make reasonable accommodation when necessary.

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I've been accepted at Barry University, and I have a disability. What do I have to do to receive accommodations?

If you have a disability, or if you suspect that you have a disability, the first place to go is the Office of Disability Services. Students with disabilities have the responsibility of contacting the Office of Disability Services for an intake interview to assess their needs prior to their first semester of enrollment at Barry University. You should not assume that the Office of Disability Services knows any information about your disability because it was included in your application for admission. You are not entitled to any accommodation(s) until you have met with the staff in the Office of Disability Services. If you have the necessary documentation of your disability, it must be provided at this time. If you do not have any documentation, or if your documentation is insufficient, the staff in the Office of Disability Services will go over our Disability Services Handbook with you, and then refer you to an appropriate professional for evaluation.

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My documentation of my disability meets Barry University's criteria. What happens next?

Once your disability has been properly documented, you will have an intake interview with a Disability Services Counselor to assess your individual needs and determine which accommodations would be most appropriate for you. The Disability Services Counselor will also go over all of the necessary paperwork to complete your file and make you eligible for accommodation(s).

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Isn't "disability" and "handicap" the same thing?

A "disability" is a condition caused by accident, trauma, genetics, or disease that may limit a person's mobility, hearing, vision, speech, or mental function. A person may have more than one disability. A "handicap" is a physical or attitudinal constraint imposed upon a person. For example: stairs, narrow doorways, and curbs are handicaps imposed upon people with disabilities who use wheelchairs.

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What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, job, activity, or facility that enables a qualified individual with a disability to have an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance, or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges, as are available to an individual without a disability. Some common academic accommodations include extra time on tests, use of peer notetakers, use of computers with spell check, and provision of sign language interpreters.

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How does a student become eligible to receive accommodation(s)?

To become eligible, a student must have a documented disability and inform the college that he or she is requesting accommodation(s) based on that disability. A student must:

  1. Contact the Office of Disability Services.
  2. Provide the Office of Disability Services with appropriate documentation of the disability.
  3. Consult with a Disability Services Counselor to determine appropriate accommodation(s).

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Who determines the accommodation(s)?

Disability Services counselors determine the accommodation(s) using:

  • documentation of the disability from qualified professionals provided by the student.
  • information gathered from a diagnostic student intake process.
  • information from appropriate college personnel regarding essential standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities.

The determination of reasonable accommodation(s) considers the following:

  • the barriers resulting from the interaction between the disability and the campus environment
  • the array of accommodations that might remove the barriers.
  • whether or not the student has access to the course, program, service, job, activity, or facility without accommodation(s).
  • that essential elements of the course, program, service, job, activity, or facility are not compromised by the accommodation(s).

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Won't providing accommodation(s) on examinations give an unfair advantage to a student with a disability?

Accommodations don't make things easier, just possible; in the same way eyeglasses do not improve the strength of the eyes they just make it possible for the individual to see better. Accommodations are interventions that allow the learner to indicate what they know. Without the accommodations, the learner may not be able to overcome certain barriers.

Accommodations are designed to lessen the effects of the disability and are required to provide fair and accurate testing to measure knowledge or expertise in the subject. Careful consideration must be given to requests for accommodations when the test is measuring a skill, particularly if that skill is an essential function or requirement of passing the course such as typing at a certain speed or turning a patient for an x-ray. In such cases please contact a Disability Services counselor for guidance.

The purpose of such academic accommodations is to adjust for the effect of the student's disability, not to dilute academic requirements. The evaluation and assigning of grades should have the same standards for all students, including students with disabilities.

For many test takers with disabilities, the most common accommodation is extra time. Double time is the maximum extension unless the Disability Services Counselor gives prior approval. In specific circumstances, students may also require the use of readers and/or scribes, a modification of test format, the administration of examinations orally, or an alternative time for testing. For out-of-class assignments, the extension of deadlines may be justified, especially if the student is relying heavily on support services (readers for term papers, etc.).

Note: Some of this information was taken from (Samuels, M. 1992. Asking the Right Questions. The Learning Centre. Calgary.)

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What is a notetaker?

A notetaker is usually another student in class who agrees to provide copies of lecture notes taken during class. The notetaker may use non-carbon notetaker paper available at no charge from the Office of Disability Services.

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Who is responsible for requesting an interpreter?

Students requiring an interpreter for class must make the request to the Office of Disability Services at least three weeks before the last day of regular registration. For outside class requirements, such as field trips or other assigned activities, as well as office hours, students should request the interpreter in writing to the Office of Disability Services at least two weeks prior to the event. For a meeting, workshop, or discussion group sponsored by a department, the organizer should request an interpreter from the Office of Disability Services. The Office of Disability Services cannot guarantee an interpreter when requests are made less than two weeks before the event.

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