If you are an AU student with a documented disability that requires accommodations, whether undergraduate or graduate, in a degree or non-degree progam, enrolled in credit or non-credit courses, you may be eligible for accommodations through the ASAC.
American University, under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its amendments, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, provides reasonable and appropriate accommodations to students with documented disabilities.
Federal law defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” It is important to note that a condition in and of itself does not necessarily constitute a disability. The degree of impairment must be significant enough to substantially limit one or more major life activities, e.g. walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, or caring for oneself. To determine eligibility, it is the policy of the ASAC to request comprehensive and relevant documentation of the student’s disability and the functional impact of the disability on the student in a university setting.
The following information is provided to assist American University students who wish to obtain disability-based accommodations. The ASAC encourages students to meet with an ASAC counselor if they believe they may be eligible for accommodations, or if they have questions about the process for requesting disability-related accommodations at American University.
Documentation Must Be Relevant to the Accommodations Request
Comprehensive documentation about the current functional impact of a disability in a university setting is advisable in order to determine whether a particular accommodation can be reasonably provided. In the absence of documentation, accommodations may not be approved.
Students may be required to furnish periodic reevaluation documentation to support a continuing need for accommodations. The need for this is determined by the nature of the disability and the original documentation received. If a disability is a physical or sensory impairment of an unchanging nature, e.g., blindness or congenital deafness, documentation may not need to be updated.
The student is responsible for submitting this documentation. All documentation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and students at times may be required to provide additional documentation or information.
Qualifications of the Evaluator
Documentation of a student's disability must be from a licensed clinical professional or health care provider with the appropriate expertise. The evaluator must be familiar with the history and functional impact of the student’s condition. The provider must not be related to the student or be a friend of the student or student’s family. The documentation must include the name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about licensure and/or specialization. All evaluation reports must be typed on letterhead, signed, dated, and legible.
Timely registration for accommodations is encouraged as it helps prevent a delay of services or accommodations, and allows time for the deliberative process necessary for determining appropriate and reasonable accommodations. Very importantly, students are strongly encouraged to disclose as soon as possible as accommodations are not applied retroactively. Additionally, students requesting interpreters or books in alternate format should notify the ASAC as far in advance as possible so the alternate format materials may be obtained.
Although we strongly encourage students to disclose a disability early in the semester for the reasons outlined above, there are no specific deadlines for requesting accommodations for a disability. Students may register with a disability at any time during the semester.
Documentation of a Learning Disability
A complete psychoeducational or neuropsychological report is necessary to appropriately document a learning disability. Without comprehensive documentation provided by a qualified evaluator, accommodations may not be provided. Documentation guidelines for a learning disability detail the recommended components of such a report. Additional reports, such as a record of accommodations from a previous school, an IEP, or a record of SAT/ACT accommodations, can also be submitted and can be helpful in determining a student’s disability status and the need for specific accommodations.
Professionals documenting ADHD may find the guidelines for documentation useful in providing current information for a student.
Evaluation of Documentation
Once documentation is submitted, students are responsible for following up with the ASAC. Please note that sending documentation to the ASAC does not constitute a formal request for accommodations. To complete the process, students must register with the office by completing the SAQ and meeting with an ASAC counselor for an appointment to discuss documentation and accommodation requests. During this meeting, the ASAC counselor will advise the student of any specific additional documentation needs or other requirements. Questions regarding these guidelines may be directed to either firstname.lastname@example.org or to 202-885-3360.
The above guidelines are intended to inform students about the university’s decision-making process but are not exhaustive as situations vary. This publication must be considered informational and not binding on the university. The university reserves the right to amend these guidelines with or without notice. Consult the ASAC for additional information.
Information, records about any disability, and accommodations are treated as confidential information under applicable federal and state laws, as well as university policies, and are only provided to individuals on a need-to-know basis.