To submit a request for reasonable ADA accommodations, email the below items to email@example.com
1. A completed Student Request for Accommodations Form w/ Rights and Responsibilities
You will need your Bison ID number and course schedule to complete this form.
2. Documentation of your disability.
See guidelines below to ensure your documents contain the necessary information. Insufficient documentation may delay the processing of your request. Please note information regarding your academic history (transcripts, IEP, 504 plan from previous learning environment etc..) may be submitted as supporting evidence, but may not be sufficient documentation to support your request
*Note students must formally request accommodations for each semester enrolled at Howard University. The accommodations and services provided are not retroactive.
How Accommodations are Determined
Accommodations are determined as a result of a comprehensive individualized assessment, including a review of medical reports, psychological reports, academic background and an interview with the student.
If Accommodations Are Not Provided
OSS strives to provide reasonable accommodations, and works to facilitate an agreeable working relationship between you and the University. If you feel that you are not being treated fairly because of your disability, you are encouraged to contact our office and make an appointment to discuss the issue.
Dispute a Decision
You may contact the Director of the Office of Student Services, Dr. Paris Adon in writing to dispute a decision. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidelines for Documenting Disabilities
These include mobility, manual, hearing, and visual impairments.
- The clinician appears to be qualified to make the diagnosis in the area of specialization and is not a member of the student's family.
- The evaluation is written on professional letterhead, is current and contains the date of the last appointment with the student.
- The clinician clearly indicates a claimed disability that is covered under the ADA.
- Documentation clearly supports the claimed disability with relevant medical and other history.
- The evaluation contains a description of current medications, treatments and assistive devices and technologies with estimated effectiveness in ameliorating the impact of the disability, i.e., extent of effectiveness of corrective lenses, use of crutches, etc.; and history of medication side effects known to have affected the student.
- Give a description of the functional limitations resulting from the disability, which specifically addresses a postsecondary residential and educational setting.
- The documentation clearly supports the direct link to and need for the requested accommodations.
If there are any questions, you may call the Office Student Services at 202-238-2420 or fax us at 202-588-9755.
In compliance with the law (Section 504, Rehabilitation Act and the American with Disabilities Act, "ADA"), Howard University is committed to providing its disabled students with reasonable accommodations. There are specific guidelines for the acquisition of accommodations and services under ADA. This brochure explains in detail of the information you will need to request and to receive them. Please read this information carefully and share it with the professional who will be conducting your testing and evaluation or providing you will the results of prior evaluations.
- A Qualified Professional Must Conduct the Evaluation
Professionals conducting assessments and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. For example, the following professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate specific learning disabilities provided that they have additional training and experience in evaluating adolescent/adult learning disabilities: clinical or educational psychologists; school psychologists; neuropsychologists; learning disabilities specialists; medical doctors with training and experience in the assessment of learning problems in adolescents and adults. It is not appropriate for professionals to evaluate members of their own families. All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, signed, and otherwise legible.
- Testing Must Be Current
Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student's disabilities on his or her academic performance, it is in a student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. In most cases, this means that testing usually has been conducted within the past three years.
- Comprehensive Documentation Necessary to Substantiate the Learning Disability Must Be Provided
Prior documentation may have been useful in determining appropriate services in the past. However, documentation must validate the need for services based on the individual's current level of functioning in the educational setting. A school plan such as an individualized educational plan (IEP) or a 504 plan is insufficient documentation in and of itself but can be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A comprehensive assessment battery and the resulting diagnostic report should include a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, and information processing.
- Diagnostic Interview
Because learning disabilities are commonly manifested during childhood, though not always formally diagnosed, relevant historical information regarding the student's academic history and learning processes in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education must be investigated and documented. An evaluation report should include the summary of a comprehensive diagnostic interview by a qualified evaluator. By using a combination of student self-report, interviews with others, and historical documentation such as transcripts and standardized test scores, the diagnostician should provide a summary of the following:
- A description of the presenting problem(s);
- Developmental history;
- Relevant medical history including the absence of a medical basis for the present symptoms;
- Academic history including results of prior standardized testing; reports of classroom performance;
- Relevant family history, including primary language of the home, and the student's current level of fluency of English;
- Psychosocial history;
- Relevant employment history;
- A discussion of dual diagnosis, alternative or co-existing mood, behavioral, neurological, and/or personality disorders along with any history of relevant medication and current use which may impact the individual's learning; and exploration of possible alternatives which may mimic a learning disability when, in fact, one is not present.
The neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation for the diagnosis of a specific learning disability must provide clear and specific evidence that a learning disability does or does not exist. Assessment, and any resulting diagnosis, must consist of and be based on a comprehensive assessment battery, which does not rely on any one test or subtest.
- Aptitude/ Cognitive Ability. A complete intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores reported is essential.
- Academic Achievement. A comprehensive academic achievement battery is essential with all subtests and standard scores reported for those subtests administered. The battery must include current levels of academic functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written language.
- Information Processing. Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and long-term memory; sequential memory;auditory and visual perception/ processing; processing speed; executive functioning; motor ability) should be assessed.
- Other Assessment Measures. Non-standard measures and informal assessment procedures or observations may be helpful in determining performance across a variety of domains. Other formal assessment measures may be integrated with the above instruments to help rule in or rule out the learning disability to differentiate it from co-existing neurological and/or psychiatric disorders, i.e., to establish a differential diagnosis. The evaluator should address why these assessments were included in addition to the standard measures. In addition to standardized tests, it is also very useful to include informal observations of the student during the test administration.
- The Documentation Must Include a Specific Diagnosis
Nonspecific diagnoses, such as individual "learning styles," "learning differences," "academic problems," "computer phobias," "slow reader," and "test difficulty or anxiety," in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability. It is important to rule out alternative explanations for problems in learning, such as emotional, attentional, or motivational problems, that may be interfering with learning but do not constitute a learning disability. The diagnostician must use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a learning disability, avoiding the use of such terms as "could possibly" "suggests" or "is indicative of." If the data indicates that a learning disability is not present, the evaluator must state that conclusion in the report.
- All Actual Test Scores from Standardized Instruments Must be Provided
Standard scores and/or percentiles must be provided for all normed measures. Reports of grade equivalents must be accompanied by standard scores and/or percentiles. The data must logically reflect a substantial limitation to teach which the student is requesting the accommodation. The particular profile of the student's strengths and weaknesses must be shown to relate to functional limitations that may necessitate accommodations.
The tests used should be reliable, valid, and standardized for use with an adolescent/adult population. The test findings must document both the nature and severity of the learning disability. Informal inventories, surveys, and direct observation by a qualified professional may be used in tandem with formal tests in order to further develop a clinical hypothesis.
- Each Accommodation Recommended by the Evaluator Must Include a Rationale
It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process. Conversely, a prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of a current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a like accommodation. The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodation(s) as well as a detailed explanation of why each accommodation is recommended. The evaluator(s) must describe the specific impact the diagnosed learning disability has on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual's academic abilities. The evaluator(s) should support recommendations with specific test results or clinical observations. If no prior accommodation(s) has been provided, the qualified professional and/or the student should include a detailed explanation of why no accommodation(s) was used in the past and why an accommodation(s) is needed at this time. If an accommodation(s) is not clearly identified in the diagnostic report, OSS will seek clarification, and, if necessary, more information. OSS will make the determination as to whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided to the individual.
- Diagnostic Interview
- A Clinically Interpretive Summary Must be Provided
A complete and clearly stated diagnostic summary based on a comprehensive evaluative process is a necessary component of the report. Assessment instruments and the data they provide do not diagnose; rather, they provide important elements that must be integrated with background information, observations of the client during the testing situation, and the current context. It is essential, therefore, that professional judgment be used in the development of a clinical summary. The clinical summary must include:
- Indication that the evaluator ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems such as poor education, poor motivation and/or study skills, emotional problems, environmental issues, attentional problems, and cultural/language differences;
- Indication of how patterns in cognitive ability, achievement, and information processing are used to determine the presence of a learning disability;
- Indication of the substantial limitation to learning presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it effects the individual in the learning context for which accommodations being requested; and,
- Indication of why specific accommodation(s) are needed and how the effects of the specific disability are mediated by the recommended accommodation(s).
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides individual with disabilities protections in compliance with the laws and equal access to programs and services. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of ensuring that psychological documentation is appropriate in order to verify eligibility and support the request for accommodations, academic adjustments and or/ auxiliary aids.
Documentation must be provided by a qualified professional with comprehensive training and relevant expertise in differential diagnosis with appropriate licensure/ certification. A qualified evaluator may include psychologist, psychiatrist, neuropsychiatrist, clinical social worker, licensed counselor or psychiatric nurse practitioner. A diagnosis of a psychological disorder, syndrome or condition alone does not qualify an individual for an accommodation under Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The provision of reasonable accommodations and services are determined by the impact of the disability(ies) on the student’s ability to have equal access to the academic program. The documentation must establish a relationship between the requested accommodations and the functional limitations in an academic environment.
The Report Must:
- Include a specific diagnosis as identified in the DSM-5 or ICD codes
- Include a description of symptoms which meets the criteria for the diagnosis
- Include a description of the impact of the student’s diagnosis in an academic setting and the substantial limitations it imposes on a major life activity or activities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- provide a clear statement of the impact of the diagnosis on the student’s ability to take notes, exams, and concentrate etc.
- include a statement of side effects of current medications prescribed for the diagnosis if relevant
- provide historical information, diagnostic interview, and /or psychological assessment that includes a list of instruments/ procedures used to diagnose the disorder.
- detail specific recommendations for reasonable accommodations due to the functional limitations the disability imposes accompanied by rational and justification for each recommendation
- Include the name, title and credentials of the evaluator type written, on letterhead, dated and signed by the evaluator
- Evaluator should also discuss the prognosis that may include possible improvement or deterioration.
- Provide a description of the impact on learning abilities specific to the post-secondary environment that are impaired by the disability for example ability to concentrate, process information etc.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides individual with disabilities protections in compliance with the laws and equal access to programs and services. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of ensuring that ADD/ADHD documentation is appropriate in order to verify eligibility and support the request for accommodations, academic adjustments and or/ auxiliary aids.
The provision of reasonable accommodations and services is determined by the impact of the disability(ies) on the student’s ability to have equal access to the academic program. The documentation provided must establish a relationship between the requested accommodations and the functional limitations in an academic environment.
Students requesting accommodations based on a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD are required to submit documentation from a qualified professional that describes the disability and its impact on the student’s academic experiences. The documentation must describe a disabling condition which is defined by the presence of significant limitations on one or more major life activities.
The Report Must:
- Be dated and type written on letterhead and include the name, title and professional credentials of an evaluator who is qualified to diagnose and treat the condition.
- Include a DSM-V or ICD diagnosis of the disability and information regarding any comorbidity
- Include a comprehensive assessment to include a summary of the assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable i.e. neuropsychological testing, psychoeducational testing.
- Include a description of the current impact of the disability with specific focus on barriers to the educational environment.
- Include rationale for each accommodation or device being requested.
Rights & Responsibilities
As a student with a disability at Howard University, you have a right to:
The right to choose when and to whom they will disclose their disability.
Equal access to courses, programs, services, and activities offered by the University.
Reasonable accommodations and adjustments, when needed, to achieve equal access.
Decide whether to use the curricular and co-curricular accommodations for which you have been approved.
Seek resolution to concerns about access or discrimination through the University’s procedures for filing informal and formal grievances.
All other rights and privileges available to other students at the University.
As a student with a disability at Howard University, you have a responsibility to:
Meet qualifications of, participate in, and maintain the essential institutional standards for courses, programs and activities.
Self-identify to ODS as a qualified individual with a disability when an accommodation is needed and seek information, counsel, and assistance as needed and in a timely manner.
Demonstrate and/or provide documentation from an appropriately qualified professional explaining the way the disability limits participation in courses, programs and activities.
Follow University procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.
Inform ODS of any concerns about classroom accommodations, disparate or disparaging treatment related to disability, or access issues on campus as soon as the issue arises.
Office of Student Services/ Disability Support
The Office of Student Services/Disability Support (“ODS”) has the right to:
Identify and establish the essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge, requirements, and standards for courses, programs, services, and activities, in collaboration with campus partners, and to evaluate students on this basis.
Request and receive relevant documentation that supports requests for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services. The documentation must be from a qualified evaluator and meets the guidelines of appropriate documentation of the University. Suggested recommendation for accommodations must be clearly demonstrated in the evaluation.
Request outside review of documentation from a qualified evaluator in order to help determine reasonable accommodations.
Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services if the information provided by the student fails to substantiate areas of functional impairment, the documentation provided does not adequately support the requested accommodation, or if you fail to provide appropriate documentation.
Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services if will alter an essential course requirement or result in a fundamental alteration of a course, program or service, or poses an undue hardship on the University.
Approve and select reasonable, equitably effective accommodations adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services on behalf of the University.
The Office of Student Services/Disability Support has the responsibility to:
Establish and disseminate criteria for the use of disability services.
Maintain appropriate confidentiality of student education records in compliance the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) and other applicable laws and regulations.
Determine eligibility for participation of students with disabilities in the academic accommodations process based upon a review of appropriate documentation.
Ensure students with disabilities who self-identify and meet University criteria for eligibility to receive reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids based upon the individual's need.
Collaborate with faculty and staff regarding essential course and/or program requirements and appropriate reasonable accommodations.
Ensure that University courses, programs, services, and activities, when viewed in their entirety, are offered in the most integrated and appropriate settings.
Inform students with disabilities of University policies and procedures for filing a formal grievance through the Informal ADA Grievance Policy, the Formal Grievance Procedure and/or through external agencies (e.g., Office of Civil Rights).