ADA Information for Faculty
There is a fundamental distinction between the laws governing students with disabilities in K through 12, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the laws governing students with disabilities in college, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAA). Perhaps the most important difference is that IDEA strives for academic success while ADA strives for equal access to all courses, programs, services, and activities. In K through 12, students with disabilities may have modifications to course requirements and instructional supports that facilitated academic success. Additional time for tests, an instructional support teacher to help plan and organize homework assignments, supplemental materials or study guides to help prepare for tests, and, in some cases, permission to re-write papers or re-take tests if initial scores were below a certain level are considered to be reasonable under IDEA. Instructional support teachers or parents may have served as coaches to ensure homework assignments were completed accurately and in a timely fashion. Many of the modifications and instructional supports mandated under IDEA are not considered to be reasonable under ADA, and most colleges do not provide the modifications and supports offered in high school.
College is an enormous transition for all students, but especially for students with disabilities. Often, the first semester (or two) is a time for students to learn how to meet academic demands independently. They need to learn to manage time effectively, develop good study strategies, become independent with regard to managing prescribed medications, and understand the importance of adequate sleep, diet, and exercise. Our goal is to provide access to all of our courses, programs, services, and activities; we are not mandated to alter fundamental requirements or essential features of a course or program of study. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have a disability related question or concern. And we welcome your referrals to help students as they make these important adjustments to college.