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Facilities and Services for Students with Disabilities

Johnson College provides equal opportunities to students with disabilities admitted through the college’s regular admission process. The college recognizes that students with disabilities have a legal right and a responsibility to present to the college requests for reasonable accommodation. Students seeking accommodation for learning and/or testing should make contact with the Counselor/Manager of Disability Services as early as possible in the admissions process. Specific accommodations are determined individually for each student and must be supported by appropriate documentation and/or evaluation of needs. Disability Services reserves the right to ask for any appropriate documentation of disability in order to determine a student’s eligibility for accommodations.

THE LAWS

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. An individual with a disability is a person who:

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

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 defines a handicapped person as any individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Section 504 states: “No otherwise qualified individual in the United States, shall solely by reason of his / her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” (PL 93-112, 2973)

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 includes several significant changes, which also apply to Section 504: The definition of “major life activities” was expanded to include reading, concentrating, and thinking. The definition of “major bodily functions” has been expanded to include neurological and brain functions. In the post-secondary environment, colleges and universities are responsible for providing equal access to students who meet the above definition of a disability and for protecting them from discrimination. Colleges and universities are NOT responsible for identifying or evaluating students. The goal of accommodation is to ensure equal access and to “level the playing field” versus a guarantee of academic success.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, activity or facility that enables a student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to receive information and demonstrate knowledge. Reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis and are based on the nature of the disability. Students are strongly encouraged to request accommodations prior to the first day of instruction. However, students have the right to request services at any time during their enrollment.

PROCEDURES FOR REQUESTING ACCOMMODATION / SELF-ADVOCACY

Whereas in high school, accommodations were initiated by the school district, this is not the case in college. The student becomes responsible for seeking out the Counselor/Manager of Disability Services, providing documentation when needed, discussing accommodation strategies, and requesting the use of those accommodations in the classroom. At the college level, students must learn to advocate for themselves in order to receive appropriate accommodation. To receive accommodation, students must first self-disclose their disability to the Counselor/Manager of Disability Services and then request reasonable and appropriate accommodation. Documentation from a clinician/physician/psychologist may be requested if the functional impact of the disability is not clear. An ADA/Section 504 Accommodation Plan, unique to each student, will be created with the input of the student and the Counselor/Manager of Disability Services. This plan is sent, with the student’s approval, to the appropriate faculty. Students must then present their requests for accommodation to each of his/her faculty members. They must describe the way in which they learn best and request the needed accommodation. It is highly recommended that students complete this process within the first few days of each new semester and not wait until the accommodation is necessary. Students should convey to their faculty an eagerness to learn and do well in the class. They should meet frequently with the faculty to discuss successes (and failures) if necessary. If, after meeting with faculty, students feel that they are not receiving the course accommodation specified in their ADA/Section 504 Accommodation Plan, they should immediately contact the Counselor/Manager of Disability Services so that the concerns are resolved in a timely manner.

Students can expect that the agreed upon accommodation may differ from class to class depending on the subject matter, the relevancy to the degree desired, and the documentation submitted. Johnson College acknowledges that all students have differing strengths and weaknesses and that because of this, accommodations may differ from one student to another, even when they share the same disability. In reviewing a student’s disability-related documentation, the primary consideration is an understanding of how the disability impacts the demands or requirements of each course and/or program. Curricular modifications can be made only if they do not substantially alter content or requirements essential to the program of study. It is important that students understand their disability and its impact upon their learning/testing, and be able to advocate for themselves. Students should know how to describe their disability, know in what way(s) their disability will affect their learning/testing, and be aware of what they need to help them to succeed at the college level. Appropriate documentation may be requested to support all of this, and the accommodation requested must be consistent with the information contained in the documentation. It is always a student’s right, and personal choice, to determine if they chose to disclose their disability to Disability Services. Disclosing your disability can be done at any point in the semester, and does not require that accommodations be used. Accommodations cannot be given retroactively if a student makes the choice not to disclose their disability to Disability Services. Alternatively, if a student does disclose their disability but does not distribute their accommodation plan to their instructor accommodations will not be granted. Disability Services cannot retroactively give accommodations if a student does not disclose their disability to Disability Services, or request that accommodation plans be sent, even in the case that the students feels work submitted or exam scores received do not accurately reflect their abilities

Reasonable accommodations often include the following: extended time for test-taking, examinations and/or assignments; a distraction-free environment for testing; use of auxiliary equipment (spellcheckers, tape recorders, calculators, word processors); modified exam formats and/or oral exams; peer tutoring for re-teaching or understanding concepts; and the use of notetakers/copies of lecture notes.

DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS

Students seeking accommodation for a specific learning disability should present to the Counselor/Manager of Disability Services documentation from a qualified professional which includes a statement as to how the disability substantially interferes with the student’s educational progress, functional limitations, and recommendations for appropriate accommodation and supports needed for the academic environment.

This documentation should be sent to the Counselor/Manager of Disability Services by mail, fax or email.

Johnson College
Counseling and Disability Services
3427 North Main Avenue
Scranton, PA 18508
Fax: (570) 702-8849
Email: EHolmes@johnson.edu

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Johnson College promotes a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all students, staff, and visitors that is free of discrimination. Johnson College does not discriminate against an individual’s age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation, or any other legally protected class in admission, treatment, access to, or employment in its programs or activities. For questions or concerns regarding Title IX, please contact the Senior Director of Organizational Development. For questions or concerns regarding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, please contact the Counselor/Manager of Disability Services.