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Office of Disability Services

Academic SupportsStudent reading beside tree-lined Yellow Breeches creek that flows through the Messiah campus.

Students with disabilities often require accommodations in the classroom for them to be successful. Identified and verified needs that are deemed "reasonable" by the College can be arranged through the Office of Disability Services located in Murray Library 115.  . “Reasonable” accommodations are those that can be provided without lowering course standards. The College may offer an alternative accommodation that provides the same result. There is no legal obligation to offer or approve only those specific accommodations requested by the student.

 

Students must meet course and program standards, with or without accommodations. When the nature of a student’s disability prevents the student from meeting standards, even when accommodated, the student may be deemed “unqualified” for the course or program. Potential areas of difficulty might be activity-intensive courses where attendance and participation are essential but a chronic health condition leads to frequent or extended periods of absence, and students whose writing or spelling skills limit their success in courses such as Anatomy and Physiology.

 

An Accommodation Profile (AP) is negotiated with the student, based on support from documentation. Accommodations may be needed during class-time or outside of class. The Profile will include accommodations approved and agreed to between the student and the Director of Disability Services. Both parties sign the agreement. Accommodations not agreed to will not be provided unless the AP is re-negotiated and modified based on new information or changes in the student's situation. In some situations, additional documentation may be requested.

 

Accommodations vary widely, but are always designed to respond to the unique needs of the student based on their documentation. From the AP, a letter is prepared for the student to share with instructors at the beginning of each semester. The letter verifies eligibility for accommodations and specifies the nature of those accommodations. The student is responsible for distribution of the letter, generally by giving a copy to professors from whom an accommodation is being requested. The purpose of the letter is to verify eligibility and need, and serves to help open the conversation about how the accommodation can best be provided. Disability-specific details are not revealed by ODS except as authorized by the student.

 

Commonly provided accommodations include:

  • extended time on exams,
  • assistance with note-taking,
  • proctored exams, and
  • alternate text formats such as E-text.

Other accommodations are available as needed.

 

Tutoring support is available through the Writing and Learning Centers. Faculty supervisors are notified when a student will require more assistance than is generally provided, which opens opportunities for more editorial assistance and longer sessions, if needed. Additional tutorial support may be available on a private-basis at the expense of the student or family.