Mercy College of Health Sciences complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Fair Housing Act, and other applicable federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. These laws define a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Eligibility for academic accommodations is based on documentation that clearly demonstrates a student has one or more functional limitations in an academic setting, and that one or more accommodations is needed to achieve equal access.The ADAAA is a federal civil rights statute that supports the rights of individuals with disabilities to access employment, state and local government programs and services, and public services. It is the policy of Mercy College of Health Sciences for students with disabilities to register with the ADA Services in the Student Success Center (SSC). Students must register in order to access these rights and to determine eligibility for accommodations. ADA Services takes into consideration the students past history, and supporting documentation related to the disability when making accommodation determinations.
The disability service model in higher education is very different from the one students (and parents) are accustomed to in K-12 school districts. Student self-advocacy responsibilities increase within postsecondary education due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Parents need to foster this change and encourage students to utilize appropriate skills to be self-reliant in advocating for services. Responsibility for the postsecondary experience lies in the hands of the student.
Disability documentation is confidential information from an appropriately certified professional who is knowledgeable about the student’s condition. Such professionals include physicians, educational psychologists, therapists, mobility specialists, and rehabilitation counselors. Documentation is used to determine eligibility for disability services and accommodations.
Documentation must include the following components:
- Completed by a licensed or credentialed examiner (not a family member);
- A description of the disability, including the diagnosis and history;
- A description of the current impact in daily living and in an educational setting;
- A description of the past use of services.
Examples of disability documentation include but are not limited to:
- Educational, psychological, or medical records;
- Reports and assessments created by healthcare providers, psychologists, or an educational system;
- Documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Audiology Reports and Vision Assessments;
- Student Success Center (SSC) verification form of a disability;
- Statement from a health or other service professional;
- Vocational Assessment.
Testing Anxiety Documentation Guidelines
Beginning with the revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2008, test anxiety is no longer considered a disability under federal law.
Students applying for academic accommodations related to anxiety, must have a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder (such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and documentation must include examples of an area of life in which anxiety creates a disability beyond the testing situation.
ADHD Documentation Guidelines
The ADHD Disability Assessment must be completed as thoroughly as possible by a qualified healthcare professional. A qualified healthcare professional is typically a licensed clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, psychiatrist, or a medical provider trained in mental health assessment. This professional should have comprehensive training and relevant experience in the full range of psychiatric disorders and uses a differential diagnostic practice to arrive at the ADHD diagnosis.