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Disability Services

Bridgewater College is committed to providing equal access to College programs to otherwise qualified students with a disability.

The College provides reasonable and appropriate accommodations to enrolled students with a disability to ensure equal access to the academic program and College-administered activities.

It is the responsibility of the student with a disability to identify himself or herself prior to receiving services by presenting appropriate documentation to the director of academic support.

This is done as early as possible upon acceptance to the College.

Choose a link below to learn more:

Criteria used to evaluate a course modification:


SERVICES AVAILABLE

- Academic Advising
- Academic Coach Program
- Personal, Academic, Disability Counseling
- Tutoring and Study Groups
- Separate Testing Area - Computer; Reader
- Books in Alternative Format
- Disability Accommodations

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DEFINITION OF A DISABILITY

A student with a disability is defined as one who:
has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working or caring for oneself,
has a record of a substantially limiting impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Physical or mental impairments may include but are not limited to: mobility/orthopedic impairments, visual impairments, hearing impairments, speech impairments, specific learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders/attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, psychological disabilities, neurological impairments, traumatic brain injuries or chronic medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes or AIDS.

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DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS

Appropriate to the disability, documentation should be current, based on adult norms and include:

- a diagnostic statement identifying the disability, date of the current diagnostic evaluation and the date of the original diagnosis.

- a description of the diagnostic testing or diagnostic criteria used; results of diagnostic tests and procedures used, along with dates tests were administered, and when available, both summary and specific test scores.

- a description of the current functional impact of the disability.

- recommended accommodations, along with treatments, medications and assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use.

- a description of the expected progression or stability of the disability over time, particularly the next five years.

- the credentials of the diagnosing professional.

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ACCOMMODATIONS

Reasonable accommodations are adjustments made for students with a documented disability in an effort to provide an equal opportunity to access College programs, activities and facilities, and to demonstrate learning. Accommodations are specific to the nature of the documented disability and setting.

Accommodation examples:

- books in alternative formats

- ground-level housing or access to elevators for students with a mobility impairment

- copies of overhead projector sheets or copies of lecture notes for students with a visual impairment

- a student note-taker or access to assistive listening devices for students with a hearing impairment

- extended time or alternative distraction-free settings for examinations for students with a learning disability or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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COMMUNICATION OF ACCOMMODATIONS

1. Upon the request of the student director of academic support reviews the student's documentation to determine eligibility of services. A meeting with the student, parent and director of academic support is recommended in spring or summer to discuss disability services, accommodations, academic support and academic advising.

2. A letter describing accommodations to be received at Bridgewater is prepared by the director of academic support.

3. It is the student's responsibility to contact the Academic Support Center at the beginning of each semester to obtain accommodation letters to give to professors. Students sign a form confirming that the accommodation letters have been reviewed and picked up for delivery to professors.

4. After student and professor meet to discuss accommodations, the professor signs and returns a form to the director of academic support to verify receipt and discussion of accommodation letter. When this process is completed, accommodations are activated and are not retroactive.

5. If professors do not receive accommodation letters from the student, there is no basis on which to provide accommodations.

6. Waiting to deliver the letters until just before an exam is not considered timely and could jeopardize receipt of accommodations.

7. Students are responsible for contacting the director of academic support should any problem arise during the semester with regard to disability accommodations.

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MODIFICATION OF COURSE REQUIREMENTS

A student with a disability may request a course modification if their disability adversely affects their ability to meet course requirements.
In every case the student has the responsibility to provide documentation supporting the need for a program to be modified.

A course modification request requires the following:

1. Students make request known in writing and present appropriate documentation to the director of academic support.

2. The director of academic support reviews the student's request and the appropriateness of the documentation. Students are responsible if additional documentation, testing or professional clarification is needed to substantiate a course substitution.

3. The director of academic support determines the appropriateness of the course modification request. When appropriate, consultation with appropriate faculty is sought.

4. The director of academic support communicates the request decision in writing to the dean for academic affairs, associate dean for academic affairs, registrar, student's major advisor and the student.

Criteria used to evaluate a course modification:

- The degree to which the student's ability to meet the requirement in question is adversely affected by the disability.

- Whether the modification in question will fundamentally alter the academic program. What is "essential" to a major, course of study or degree requirement must be decided by the College in consultation with the relevant department.

- Full participation in the course will be limited even with all reasonable modifications within the course. This requires documentation of the disability as well as a description of how participation will be limited even with the use of modifications.

- A plan for degree or general education modification has been developed.

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APPEAL PROCESS

Student Dissatisfaction with the Determination of Accommodations

1. If a student with a disability is not satisfied with the determination of accommodations, the student meets with the Director of Academic Support regarding this matter.

2. If the determination of accommodations is still unresolved, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the Dean for Academic Affairs; provided, however, if the accommodation at issue is with respect to College housing, the student's appeal shall be in writing to the Dean of Students.

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Student Dissatisfaction with the Implementation of Accommodations

1. If a student with a disability is not satisfied with the manner in which a faculty or staff member has implemented the determined accommodations, the student meets with the Director of Academic Support for assistance. In these situations, the director of academic support provides the student with assistance in explaining the protocol and determined accommodations to the faculty or staff member.

2. If the student's dissatisfaction with the implementation of accommodations by a faculty or staff member is not resolved after consultation between the faculty or staff member and the director of academic support, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the dean for academic affairs if the accommodation at issue is with respect to College housing, the student's appeal shall be in writing to the dean of students.

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Student Dissatisfaction with the Modification of Course Requirements

If the request to modify course requirements fails to establish mutually acceptable modifications, the student may appeal in writing to The dean for academic affairs.

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For questions or to check about services contact:


Chip Studwell, Ed.D., LPC
Director of Academic Support and Disability Services
Bicknell House
Phone: 540-828-5370
Fax: 540-828-5757
cstudwel@bridgewater.edu