Utah Valley University is committed to providing an environment where all students have equal access to participate in the academic experience. The Accessibility Services Department (ASD) recognizes it is the University’s responsibility to provide auxiliary aids and services in a timely manner to ensure effective access and participation to qualified students with disabilities and we strive to accomplish that. The Accessibility Services Department is the only authorized office at Utah Valley University to evaluate disability documentation, determine eligibility, and implement reasonable accommodations for students enrolled at the University and in its associated academic programs.
Students are protected from discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended. In order to qualify for services under these mandates, the Accessibility Services Department requires comprehensive and specific documentation to substantiate a disability and demonstrate functional limitations. The documentation, along with conversations with the student, establishes eligibility for services and is used for determining reasonable accommodations.
In most instances, responding to the needs of a student with a disability requires little adjustment to the environment or to a faculty member’s teaching style. With some flexibility and a genuine willingness to help, instructors, faculty members, and academic departments can often find ways to accommodate special needs.
The information contained in the Handbook is designed to help faculty members, administrators, and staff, understand their vital role in ensuring equal access and effective participation. Faculty members should use this Handbook to address common questions about working with students with disabilities. ASD counselors and the ASD Director have the responsibility to assist members of the University community in understanding and working within the federally mandated guidelines for accommodating students with disabilities. If your questions aren’t answered here, please contact our staff.
Under the Law
The staff of the Accessibility Service Department is divided into four categories.
We have front office staff that meet and greet students, facilitate students’ requests to meet with their counselor or advisor, and handle the logistical processes of accommodation requests as well as the day-to-day functioning of the office. We have counselors who meet with students to determine eligibility for services, reasonable accommodations, and work as a liaison between students, faculty, and staff. We also have staff members who work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals through advising and service provision (ASL, TypeWell, etc.). Finally, we have an Assistive Technology Center where our employees create materials in alternate formats (Kurzweil, PDF, Daisy, etc.) to meet the needs created by the functional limitations of the disability and provide other assistance with the assistive technology available to all University participants. We also have dozens of student and hourly employees who provide interpretive services, assist with alternative text solutions, and work as peer note-takers.
Section III: Providing Accommodations: Questions, Policies, and Procedures
1. Are accommodations based simply on the type of disability?
Accommodations for each student will be determined on an individualized basis. Students with similar disabilities may not necessarily receive the same accommodations. There is no list of approved accommodations for any specific disability. In other words, every accommodation recommended bythe ASD counselor is on a case-by-case basis.
2. How does a student qualify for services?
Some disabilities automatically qualify for coverage under the ADA, and some require a more involved process. Typically, when the disability is not obvious, the student must provide documentation from a licensed professional that there is functional limitation in a major life activity. This could be in the form of an audiogram for someone who has difficulty hearing, a psychoeducational evaluation for someone with a learning disability, or a note from a health care professional indicating a medical or psychological condition.
3. How are accommodations determined?
Through our intake process and the receipt of sufficient documentation, as defined in the Documentation Guidelines on our website and as listed in the ASD Student Handbook, the ASD counselor determines the reasonable accommodations to provide access to University programs, courses, and facilities. They may need to confer with other office members or the appropriate professional. The determination to grant accommodations is typically based upon one or more of the following:
4. Once the Letter of Accommodation (LOA) is issued, can the list of approved accommodations be changed or adjusted by ASD?
The initial accommodation determination of the ASD counselor may be modified for any number of reasons. Some common reasons for changing the initial accommodation determination are:
In addition, the student may choose not to utilize all the accommodations allowed in the Letter of Accommodation. If this occurs, ask the student to state this intention in writing, so that they cannot later claim that the accommodation was refused. If the student chooses not to state his/her intention in writing, the faculty member should notify the ASD counselor, and the ASD counselor will document this refusal.
5. If a student obtains the Letter of Accommodation (LOA) after the beginning of classes, do I have to go back to the beginning and retest or reevaluate assignments completed before receipt of the LOA?
A student who completes the intake process with the ASD counselor is entitled to services and accommodations in the course from the date that the student provides the LOA to the faculty member until the end of the course. Utah Valley University is not required to provide retroactive accommodations or expunge or reexamine course work completed before documentation of a disability, even if the student can establish that they had a disability at the time of the course work in question. (The faculty member does have the discretion to allow students to revise completed work or retake tests, but this is at the sole discretion of the faculty member.)
6. The LOA does not say what disability the student has. Can I ask the student about the specific nature of her/his disability?
Due to privacy laws and related concerns, faculty members should NOT ask students or disability personnel for details regarding the specific disability for which the student is being accommodated. We are happy to discuss the functional limitations of the disability. While you may think you can guess the disability from the accommodations provided, please understand that there are many conditions that cause similar functional limitations for students. If the student chooses to disclose to you the nature of their disability, you should keep this information confidential and not share it with other students or faculty.
7. If the student is determined eligible to receive accommodations, does Utah Valley University give them every accommodation they ask for?
Simply stated, not all accommodation requests are granted. Each request is evaluated on its own merits. Utah Valley University will provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations based upon a review of the functional limitations and documentation the student provides. This means that students may not necessarily be provided with all the accommodations recommended in their documentation. Some common reasons that UVU might not provide a requested accommodation include:
If you have other questions or concerns about the accommodative process, or how the accommodations are to be implemented, please don’t hesitate to call, or set up an appointment with, the student’s counselor listed at the bottom of the LOA by calling our front desk at x8747, or by visiting our offices in LC 312.
8. What kind of statement should I put in my syllabus?
We recommend the following statement be placed in your syllabus for each of the courses you teach:
"Students who need accommodations because of a disability should contact the UVU Accessibility Services Department (ASD), located on the Orem Campus, in LC 312. To schedule an appointment, or speak with a counselor, call the ASD office at 801-863-8747, or for Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals, use the video phone number, 886-760-1819."
This statement is also found on the ASD website, under the Faculty & Staff tab.
Students have the right to due process regarding issues related to their disability and their accommodations. If the student feels that their rights have been violated, they will typically contact the ASD and discuss the issue with their counselor or the ASD Director. When there is an issue that appears to warrant further attention, the ASD office will contact the professor to understand their perspective. Following the discussion with both parties, there are typically four possible outcomes:
UVU Accessibility Services Department
800 West University Parkway, MS-190
Orem, UT 84058-5999
Telephone (801) 863-8747, Fax (801) 863-8377
Video Phone 1-886-760-1819