(Student Handbook 4.3/Graduate Handbook 2.10.C)
Introduction (Student Handbook 4.3.A)
Miami University is committed to providing equal opportunities for people with disabilities and is proactive in its efforts to comply with federal laws such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794 (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12131 (the ADA) to ensure access to academic programs and University life. It is the policy of Miami University not to discriminate against students with disabilities in any program or activity of the University for which the student is qualified, and to provide reasonable accommodation and academic support services to such students with due regard for the integrity of academic programs. In order to be eligible for services, the student must self-disclose his or her need for accommodation and provide supporting documentation that meets the University’s guidelines. Detailed information regarding documentation guidelines can be found at:
Oxford: Student Disability Services www.MiamiOH.edu/SDS
Hamilton: Disability Services www.regionals.miamioh.edu/disabilityservices
Middletown: Disability Services www.regionals.miamioh.edu/disabilityservices
The disability service staffs on the campuses of Miami University are committed to ensuring the University’s vision of creating a more diverse community and cultivating an environment that promotes personal and intellectual development. We advance toward this goal by serving with compassion, understanding and with respect for privacy. Documentation of disability furnished by the student will be kept confidential and will be shared with University personnel only with permission of the student, except as is otherwise required by law. If the documentation provided is determined to be insufficient by the University’s disability services professional(s), then the University reserves the right to request additional documentation that is considered to be reasonably necessary to determine appropriate and effective accommodation on the college level. For example, appropriate documentation for students with learning disabilities includes a full battery test administered by an appropriate professional that outlines aptitude and ability.
Definitions (Student Handbook 4.3.B)
Under the ADA, a “qualified person with a disability” is someone with a physical, psychological, medical or learning impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A person is considered to be disabled if he or she has the disability, has a record of the disability, or is regarded as having a disability.
The term substantially limits means unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed. This is in comparison to the average person or most people.
The term major life activity means functions such as caring for oneself, interacting with others, and performing manual tasks such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing breathing, learning or working to name a few.
The term qualified, with respect to an individual, is a person who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can meet the essential academic and technical eligibility requirements and standards of behavior and performance required of all students.
A reasonable accommodation is one that will allow a student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program or activity of the University without an undue administrative or financial burden to the University. Reasonable accommodation or adjustments may include auxiliary aids or services such as sign language interpreters, CART services, and/or testing accommodation, and may also include adjustments to academic requirements, activities, or space. Academic adjustments that lower or substantially alter the essential elements of a program, course or curriculum are not reasonable. Accommodation that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of the student or others is also not considered to be reasonable. For a more comprehensive list of possible services, please visit the appropriate disability office on your campus:
Oxford: Student Disability Services www.MiamiOH.edu/SDS
Hamilton: Disability Services www.regionals.miamioh.edu/disabilityservices
Middletown: Disability Services www.regionals.miamioh.edu/disabilityservices
Accessibility and Safety (Student Handbook 4.3.C)
Miami University is committed to increasing access on campus. All academic and administrative buildings are accessible in accordance with UFAS/ADA accessibility guidelines, and modified residential living options are available on campus as well. In order to request accessible housing, students must make their request through Student Disability Services (SDS) so that the most appropriate residential assignment can be made. An individual’s specific needs may also be take into consideration. Please contact the Director of SDS for more information.
Miami also provides access to special events and activities scheduled on campus. Millett Assembly Hall and Yager Stadium, for example, both host sporting events as well as other special events such as concerts, lectures, and commencement exercises. Questions about accessibility and/or requests for services (i.e., sign language interpreters) can be directed to SDS at (513) 529-1541. Please be advised that requests for interpreters, etc. should be made at least 48 hours prior to the event to ensure services.
Emergency evacuation and fire safety are important issues that should be discussed with appropriate University personnel. In the case of an emergency, call 911 and trained public safety personnel will respond and provide necessary assistance. SDS provides the Miami University Police dispatcher with the location of students’ residence halls and class rooms so that responding emergency personnel are prepared to offer needed assistance. For more information about fire safety for persons with disabilities, please consult with the Director of SDS.
Transportation (Student Handbook 4.3.D)
Miami University offers bus service operated by the Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA). All BCRTA buses are wheelchair accessible with fixed routes around campus and Oxford. If, for a reason related to your disability, you are not able to ride the fixed-route bus service, you may be eligible for the BCRTA Paratransit Service. For more information about the available services and routes, please visit the BCRTA website at www.ButlerCountyRTA.com or contact their regional office at (513) 785-5237. BCRTA applications for Paratransit Service are available at the Student Disability Services.
Reduced Course Load (Student Handbook 4.3.E)
Miami students with documented disabilities including physical, psychological, medical, or learning disabilities may be eligible to apply for special status. If approved, this will allow a student to reduce his or her course load below the minimum and maintain full-time status. The number of credits will be determined based on the level of disability. To qualify, students must apply and submit supporting documentation to the appropriate disability service office on their campus of record. Application for this special status must be completed as early as possible prior to registration.
Policy Statements for Students with Disabilities (Student Handbook 4.3.F)
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, “otherwise qualified” individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination and assured equal access to educational programs. In order to establish that an individual with a disability is covered under the ADAAA, the documentation of the disability must indicate that it substantially limits a major life activity, including learning. The regulations and guidance that have been adopted by the Department of Justice state that the existence of a substantial limitation is to be determined by comparing the individual in question “to most people – that is, to the average person in the general population.” The following guidelines are provided to assist evaluating professionals with documenting findings in a manner that meets the requirements of ADAAA and supports the request for accommodation, including academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids.
These guidelines provide students, professional diagnosticians, and University service providers with a common understanding of the components of documentation necessary to validate the existence of a learning disability; its impact on the student’s educational performance, and the need for accommodation. The documentation should be comprehensive to prevent delays in eligibility determination and service provision. A school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a “504 Plan” alone may not be sufficient to support a student’s eligibility for accommodations and/or services. While recognized as supporting evidence, at no time will a prescription pad document be acceptable to serve as the sole document for determination purposes. Although the diagnostician may recommend specific accommodations, the determination for providing appropriate and reasonable accommodations and/or academic adjustments rests with the institution.
Admission (Student Handbook 4.3.F.1)
Students with disabilities must be “otherwise qualified” and meet admissions criteria set forth by the Miami University Office of Admission. College entrance exam scores taken with accommodations are accepted. The Office of Admission forwards disability documentation that is submitted to their office to Student Disability Services.
Accommodations and/or Services for Diagnosed Students (Student Handbook 4.3.F.2)
Accommodations and/or services available to students are specific to campus access and academic requirements based on the student’s presenting concerns and identified barriers. Specific information contained in the documentation (i.e., Student Disability Service (SDS) Documentation Form, formal report, psychoeducational evaluation, IEP, 504 Plans, etc.) is used in determining the reasonableness of accommodations and/or services. Accommodations and/or services are judged to be reasonable and appropriate when, without the accommodations or services, the student might not be afforded equal access to the curriculum or campus life.
Registration Policy for Diagnosed Students (Student Handbook 4.3.F.3)
Currently enrolled students may apply for accommodations and/or services by completing a New Student Application in the SDS online system SAM (Students Accessing Miami) at www.MiamiOH.edu/SAM. Select “New Student Application”, complete the brief questionnaire and upload documentation. If necessary, documentation may be uploaded later. Upon receipt and review of application and documentation, students are notified via MU email of their application status. The email will also indicate if documentation is missing. Documentation delivered directly to SDS by students or healthcare providers will be uploaded by SDS staff to the student’s record.
Upon verification of sufficient documentation, students are notified via MU email of their assigned Accommodation Coordinator. This is a process that could take up to 10 days. Students must make an appointment to meet with their Accommodation Coordinator for an intake appointment. During this meeting, the accommodation coordinator and student will engage in an interactive process to identify accommodations and/or services. Upon registration completion, students are responsible for requesting accommodations each semester in SAM and communicating with faculty regarding their needs as outlined in the faculty notification letter. Students are strongly encouraged to request accommodations prior to the beginning of the semester and are responsible for submitting requests in advance of the need for accommodation. Accommodation requests are not retroactive.
If you do not have documentation but believe you have a disability, please call the SDS office on your campus to make an appointment.
Documentation Requirements – All Disabilities (except Learning Disabilities) – Documentation Guidelines (Student Handbook 4.3.F.4)
The specific reporting format is left to the professional, but the requested information must be clearly presented, easily discernable, and mirror the information captured on the SDS Documentation Form. Quality documentation should adhere to the following:
- A qualified professional must conduct the evaluation. The name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification as well as the area of specialization, employment and state/province in which the individual practices should be clearly stated in the documentation. It is not considered appropriate for professionals to evaluate members of their own family.
- The documentation must include a clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition was diagnosed, provide information on the functional impact, and detail the typical progression or prognosis of the condition.
- The documentation must include a description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results. When appropriate to the nature of the disability, having both summary data and specific test scores within the report is essential (ex. for learning disabilities).
- The documentation must be recent (within past 5 years) and age-appropriate so as to determine the need for accommodations and/or services based on the individual’s current level of functioning in the educational setting. The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations for accommodations and/or academic adjustments as well as an explanation as to why each accommodation/adjustment is recommended. The evaluators should describe the impact the diagnosed disability has on a specific major life activity as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual. The evaluator should support recommendations with specific test results or clinical observations.
It is the responsibility of the student to obtain his or her documentation and to upload documentation into SAM. If assistance is needed, please contact the SDS office on your campus. Any correspondence regarding the adequacy of the submitted documentation will be sent to the student’s MU email account. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain additional information or clarification if requested.
Documentation Requirements – Learning Disabilities – LD Documentation Guidelines (Student Handbook 4.3.F.5)
This policy specifies the procedures to be followed and the information that should be contained in documentation of a student’s Learning Disability (LD) and/or AD(H)D report. Learning disability documentation (e.g., psychoeducational report) should adhere to the criteria established by the university for full consideration:
- Psychological assessment (minimally, an individual intelligence test such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale [WAIS], Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities, or Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales) with subtest and composite standard scores included.
- Educational assessment (minimally, a test such as the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement or the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test [WIAT]) with subtest results for reading, writing and math, regardless of student background.)
- If the student also has a dual diagnosis of AD(H)D, additional behavioral measures may be helpful to support the diagnosis.
- The report should include the professional’s credentials and contact information, standard scores, composite scores and a summary of the results which supports the clearly stated diagnosis, description of functional limitations impacting learning for each recommended accommodation.
- Please note: Screening instruments such as the WASI (Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence) or WRAT (Wide Range Achievement Test) and child-normed tests such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC) may not be sufficient for full approval, but if available, may assist in providing provisional accommodations. A copy of an IEP or 504 Plan alone is also not sufficient to establish full eligibility unless it includes items 1-4 above.
Policy for Students Not Previously Identified as Learning Disabled (Student Handbook 4.3.F.6)
The SDS office does not provide psychoeducational testing services. A list of providers is available upon request.
Grievance Procedures (Student Handbook 4.3.F.7)
While SDS works diligently to provide the most appropriate accommodations possible in a timely manner, clients have every right to file a grievance. If a student feels that their rights have been violated by an instructor, staff person, SDS coordinator, or even another student, they are encouraged to meet with the Director of Student Disability Services to engage in an interactive process to seek resolution. If resolution is not found at this level, or if the complaint is against the Director of SDS, the individual may seek resolution by contacting the ADA Coordinator within the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity per Miami University Policy and Information Manual (MUPIM) 3.6 at (513) 529-7157 or www.MiamiOH.edu/oeeo.
Compliance (Student Handbook 4.3.G)
The Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity (OEEO) is the University’s designated department for compliance with federal statues including the ADA and Section 504. Under the ADA and Section 504, individuals with disabilities are assured equal access to educational programs. In order to establish that an individual with a disability is covered under the ADA, the documentation must support that the individual’s diagnosis of a disability includes how the impairment is a substantial limitation of a major life activity, including learning. Questions concerning grievance procedures, discrimination and compliance issues should be directed to OEEO at (513) 529-7157 (V/TTY).
Dispute Resolution (Student Handbook 4.3.H)
If you believe you have been denied equal access in the form of appropriate accommodation, modifications, auxiliary aids, or effective communication or suffered discriminatory harassment as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 1998 Amendment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or the Ohio Administrative Code 4112-5-09 (Discrimination against persons with disabilities in institutions of higher education) you may pursue a resolution under this procedure. The general student grievance procedures, including the University’s Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Discrimination, are available to students with disabilities.
The procedures below are additional procedures that apply to students with disabilities who feel their rights have been violated under 504, 508, and ADA.
A report may be filed against a faculty, staff, academic department, non-academic department, program, and/or organization. In addition, students may file a report against Student Disability Services, and/or a particular SDS staff person.
Students may file reports utilizing the Accessibility Grievance and Barrier Reporting Form https://miamioh.formstack.com/forms/accessibility_issue. Student Disability Services will review the submission within one business day of receiving the report. Within five business days, appropriate action will be taken to address the reported concern.
Resolving Conflicts with a Faculty and/or Staff, Academic Department or University Non-academic Department, Program or Organization (Student Handbook 4.3.H.1)
- Students are encouraged to discuss their concerns with an SDS staff member. The staff member will attempt to resolve the issues causing concern by assisting the student in discussing issues with the faculty member, department, or program, participating in such discussions, or calling the faculty member and/or head of the department in an effort to clarify and resolve issues. In some instances, other SDS staff and director/associate dean may be consulted or a meeting convened in order to develop a resolution. Most situations are positively resolved through staff support and mediation. The student and involved parties will be notified by the appropriate staff member of progress, findings, or resolution within 5 business days. Many issues are resolved sooner due to the nature of the complaint.
- If either the student or the SDS staff member feels that a satisfactory resolution has not been reached, or if the student has not received any response to the student’s concerns within 5 business days, the matter will be referred to the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity, Hanna House, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056, (513) 529?7157 [TTY accessible]. The OEEO Director will evaluate the complaint and determine an appropriate resolution. The OEEO Director will inform all involved parties of her or his progress, findings, or resolution within 10 business days.
Resolving Conflicts with SDS and/or a SDS General Staff Member(Student Handbook 4.3.H.2)
- When a student has a complaint against SDS or SDS and/or one of its staff members, the student should first discuss the complaint with the Director of SDS. Resolution of the issue may be reached at this level.
- If the complaint is not resolved or for a specific reason cannot be discussed with the Director of SDS a student has the right to bypass SDS and go directly to the OEEO Director.
- The OEEO Director will evaluate the situation and determine an appropriate resolution. The OEEO Director will inform all involved parties of progress, findings, or resolution within 10 business days.
Resolving Alleged Discrimination by Another Student (Student Handbook 4.3.H.3)
In situations where students allege discrimination by another student, students have the option of filing a complaint under the Code of Student Conduct or a charge under the University’s Policy Prohibiting Harassment or Discrimination. Please refer to the policy and procedures in The Student Handbook or contact the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity for further information.
Contact Information (Student Handbook 4.3.H.4)
Student Disability Services – SDS Director
19 Campus Avenue Building
(513) 529-1541 (V/TTY)
(513) 529-8595 (Fax)
Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity, OEEO Director
(513) 529-7157 [TTY accessible]
(513) 529-7158 (Fax)
Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution
9 Warfield Hall
(513) 529-1417 (Voice)
(513) 529-1907 (Fax)
Revised 2017; Revised 2016; Revised 2015