Students requesting accommodations while living in campus housing should read this document and complete the attached Residence Life Special Accommodation Form. These guidelines are provided so that the Residence Life Department can respond appropriately to the individual needs of the student. The Residence Life Department reserves the right to determine eligibility for services based on the quality and scope of the submitted documentation. Documentation will receive confidential review by the Residence Life Department and/or the Residence Life Accommodation Assessment Committee.
Students requesting academic accommodations should contact Disability Services at 936-468-3004.
Guidelines for Documentation of a Disability
All students are expected to meet all university policies including the on-campus residency requirements. It is the university's goal to provide reasonable accommodations to assist students in meeting the university's policy.
Students who are requesting special accommodations from the Residence Life Department at Stephen F. Austin State University are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended) individuals with disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and rights of equal access to programs and services; thus the documentation should indicate that the disability substantially limits some major life activity. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and to support requests for housing accommodations. Appendix A may assist you in finding and working with a qualified professional in regard to documentation.
Definition of a Disability
Under provisions of Section 504 and the ADA, a person with a disability refers to any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such impairment. Disabilities may include but are not limited to the following: visual impairment; cerebral palsy; hearing impairment; seizure disorder; attention deficit disorder; orthopedic impairment; specific learning disability; cancer; diabetes; psychiatric disability, etc. This is not an all inclusive list. Just because a student has a recognized disability doesn't mean that it will lead to housing accommodations. Diagnosis, limitations, and severity, along with other specific information, should be documented according to the following guidelines.
The ADA doesn't cover temporary disabilities except under certain circumstances. The law doesn't provide accommodations for a student with a broken bone, recent surgery, someone on crutches, etc. The Residence Life Department policy states that a student may move to another room/floor upon request, if the space is available, just as any student would be allowed to move. If the student needs assistance that cannot be provided by a normal move, they should contact the Residence Life Office for more information.
The provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the impact of the student's disabilities. Documentation must be timely. Evaluation must have been completed within three years of date of submission and review. Some disabilities have a prognosis that traditionally changes after treatment or time (i.e. mood disorder, traumatic brain injury, or seizure disorder). In these cases, documentation may need to be updated to identify the current level of functioning even when the documentation is less than three years old.
Students making requests for housing accommodations due to disabilities must provide the following documentation:
- Medical or clinical diagnosis of the disability by a licensed professional in the appropriate area of specialization.
- Name of the assessment instrument(s) used.
- Clearly define the impact of the disability on the student's housing needs.
- Severity factors of the disability must be stated.
- Prescriptive treatments and/or medications must be noted.
- Housing accommodation requests must be directly related to the individual's substantial limitation.
- The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations for accommodations as well as an explanation as to why each accommodation is recommended.
All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, signed and otherwise legible. Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses, and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities must be qualified to do so. Documentation that is incomplete, does not specifically follow the guidelines above, or not specific may result in the denial of the student's request.
Substantiation of Specific Disabilities SFA's housing policies are in line with the American Lung Association's suggestions for minimizing the allergic reactions to most of the common allergies. Documentation should include:
- Asthma - SFA's housing policies are in line with the American Lung Association's suggestions for minimizing the allergic reactions to most of the common allergies. Documentation should include:
- Diagnosis and allergens
- Frequency of attacks (i.e. constant, intermittent)
- Severity of attacks (i.e. mild, moderate, severe)
- Current medications and prescriptive treatments
- Recommendation to assist in controlling allergens within university housing
- Allergies are not considered a disability as defined under the ADA; therefore they will not be accommodated.
- Other Physical, Health or Psychological Disabilities (other than Learning Disabilities or ADD/ADHD) - As defined under the provisions of Section 504 and the ADA, other disabilities may include, but not be limited to, the following: visual impairment, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, orthopedic impairment, cancer, diabetes, psychiatric disorder, etc.
- Learning Disabilities - Learning disabilities are accommodated in every housing facility on campus; therefore, no additional accommodations will be made for this category of disorder. Each facility has a study room available. The Steen Library has the Academic Assistance Resource Center (AARC) which offers tutoring and assistance to all students.
- Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder - In addition to the criteria set out above, the medical and/or clinical diagnosis for ADD or ADHD should include an adult-based evaluation with quantitative and qualitative data.
Therapy Animal - An animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability or provides emotional support or therapeutic benefits that alleviate one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability; however, the animal is not required to be individually trained or certified to perform such task. Therapy animals include "emotional support animals" and "assistive animals" used to support individuals with mental disabilities. These animals may provide crime deterrent effects or emotional support, well-being or comfort. Residence Life or Disability Services may ask individuals who have disabilities that are not readily apparent or known to the university official to submit reliable documentation of a disability and their disability-related need for a therapy animal within the residence hall. For more information reference the university policy http://www.sfasu.edu/policies/animals-on-university-property-13.2.pdf.
Recommendations for Accommodations
- It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process. Conversely, a prior history of accommodation does not, in and of itself, warrant the provision of a similar accommodation.
- The evaluation 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.
- If accommodations are not clearly identified in a diagnostic report, the Residence Life Department will seek clarification and, if necessary, more information. The final determination for providing appropriate and reasonable accommodations rests with the university. Some of these accommodations may be provided through academic accommodations rather than housing accommodations.
- Students who seek to appeal a decision made under the provisions of these guidelines may obtain a copy of the appeal procedure from the Director of Disability Services.
- The university has a responsibility to maintain confidentiality of the evaluation and may not release any part of the documentation without the student's informed and written consent, or written release from the diagnosing professional or agency. Disability Services and the Residence Life Department must receive written consent to discuss with parents confidential information regarding a student's disability.
Submit medical documentation to:
c/o Special Accommodations
P.O. Box 13054 SFA
Nacogdoches, TX 75962
Disability Services Contact Information:
P.O. Box 6130 SFA
Nacogdoches, TX 75962
Appendix A - Recommendation for Finding and Working with Qualified Professionals
For assistance in finding and selecting a qualified professional:
- Contact Disability Services at SFA and discuss your future plans.
- If additional documentation is required, seek assistance in identifying a qualified professional, ask what his/her credentials are; and ask what experience he/she has had working with adults with your disability.
In working with the professional:
Take a copy of these guidelines to the professional
- Encourage him/her to clarify questions with the director of Disability Services
- Know that professionals must maintain confidentiality with respect to your records
As follow-up to the assessment by the professional:
- Request a written copy of the assessment report, vision test, audiogram, etc.
- Request the opportunity to discuss the results and recommendations
- Request additional resources if you need them and maintain a personal file of your records and reports