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Student Guide

Disability Documentation Guidelines

Students requesting accommodations or services from Disability Support Services (DSS) must submit documentation of their disability that meets DSS guidelines and verifies eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADAAA). Under the ADAAA, a “person with a disability” is someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Some major life activities include, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working.

DSS understands that once a student is diagnosed as having a disability, it is typically lifelong. Nevertheless, how the disability will manifest itself and impact the student may change in different settings and over time. Therefore, DSS requests documentation in order to understand the student individually and how the disability will impact him or her in a college setting in order to make informed decisions regarding the need for accommodations and services.

Documentation should be up to date and completed by a professional qualified to make the diagnosis, such as a psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, education professional, psychiatrist/physician, or other health care provider. It should identify the disability, describe its current impact, and address how the impairment substantially limits a major life activity. It is recommended that the documentation describe the individual’s current or past accommodations, support services and medications, as well as any recommendations for accommodations in the college setting.

Types of documentation can include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Psychoeducational, psychological and educational evaluations
• Medical reports, letters and assessments from health care providers
• Documents that reflect accommodation history, such as a 504 Plan, Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Summary of Performance (SOP) as long as the information provided is recent enough to assess the current impact of the condition and establish a connection between the disability and the accommodation being requested.

For documentation of mental health disabilities (including ADHD) and chronic medical or physical disabilities, students may have their treating professional complete the appropriate form below:

DSS will evaluate disability documentation and determine eligibility and accommodations based on the appropriateness, recency and completeness of the documentation submitted. If the submitted documentation is incomplete, out of date, or does not support the student’s request for accommodations, the student may be asked to provide additional documentation. Students are encouraged to contact DSS for further guidance on the documentation needed for their individual situation.

The documentation provided will be reviewed as a part of the collaborative process with the student. During a personal interview, consideration will also be given to the student’s self-report, strengths and needs, academic experiences and current program of study, as well as his or her ideas regarding accommodations.

Temporary Conditions

Services are available for Towson University students who may need assistance accessing their courses due to a temporary physical or medical condition. Temporary conditions are those resolved in a matter of weeks or a few months. They are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and services are not guaranteed.

When to Contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs

A student who is hospitalized for an extended time or has an on-going serious medical issue may contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at (410) 704-2055 or studentsaffairs@towson.edu. This office can assist you with developing a plan for managing the impact of your medical issue on campus. You should also personally notify your professors if you have missed or will miss classes; your professors are in the best position to discuss how absences from class will affect your class performance. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs can serve as a resource by contacting instructors with notification of class absences in critical and emergency situations. The class absence notifications are strictly informational and advisory; they are not intended to verify or provide proof of the legitimacy of the absence.

Students with temporary health conditions should make their own arrangements for assistance whenever possible, such as asking a friend to help with transportation or asking another student in class for a copy of his or her notes.

When to Contact Disability Support Services (DSS)

If a student needs additional assistance, he or she should initiate the process for registering with Disability Support Services (DSS). DSS works with students on a case-by-case basis who have temporary health conditions that significantly impact major life activities. Examples of temporary conditions include broken limbs, hand injuries or short term impairments following surgery or medical treatments. The steps to register with DSS are:

  • Step 2: Provide a written statement on letterhead from the professional treating the condition to verify the condition and need for temporary services. This statement should specifically address the:

               Condition and relevant limitations, such as “cannot walk more than 50 feet”
               Type of assistance needed
               Length of time the assistance will be needed

  • Step 3: Meet with a DSS specialist to discuss your needs.

Depending on the nature of the limitation, accommodations may be extended to a student with a temporary condition for the period of time in which the student is impacted.

Examples of temporary accommodations include:

Note taking assistance
Assistance with taking exams if the student is impacted in reading or writing
Paratransit van assistance for on-campus transportation
DSS does not provide personal assistance to students with temporary disabilities, such as carrying books or lending personal mobility aids.

Getting Around Campus and Parking with a Temporary Health Condition

Students using mobility aids such as crutches or wheelchairs should research the most accessible routes to get to and from classes. Additionally, the university provides paratransit service that will provide scheduled pickups to students with mobility needs who are registered with DSS. Paratransit vans are equipped with a wheelchair lift and will make pickups at any campus location that is accessible safely by vehicle.

Students needing accessible parking spaces must have a state-issued handicapped placard that must be obtained by applying to the student’s home state DMV. A valid Towson University parking permit must be used in conjunction with the state-issued handicapped placard.

See the Towson University Accessibility Guide for more information on accessible walking routes, paratransit service and accessible parking at: www.towson.edu/AccessibilityMap.







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