Empowering Students with Disabilities
The Office of Disability and Equal Access Services of Dakota Wesleyan University is located in the George and Eleanor McGovern Library. This office works to ensure equal access and full participation for persons with disabilities in post-secondary education as outlined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. We hope to empower students with disabilities to obtain the education and skills necessary for a fulfilling, productive career after leaving Dakota Wesleyan University.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
** No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
How Do I Request Services?
Students are responsible for initiating services. E-mail Donna Dunn, Disability Services Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-605-995-2904. Donna will set up an appointment with you to discuss documentation requirements and conduct a needs assessment. Services are not retroactive; notification and requests must be made by the student in order to receive services.
What Is Considered A Disability?
DWU uses the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a guide to define disability: a condition that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, learning, hearing, and/or seeing). Services will be provided to students with physical, psychiatric, and/or learning disabilities, chronic health conditions, mobility, visual, speech and coordination impairments.
Students with temporary conditions such as broken arms, sprained ankles, etc, are also eligible for temporary services as needed.
What Type of Documentation is Required?
Documentation of a disability is necessary to initiate and receive services through the Office of Disability Services and Equal Access. If students do not have the proper documentation to support their requests for accommodation, they are required to get the documentation (test, diagnosis, etc.) at their own expense. Typically, high school 504 Plans or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are not sufficient documentation for the provision of accommodations.
High school juniors and seniors should know that elementary and high schools are required to retest students for disabilities every three years and that when a student nears graduation, the school is required to develop a transition plan to help prepare the student for life after high school.
Students should take advantage of this transition plan and get new testing if necessary. Students with learning disabilities should be tested after age 16 using adult scales. Others may need a letter from a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist to document a specific physical or mental limitation.