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Admission to Professional Programs

All post-secondary institutions must insure that their campuses and educational programs are accessible to qualified persons with disabilities. The policies and procedures of the institution frame the strategies that professional programs should use to respond to the requirements of ADA. Any policies adopted by the professional program must be in conformance with those of the institution although they may differ with respect to the unique requirements of the specific program of study.

A clear delineation and publication of criteria for admission may be the most important action that can be taken with regards to ADA. It is these criteria which allow applicants to understand what functions, standards and competencies will be required of them during the course of their study and whether or not accommodations will be necessary in order for them to be successful. These criteria should be fairly applied to all applicants. Selected criteria should reflect the functions, standards and competencies that correspond to the particular mission of the program and all certification or licensure requirements.

When a student with a disability requests specific accommodations, the faculty member can then consult with the SSD office for assistance. It is important to bear in mind that there are some impairments that may preclude participation in a given profession. An individual may be able to master content and pass classroom exams but possess certain limitations or conditions that cannot be surmounted with reasonable accommodation and/or present day technology. Accommodations that would substantially alter the curriculum are not required. For this reason, it is vital that essential components of the curriculum/program be identified.

Procedures for obtaining special accommodations should be written and available to all students. Such procedures will usually include the SSD office and/or individual to be contacted, conditions under which accommodations are made and an appeal process. Students have the responsibility to identify themselves as an individual with a disability and with a need for accommodation.