We understand that while considering leaving home to attend college somewhere, there are issues and concerns unique to students with disabilities, and we want to address those concerns for you. UW-Eau Claire has a long history of providing equal access to all the benefits of this campus — academic and otherwise. If you don’t find an answer to the questions you have on the pages of this website, please contact our office using the form at the bottom of our pages.
What does the SSD office do?
The SSD office facilitates accommodations and services to students with disabilities which ensure equal access to university programs and activities.
What qualifies as a disability?
A disability is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. "Substantially limits" is defined as being unable to perform or significantly restricting a major life activity. A "major life activity" is defined as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
Is it a special application process?
Individuals with disabilities must complete the standard university application form and meet the published university admission criteria (https://www.uwec.edu/admissions/). If an applicant with a disability wishes to request an exception to any admission requirement, they must:
- include with the application a letter requesting the exception and explain the rationale for the request; and
- submit to the Services for Students with Disabilities office appropriate documentation which clearly identifies both the existence of a disability and the resulting need for the exception being requested.
The Services for Students with Disabilities does not assist in the application process.
What documentation is required?
In order to receive services or accommodations relative to a disability, documentation must be provided by a licensed professional qualified to determine a disability; must clearly provide a diagnosis of the disability; must be age-appropriate (i.e. assesses the students' current level of functioning); must list the functional limitations of the student's disability in an educational setting; and must clearly link the recommended accommodations to the student's functional limitations. Please see Documentation Guidelines and disability-specific forms provided in Documentation Requirements.
Is an IEP sufficient for documentation?
Although an IEP or 504 Plan may help identify services that have been effective for you, it generally is not sufficient documentation. Please see Documentation Guidelines.
I have a learning disability (or ADD/ADHD), but I have not been tested for it since I was in elementary school. Will I need to be re-tested to receive accommodations at college?
Disability documentation must include information assessing the student's current level of functioning. So, most likely you will need to be re-tested.
Does UW-Eau Claire pay for evaluations or re-evaluations of a disability?
No. It is the student's responsibility to provide verification of disability to the university and to pay for evaluations/re-evaluations of disability. Frequently this type of service will be covered by your family health insurance. The SSD professional staff can provide information regarding local assessment resources.
Once admitted, how to receive services
Documentation verifying your disability and need for accommodations must be submitted directly to the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office in Centennial Hall 2106. After the SSD office has reviewed this information and confirmed your status as an individual with a disability, you will be notified to schedule an intake appointment with the SSD Director or SSD Academic Coordinator. At that time, a "Services and Accommodations Verification Form" will be completed specific to your disability-related needs. Procedures and additional forms to facilitate the provision of accommodations will also be provided.
I have a disability but I don't think I'll need any accommodations. Do I have to tell you about it anyway?
Self-disclosure of your disability is not required. However, if you experience any type of difficulty as a result of your disability (i.e. emergency medical appointments which interfere with class attendance, medication changes that severely affect concentration, etc.), it is recommended that you have disability documentation on file with the SSD office. In those instances, SSD professional staff would then be able to advocate in your behalf based on your disability documentation.
Notifying faculty of a student's disability
The SSD office provides a "Verification of Individual Services and Accommodations" (or VISA) to you each semester that you request accommodations. Based on your disability documentation, this form lists the appropriate accommodations you are eligible to receive. You will then take this form, along with any additional forms (i.e. Test Accommodations Agreement, Note Taking Agreement, etc.) to each of your instructors and discuss your specific needs. Jointly, you and the instructor make arrangements for how the specific accommodation(s) will be provided.
While an injury such as a broken bone is ideally temporary and not a permanent disability, it is a limitation and can affect your access to your education.
We do not provide personal assistance for projects or assignments done outside of the classroom, but the SSD office can facilitate the provision of services/accommodations to assist you with in-class activities (i.e. note takers; scribe for exams). Assistive technology, such as voice-activated software, is also available for use on campus. However, specialized training in the use of this software is required. Students with temporary medical conditions are encouraged to communicate with their instructors as soon as possible regarding the difficulties they experience due to an injury.
Suppose I broke my leg and cannot walk distances or drive. Will the university give me a ride to and from campus and between classes?
No and Yes. The university does not provide transportation to and from campus for students living off campus. You are responsible for arranging rides to and from campus. However, once you arrive on campus, the Parking and Transportation Office operates an on campus conveyance service for students with either temporary or permanent disabilities. Rides are provided to and from upper campus and between academic buildings.