VCOM College Catalog and Student Handbook

 Information about the student’s history of receiving academic and/or testing accommodations helps VCOM understand the nature and severity of the student’s disability and the need for accommodation. This may include documentation of previous accommodations in the academic setting (i.e. Individualized Education Plan or a 504 Accommodation Plan). The provision of previous accommodations by another academic institution, even if for the condition reported, does not guarantee the provision of accommodations at VCOM. Further, when presented alone, such documentation is inadequate documentation of a disability; however, it can be provided as a supplement to documentation. • Documentation must describe the specific accommodations requested, and explain why they are needed. The reason for requesting a particular accommodation is not always evident from the diagnosis. Be sure the rationale for specific accommodations focuses on the following: o Connection between the student’s disability and the requested accommodations; o Current needs of the student; and o Reasons requested accommodations are needed in VCOM’s curriculum and/or exams. • VCOM may request a second opinion or an independent evaluation of the disability if the college believes there is a need for an evaluation by a specialist with knowledge of advances in the field or if the college deems the provided reports incomplete. This may be at the student’s expense. 3. Signed statement from the specialist evaluating the student that verifies they have read the VCOM Technical Standards and that the student will meet the Technical Standards with reasonable accommodations. 4. Release of Information Form - Students applying for accommodations may be asked to sign a release of information form that allows VCOM administration and the health care provider/evaluator to discuss the accommodations needed. Determining Eligibility for Accommodations Once a student submits the completed Section 504 Request for Eligibility Form and required documents, the Campus Section 504 Committee will meet to determine the student’s eligibility. In order to be eligible for services under Section 504 and the ADA, a student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The determination of whether a disability substantially limits a major life activity is subjective, and Section 504 and the ADA do not provide any operational criteria of substantial limitation. The Section 504 Committee must use their collective, professional judgment to make this determination. Substantially limits can be defined as being unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform; or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration for which an individual can perform a particular major life activity as compared to the condition, manner, or duration for which the average person in the general population can perform that same major life activity. When determining whether the substantial limitation requirement is met, the Section 504 Committee will consider the nature and severity of the impairment, the duration of the impairment, and any long-term impact of the impairment. Students should be aware that simply because they are considered for Section 504 and ADA services and protections it does not mean the student is eligible. Likewise, just because a student is determined to have a disability does not automatically result in eligibility for Section 504 and ADA services and protections; a substantial limitation must result from the physical or mental impairment. As previously noted in the definition of substantial limitation, the standard used to determine whether a physical or mental impairment results in a substantial limitation is average performance in the general population. Therefore, the standard used is not the optimal performance level for a person but the average performance of individuals found in the general population.


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