Students with Disabilities
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
If you’re a student considering study at Ouachita Baptist University, a new student about to begin your college career, or already hard at work here and needing to examine if you might be eligible to receive special accommodations, you’ve come to the right place!
We’re eager to work with you to explore your needs, so please examine carefully the instructions provided below regarding ADA 504 Accommodations at OBU.
Given the significant financial, time and emotional investments involved in obtaining a university education, and our responsibility to maintain an equitable and reasonably fair environment for academic achievement, we must require considerable information from all students requesting ADA 504 Accommodations. The university is eager to provide those accommodations to eligible students, and does so frequently and without hesitation. But, a student’s previous history of accommodations at the elementary or secondary level does not automatically insure that student will receive the same accommodations at the university level.
In order to be evaluated for current eligibility for such benefits, students must first present to the office of the ADA 504 Coordinator/University Counselor the required documentation. An appointment can be made by contacting Michelle Smead, the Office Manager in the Student Development Office, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 870-245-5220. The OBU policy statement below details what we need from you. You may also download a copy of this document by clicking here. Within this pamphlet you’ll see detailed the specific kinds of testing results required of students requesting ADA 504 Accommodations at OBU. Please review this information carefully. Note especially that all testing results must be no older than three years. If you have further questions after reviewing this material, please contact the University Counselor/ADA 504 Coordinator at (870) 245-5591.
If you have a disability that may require some accommodation affecting your student housing, please see the section below for Housing Accommodation Requests for Students with Special Medical Conditions.
The completion and appropriate submission of all required documentation does not guarantee that a student’s accommodation request(s) will be granted.
Ouachita Baptist University supports the goals of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act to extend access and opportunity to those who are disabled. It is the University’s intention to fully comply with the provisions set forth in these federal laws while maintaining the essential academic standards of the institution. The University does not discriminate on the basis of disability with respect to admission to, access to, or employment in its programs and activities.
Just as the University is responsible for the provision of reasonable accommodations for those who are disabled, the student has responsibilities concerning documentation of the disabling condition and requests for accommodations. The guidelines below have been established to assist students who desire accommodation for a disabling condition.
Identification of Disability
It is the responsibility of the student to self-identify a disabling condition if he or she desires an accommodation. This disclosure must be made to the ADA/504 Coordinator/University Counselor. This office is located in the Student Development Suite, in the Evans Student Center. The phone number for the ADA/504 Coordinator/University Counselor at OBU is 870-245-5591.
It is the responsibility of the student to provide written documentation of any disabling condition for which he or she desires an accommodation. Documentation should be recent (within the previous three years) when concerning conditions that tend to change over the course of time (such as learning disabilities or emotional/mental disorders.) Less recent documentation may be acceptable for disabling conditions that do not tend to change over the course of time (such as many mobility, visual, or hearing impairments).
Those seeking special accommodations for medical/physical health conditions must provide the ADA 504 Coordinator with documentation from their current treating physician detailing not only their current diagnosis, but also the impairment or limitations the problem brings to daily functioning (in areas pertaining to the nature and compromising impact of the condition, such as to mobility, vision, hearing, diet, etc.). This documentation should also include the physician’s recommended accommodations for the impaired student.
The documentation must include a diagnosis of the disabling condition and a description of the resulting functional difficulties and limitations in an educational setting, as well as the severity and longevity of the condition. Documentation should include suggestions of reasonable accommodations which might be appropriate at the post secondary level. This documentation should be presented to the ADA/504 Coordinator at least 30 days before classes begin.
For learning disabilities, documentation of testing results must be provided by a licensed psychologist or other appropriately certified educational diagnostician. Testing should include a full range IQ test, such as the Wechsler, Woodcock-Johnson III or IV, or the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS). Submitted reports must be sure to include achievement test in reading, writing, and math. Although the University does not provide or pay for testing services, the ADA/504 Coordinator will provide a referral for students who desire such testing.
For emotional or mental disorders, documentation must be obtained from your psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed Psychological Examiner and include the DSM-V diagnosis, a summary of your present and most debilitating symptoms, reference to the assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, and a summary of evaluation results (including standardized or percentile scores). This means, therefore, that for those seeking assistance with ADD/ADHD, test anxiety, and many other conditions, a diagnosis alone is insufficient to secure eligibility for accommodations. Further evidence must be submitted establishing how and to what extent the student’s disabling condition is currently impairing their academic performance. If medication is prescribed, the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the post secondary environment should be included.
Requests for Accommodations
The student is responsible for requesting specific accommodations in each course. These requests must be made to the ADA/504 Coordinator in a timely manner. For example, if extended time on an exam is requested after the exam has begun, the student has failed to make request in a timely manner. If the student fails to ask for extended time until late in the semester, the instructor is only required to provide accommodations from that time forward and does not need to offer make up exams.
The ADA/504 Coordinator will facilitate requests for accommodations. Students who have presented documentation of a disability may sign a release allowing the ADA/504 Coordinator to notify professors and instructors of the need for reasonable accommodations. This process must be repeated each semester. Students should make an appointment with the ADA/504 Coordinator immediately after completing registration at the beginning of each semester. We ask that students submit their necessary documentation for review to the ADA 504 Coordinator in the Student Services Office at least one month prior to the beginning of their first semester classes. Students taking online course work who wish to request accommodations should also plan to submit their disability documentation at least 30 days before class is scheduled to begin.
Requests for accommodations that are reasonable and that are supported by the student’s documentation will be met. The University is not required to lower its academic standards. If the University determines that the requested change would substantially alter essential elements of a course or program of study, the requested modification will not be granted, even if specified in the student’s documentation. The university may also refuse to grant a student’s request for an accommodation that is not specified in the student’s documentation as being essential.
The University is not required to provide accommodations of a personal nature such as personal care attendants, tutors, or transportation services (unless non-disabled students are being transported by the University). Equipment aids (such as a wheelchair, audio recorder, or eyeglasses) also are not the responsibility of the University.
You are encouraged to pay very careful attention to the details below, and every step and instruction posted. Assistive animals may be of two sorts, a trained service animal, or an emotional support animal (ESA). Neither one is simply a pet, but are approved animals recommended by a medical or mental health professional to assist a person with a documented disability. A disability, by definition, is a physical or mental/mental health impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (such as walking, seeing, working, hearing, learning, washing, dressing, communicating with others, etc.) Assistive animals are only permitted on campus after the disabled student has met all requirements below and submitted a signed and completed OBU Service or Emotional Support Animal Contract to the ADA 504 Coordinator. An exception to the no-animals or pets housing policy is granted for approved animals provided that their behavior, noise, odor, and waste do not exceed reasonable standards for a well-behaved animal and that these factors do not create unreasonable disruptions for other residents. If the foul odor or the noise (crying, barking, or meowing, etc.) is excessive as judged by residence life staff, it is grounds to terminate the student’s contract. Assistive animals must be house-trained and exhibit no aggressive behavior.
An emotional support animal (ESA) must be contained within the student’s room at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area. The law concerning ESAs does not afford the student/owner the freedom to bring their ESA with them to events on campus, into other campus buildings, into any classroom or any student food service area, or to athletic event sites. It only permits the student to bring their ESA into their student housing, as an exception to OBU’s no-pets policy, for the mental health benefit of the student/owner. Only Service Dogs may be taken into lounges, bathrooms, laundry facilities, or other areas of the residence hall. Only a Service Dog is allowed to accompany the student into classrooms and/or other buildings on campus.
Trained Service Dogs are allowed to students identified with a particular disability or disabling condition, as recognized by the American Disabilities Act. The U.S. Department of Justice specifies that “Service animals are dogs that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” This area of the disabilities rights section statement on service animals goes on to say that, “Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”1
To begin the application process, you’ll need to print and complete the Verification Form for Housing Accommodations at OBU (see note below on the professional entity that must complete this form for the student). If approved, you will need to also print and submit a signed and completed Service Animal/ESA Contract (also available on this website). The completion of all required documentation is no guarantee that an ESA request will be granted. Be aware that any ESA or Service Animal candidate must be crate trained (resulting in no barking, whining, urinating or defecating while in the crate (this will include, of course, anytime the owner is absent from the residence) BEFORE the animal is brought onto campus.
Be advised that usually a student's request for an ESA in student housing is not granted until the student has demonstrated that they have already responsibly and consistently participated in a number of other appropriate treatment activities in an attempt to reduce whatever debilitating symptoms s/he is experiencing, but with insufficient results or benefit. For example, the student reporting difficulty with anxiety needs to have already participated in psychotherapy sessions with a licensed mental health clinician possessing specialized skills in the treatment of anxiety. That student needs to have at least carefully considered treatment with appropriate anxiety medication as well. If these efforts have yielded insufficient results, and the student continues to experience debilitating symptoms, this might then warrant the addition of an ESA to help alleviate symptoms. It may help you to remember that counseling services here at OBU are free of charge to current full-time students. You may receive treatment through any of our four counselors now on campus, or from your current treating psychotherapist/professional counselor, as you wish.
ESA’s are eligible only to students whose mental health condition is so severe that it has clearly become disabling to them (according to the ADA’s definition of a disabling condition). It is our position that one cannot effectively assert that a condition is disabling them when it is not severe enough to require psychotherapeutic (ongoing psychotherapy/counseling) or medicinal (psychotropic) intervention. So, therefore, students requesting an ESA must be in current, and ongoing counseling with a licensed mental health professional. Your current treating mental health treatment provider MUST be the one completing and submitting your required Verification Form for Housing Accommodations. If you’ve not yet attempted mental health treatment, or submit a form completed by your pediatrician or family/primary care physician, you will not likely be approved. Also, once a student has been approved for an ESA for a mental health related disability, this does not necessarily guarantee that the student will be afforded an ESA for the remainder of their years at OBU, as many mental health conditions do not always remain as life-long debilitating conditions. Many can be overcome with dedication, helpful therapy, and medicinal treatment, when appropriate.
We are happy to assist you with your request to have a service dog or emotional support animal (ESA) on campus. To process this request, the following documentation must be submitted to the University Counselor/ADA 504 Coordinator:
- Your animal’s current rabies vaccination verification, and a related tag on the animal
- For Service Dogs, a written description must be provided of the specific behaviors or tasks the dog has been trained to perform, and an explanation of how these behaviors are helpful or necessary, given the student’s identified disabling condition. For an ESA, this letter must describe how the presence of the animal significantly diminishes or alleviates at least one disabling symptom of the person’s mental health condition.
- For Service Dogs, the student must provide evidence of the dog’s specialized training to perform the assisting behaviors or tasks described above. (A letter from the dog’s trainer)
- Students must have their treating physician (for medical conditions warranting a service dog) or mental health clinician (for some Service Dogs and all ESAs) complete and return the following form to the University Counselor/ADA Accommodations Coordinator. Click here to download the Verification Form for Housing Accommodations at OBU. (Be certain to see note above regarding who must complete and submit this form if requesting an ESA.)
- Then, you’ll need to contact your assigned roommate and suite mates to insure that they are not allergic to pet dander, and ask them to provide a letter to Dan Jarboe, University Counselor and ADA 504 Coordinator, verifying their approval of your specific assistive animal’s presence in your shared university residence. If they report they are allergic, or have other issues with an animal in their living space, you’ll need to contact the OBU Housing Director to request another residence hall arrangement. This will likely require the assignment of a new roommate, and/or suitemates.
- When you have obtained the required signatures to complete an OBU Service or Emotional Support Animal Contract, and a completed Verification Form for Housing Accommodations at OBU has been submitted to Dan Jarboe, you will have completed the application process. Notification of the approval or denial of your request will be provided to you as soon as possible.
- If notified of your application’s approval, please obtain from the front desk in the Student Development Office a tag (which costs $1.00) for your animal’s collar, which verifies to others that your animal has been approved to reside on campus.
Be aware that if you house (in an OBU apartment or residence hall), for any amount of time, an animal, before all necessary documentation has been received and an official allowance has been granted by this office for you to have an ESA, this will likely be grounds for your ESA request to be denied. An applicant’s integrity is foundational to the appropriate assessment of their disability claim, so we take seriously our responsibility to insure that students are not, in violation of our no-pets policy in student housing, taking in animals as pets, and then seeking to illegitimately claim them as an ESA. We make no negative assumptions about your potential or pending request at all, but simply want to help you avoid the risk of an unpleasant outcome by bringing an animal into housing prematurely.
Be advised that animals are not allowed to reside in Kluck Hillside Apartments. If you are granted permission to have an ESA or Service Dog, you will be housed in one of our other student housing facilities.
Alternate Format Print Materials
Texts and other materials can be made available in digital format, and audio books or recordings are available as well through a number of downloadable computer programs such as Natural Reader Free, JAWS and Thunder, and other screen reader software. These programs may be available at the student’s expense. We will guide students with the acquisition of such aids. Free text enlargements are also available upon request.
Extended time, readers, scribes, and distraction-reduced testing areas can be arranged.
Note takers in the class provide notes for eligible students. These notes can be photocopied or sent to the student by e-mail.
Sign Language Interpreters and Transcription Services
Trained sign language interpreters and transcriptionists may provide access to auditory classroom information for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Counseling, advising, peer mentors can be provided to students needing such support. We have a pool of hand selected juniors and seniors who are eager to befriend, encourage, and mentor freshman and other incoming students.
Unrestricted Campus Building Access
Upon request, we are happy to assist students with access to classrooms and meeting halls on campus. If you find any architectural barriers please fill out the online Barrier Alert form.
A Sampling of Accommodations Provided to Eligible Students:
- Preferred seating (at or near the front of the classroom)
- Allow student full view of the instructor’s face – to accommodate lip reading
- Permission to audio record lectures
- Leniency with tardiness/punctuality to class, given student’s difficulty walking
- Please repeat comments or questions offered by other students in the classroom
- Extended time on examinations and quizzes (time plus ½)
- Testing in a reduced-distraction environment, as requested
- If playing a video recording or film during class, please use closed captioning/subtitles whenever possible
- Assign student a lab partner if measuring/manipulation of liquids or small objects is required
- Avoid oral testing of this student whenever possible
- Note-taking assistance, as requested by the student (please identify a student in your class with excellent note- taking skills that would be willing to email this material to the student or have his/her notes copied at the Student Services Office’s expense)
- Test questions read aloud and clarified, as appropriate for the course
- Permission to use a laptop computer or tablet in class for note taking
- Use of a scribe for in-class written work and on tests and quizzes (as appropriate for the course). This must be arranged in advance of each exam. Please also allow in-class electronic submission of exam/test responses using her laptop computer, when possible, and when appropriate measures can be utilized to insure the spontaneity/originality/integrity of the material being submitted.
- Spelling and grammatical errors marked but not penalized on in-class writing unless essential to the course
- If a time of small group discussion occurs, please allow the student to reposition the microphone in the center of his group area.
- Please provide written copies of all classroom or assignment instructions to this student.
- Permission to use a calculator for all work requiring math computation, unless the course focus is the development of such computation skills
- Allow a fellow student permission to awaken student if she is observed asleep in class
- Exempt student from being penalized or presumed disinterested if she is found sleeping in class. Instead, kindly awaken her or ask a nearby student to do so.
- Need for advanced notice to read aloud in class
ADA 504 Accommodations Application Steps
Given the significant financial, time and emotional investments involved in obtaining a university education, and our responsibility to maintain an equitable and reasonably fair environment for academic achievement, we must require considerable information from all students requesting ADA 504 Accommodations. The university is eager to provide accommodations to eligible students, and does so without hesitation. But, a student’s previous history of accommodations at the elementary or secondary level does not automatically insure that student will receive the same accommodations at the university.
- Read and become familiar with the university’s ADA 504 Accommodations Policy for Students With Disabilities by visiting the Students with Disabilities webpage.
- Obtain the required documentation (see the detailed descriptions provided within the Documentation section of the above referenced Policy statement.) Please send your testing documentation to Daniel Jarboe at email@example.com or 410 Ouachita St. Box 3646, Arkadelphia, AR 71998-0001.
- Make an appointment with the ADA 504 Accommodations Coordinator by calling 870-245-5220, or by visiting the Student Development Office, located inside the Evans Student Center, next door to the campus medical clinic.
- Meet with the ADA 504 Coordinator with your documentation in hand. A determination will then be made concerning the student’s eligibility for accommodations, or about whether any additional information may still be required.
- At this time official accommodation letters to professors will be provided to approved students. The ADA 504 Coordinator will also email the student’s accommodations letter to each of the student’s instructors for the current semester. The student is then responsible to communicate directly with each instructor to discuss how each accommodation will be most appropriately or conveniently arranged. The Student is required to request an appointment with the ADA 504 Coordinator/University Counselor at the onset of each subsequent academic semester to obtain updated accommodations letters for distribution to the appropriate faculty/staff.
If you will likely be requesting some kind of housing accommodation related to a specific disabling medical condition you have, please have your current treating physician (the physician or medical specialist who your current primary treating clinician for that particular condition) print and complete a Verification Form for Housing Accommodations at OBU on your behalf, and fax that completed form to our ADA 504 Accommodations Coordinator, Dan Jarboe, at 870-245-5341. This completed form must be faxed directly from the physician’s office, rather than from the student. If additional information is required, the student will be notified by email of that need. A decision concerning the requested accommodation will then be communicated to the student as soon as possible. We ask that housing accommodation requests for the fall semester be submitted no later than March 1, and by Oct. 1 for the spring semester.
If you anticipate that your requested accommodation to your OBU residence may involve some kind of construction modification, please communicate your anticipated need as soon as possible, to allow us as much time as possible to fully address this need with you and make any warranted and approved alterations.