Students' Frequently Asked Questions
Our FAQ topics include:
- What constitutes a disability?
- What does substantially limiting mean?
- What is a major life activity?
- What are academic adjustments?
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. Learning is an example of a major life activity. If you have a mental or physical condition, a history of such a condition, or a condition that may be considered by others as substantially limiting, you may have a legally defined disability.
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, substantially limiting is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people.
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a major life activity is defined as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
Appropriate academic adjustments create an equal access to education, as long as they do not require a substantial change in an essential element of the curriculum. The institution determines this. Such modifications may include an adjustment in the amount of time allowed to complete a degree, substitution of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted.
- What should I know when applying to LaGuardia Community College? Are there any special procedures?
- What should I do if I suspect I have a disability and want to receive accommodations?
- I received accommodations in high school or I had an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Can I use the IEP as documentation?
- I received special education (IDEA) or 504 services in high school. How are these services different in college?
- If I am a student with a disability, will OSD seek me out to provide services like my counselors did in high school?
- What role do my parents play in the process?
- I have a physical disability and have trouble getting around. What types of accommodations are geared just for me?
- I suspect I have a learning disability; can OSD conduct the assessment to provide a diagnosis?
- 'm a ACCESS client. Is there anything special I should know?
- I'm a New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) client. Is there anything special I should know?
There are no special admissions procedures. Students with disabilities must apply to LaGuardia through the regular admissions procedure.
If you suspect you have a disability that is impacting your academic performance, you will need to provide documentation of that disability to the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). A qualified professional who is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question must supply this documentation. An appointment should be scheduled with a counselor in the OSD Office to review the documentation and the need for services.
The IEP is a valuable resource of information, but it cannot be used as the sole documentation of the disability. Students are also asked to bring their CSE or diagnostic reports.
Colleges are required to provide any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary for equal access to education. They are not required to design special programs for students with disabilities or have Individualized Educational Plans (IEP's).
In college, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and under the Americans with Disabilities Act. IDEA no longer applies. Since this is the case, the legal obligations change. There is no special education in college. Under IDEA, it is the responsibility of the schools to provide services and seek out students with disabilities. However, colleges do not have to seek out students with disabilities. It is the student's responsibility to seek out services through OSD.
Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults. In this case, the students are responsible for their own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. However, students are encouraged to have an open dialogue with their parents. Parents can be a wonderful source of support.
Students with physical disabilities are encouraged to register with OSD every semester so that their counselor can help them with access to buildings and other College activities.
Yes. However due to the amount or referrals, there is a long waiting list. Students who want to be tested for Learning Disabilities must dedicate themselves to the process, since it lasts several weeks.
If you have an ACCESS counselor, you are encouraged to stay in contact with your counselor. The college counselors do not replace local borough counselors for ACCESS clients. If you do not have a ACCESS counselor or have other questions regarding ACCESS, you may contact them directly by clicking on the links below:
If you have a CBVH counselor in your Area, you are encouraged to have him or her contact OSD to provide information about your accessibility needs. If you don't have a counselor, contact CBVH directly at 212-825 5710. Students who are blind or legally blind (20/200 corrected in better eye or field of view no larger than 15 degrees), or students who are not legally blind but have 20/70 corrected or better vision or field of view no larger than 30 degrees, may also receive financial support and services from the Commission.
CBVH Area Office Locations:
- 50 Clinton St , Ste 208
- Hempstead, New York 11550
- Phone (516)-564-4311
- Fax (516)-292-7448
- TDD (516)-564-4325
New York City:
163 West 125th Street, Room 1315
New York, New York 10027
20 Exchange Place, 2nd Floor
New York, New York, 10005
Phone (212) 825-5710
Fax (212) 825-7143
445 Hamilton Ave., 5th floor
White Plains, New York 10601
What do I need to know if I would like to use
the OSD for testing?
Please refer to the Student Testing Rules for complete information regarding the OSD for testing.
Adaptive Technology is the use of technology to provide equal access to information. The ATS lab is a computer laboratory just like any other on campus. ATS offers adaptive support services for students with disabilities such as computer screen readers, voice activated computer input, textbook scanning, adaptive software, and many others.
ATS operates in the same functional office and is administrated by OSD, but is named ATS mainly to be more descriptive of services.
If you think you may benefit from a technology accommodation, ask your counselor for a referral to ATS or stop by OSD and ask about it. If you do not know the name of your counselor, contact OSD. A professional staff member can advise you on technologies that may work for you. If you qualify for disability services, the equipment and software you need may be available right here at the College.
ATS exists primarily to serve students with disabilities at LaGuardia; any current student registered with OSD may use lab resources
ATS supports and provides training for adaptive hardware and software used to accommodate disabilities. The ATS staff can answer general questions regarding your computer and the software you use.