The definition of a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one of more major life activities. These include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Civil rights laws protect students with disabilities from discrimination. The ADA and Section 504 protections also extend to students who have a record of or are regarded as having such an impairment, even if no such impairment currently exists.
Students with disabilities at Great Falls College MSU have a right to reasonable accommodations in order to fully participate in the postsecondary educational experience. Students with disabilities are encouraged to advocate for themselves to the extent possible, and Disability Services provides support and assistance in determining what accommodations are best suited to each individual. Students needing accommodations must apply for services through Disability Services and be determined eligible.
Students with disabilities who may wish to use accommodations during their education are encouraged to register in the early stages of their college planning with Disability Services. Although students can request services at any time, please remember that services are not retroactive. Students who apply for services will need to meet with the Director to discuss support services and accommodations. This is separate process from the Admissions process. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate the request for services.
Students requesting accommodations must meet with the Director of Disability Services to determine appropriate accommodations. Appropriate documentation of disability will be reviewed by the Director of Disability Services, and accommodations will be determined based upon the students’ self-report and appropriate documentation of the disability. Together, the Director of Disability Services and the student will determine reasonable accommodations based upon the impact of the student’s disability. Students needing classroom accommodations will need to get Request for Classroom Accommodation forms from Disability Services each semester for each instructor.
Because modification requests are individualized based upon each student’s disability, it is necessary to establish not only the existence but the functional impact of the condition on the student in an academic setting. While much of this information can often be obtained through a structured interview with the student, documentation from a qualified professional is an essential factor in determining reasonable modification with each student.
Appropriate documentation should substantiate the disability and present evidence to establish the need for modification. Suggested types of documentation include medical records, psycho-educational testing, and school records. In most cases, documentation should come from an impartial, qualified health care provider who is involved with the diagnosis and/or treatment of the student’s condition. The documentation should indicate the student’s most recent diagnosis and should reflect the student’s current level of impairment and functional limitations due to the disability. If the student’s medications or treatment has a functional impact that may affect his or her ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment, the documentation should indicate this. Documentation should include recommendations for modifications in the educational setting.
When a student’s condition or its impact changes, he or she must provide Disability Services with an updated version of the documentation. An individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan, may help identify services that have been effective for you. Because of the differences between postsecondary education and high school education, Disability Services will make final determination of whether appropriate and reasonable modifications are warranted and can be provided to the individual.