Access & Accommodation Services

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a medical/psychological diagnosis that impact your academic achievement and/or have/had an IEP/504 plan, then this page may be helpful to you!

What is a disability?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Washington State Law, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities related to education include but are not limited to walking, sleeping, eating, learning, reading, writing, processing, hearing, etc.

What laws protect the rights of students with disabilities?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires recipients of federal funding to afford individuals with disabilities equal access to all services. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) spelled out in greater detail the obligations not only of recipients of federal funds but also private businesses and public spaces. Details like door sizes, toilet and grab bar heights, parking spaces, and many others were clearly defined.

In 2008, after a series of court decisions eroded congress’s intent with the ADA, Congress passed the amendments act. The ADA Amendments Act reaffirms congress’s intention that the ADA applies to individuals with all types of disabilities including those suffering from long-term illnesses such as cancer or impairments to bodily systems and made clear that mitigating measures should not be taken into effect when determining whether an individual has a disability. The intent and effect of the amendments act was to significantly expand the number of people covered by the ADA.

What is an accommodation?

An accommodation is an adjustment made to a policy and/or academic environment to ensure students with temporary or permanent disabilities have equal access to course material, information, activities, programs, housing, and other campus facilities.

How do I ask a student about their disability?

Asking a student for more details regarding their disability is not permitted as the confidentiality of medical information must be maintained. It is an individual’s choice whether to disclose the nature of their disability.

What is a service animal?

A service animal is an animal that is trained to work or perform active tasks for an individual with a disability. If it is unclear whether an animal (a dog and rarely a miniature horse) is a service animal, anyone can ask following questions: (1) is the service animal required because of a disability and (2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform? If you are unsure whether these questions have been answered satisfactorily, allow the person and animal to proceed, and contact Access & Accommodation Services on campus.

Access & Accommodation Services at Genesee Community College encourages students with services animals to register their animals with our office. This can be helpful if the student and service animal are separated for any reason and we need to facilitate reunification. Please view our Service Animal Registration Form to begin the process.

Do students in Special Education classes (IDEA) or those who have had a 504 plan in high school automatically receive the same accommodations and services they did in high school?

The laws governing mandated accommodations for students with disabilities are different at the post-secondary level (colleges and universities) than K-12. Therefore, a student may not receive accommodations that they received in high school. In some cases the accommodations that students receive in high school may be the same, but other accommodations may not be reasonable and appropriate at the college level. This is why each student’s documentation is reviewed and accommodations are discussed with the Access Review Team.

For information related to the differences between k-12 services and services in higher education, please see our document Transitioning to College Accommodations.

Is there someone who will be closely monitoring the student’s progress?

Unlike high school, the university setting requires students to act as independent adults. If a student comes to Access & Accommodation Services when things are going poorly, every effort will be made to get that student back on track within the parameters of our services. Daily monitoring, however, is not available.

What role can parents have in requesting accommodations in college? 

A student who is 18 years old or older is legally recognized as an adult. As an adult, the student must self-identify to Access & Accommodation Services and request accommodations. Accommodation requests will only be accepted from the student, not from his or her parents. Many times parents ask to be included in the first appointment with Access & Accommodation Services. With the student’s approval, this can be very helpful. Students must sign a release if they wish to have information shared with parents after the first meeting.

How do I set up accommodations for my classes? 

Students must self-identify to Access & Accommodation Services and request accommodations (this is separate from the general admissions process). You will be asked to provide documentation of your disability and complete forms related to your accommodation requests. Students who are taking classes on the Genesee Community College campus will be asked to meet with a Access & Accommodation Services Professional for an intake meeting to discuss the accommodation process. Students who are taking classes online only will need to communicate by phone or electronically with an Access & Accommodation Services Professional.

If I am receiving accommodations at another college or university will I automatically get the same accommodations at Genesee Community College?

Each college/university may have different documentation guidelines and rules about what constitutes a reasonable accommodation. Upon transfer to Genesee Community College, information from a previous school is helpful but it is still necessary for Access & Accommodation Services Professionals to review your documentation and determine what is reasonable at our institution.

Will there be any record on my transcript if I use accommodations through Access & Accommodation Services?

No, there are no flags or identifying markers on students’ academic record if they utilize disability accommodation. Further, documentation and disability services records are maintained separately from other academic records.

What kind of documentation do I need to provide to Access & Accommodation Services?

Documentation guidelines vary based on the type of disability. Guidelines are broken down into the categories below. If you are unsure which to use please call our office. In general, please utilize the following information regarding documentation:

  • Documentation must be printed on professional letterhead. A diagnostic statement from a qualified professional (psychologist, neuropsychologist, educational psychologist, learning disability specialist, psychiatrist, or medically-based physician) identifying the disability, the date of the evaluation, and a date of the original diagnosis of the disability. (Please note: prescriptions from a physician are NOT acceptable forms of documentation.)
  • The credentials and signature of the evaluator, medical professional, etc. must be stated.
  • Documentation must include the minimum of a diagnosis and summary of current impact on the individual.
  • Include any tests administered, with scores, and recommendations of areas where accommodations might be needed.
  • A school plan such as a current individualized educational (IEP) plan or a 504 is insufficient documentation on its own.

When and where do I send my disability documentation?

Please submit your documentation directly to Access & Accommodation Services as soon as possible before the start of the semester. It is extremely helpful if documentation can be sent to Access & Accommodation Services prior to your first appointment with an Access & Accommodation Services Professional. Documentation can be faxed, emailed, or mailed to our office. Please be sure to make copies if you are providing original documents to Access & Accommodation Services.

Does Genesee Community College have special tutoring for students with disabilities?

Access & Accommodation Services does not provide tutoring as an accommodation. We refer students to the Genesee Community College Tutoring Center. These tutorials are study skills based and do not reteach the classroom material. Students who want one on one tutoring have the option to recruit and hire tutors on their own.

Is special help with writing or math available?

Genesee Community College has both a Math Lab and a Writing Center that are open to all students. These services are held in different locations on campus and thus a student with a disability must be highly motivated and independent enough to follow through with using these resources.

If I believe I am eligible for Access & Accommodation Services, what should I do next?

Please do not hesitate to visit our offices for more information:

Access & Accommodation Services
Genesee Community College
Room C231
Phone: 585-343-0055 x6351