The Rehabilitation Act (1973), the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and its Amendments Act (2008) are the governing pieces of legislation that protect students with disabilities in postsecondary education. The intent of these laws is nondiscrimination. Institutions are required to provide appropriate academic adjustments as necessary to ensure a disabled student’s equal educational access.
At the University of Montana Western, the first step at Disability Support Services (DSS) is to determine if a student is eligible for accommodations based on a documented disability. Current definition of a disability is a significant limitation in one or more life areas; learning is considered a life area. Appropriate academic adjustments are determined during an individual, interactive process between the student and a DSS staff member. Adjustments, such as extended testing time or note taking assistance, must address the student’s limitations in an academic setting. In providing an academic adjustment, the university is not required to lower or substantially modify essential requirements for a course or program of study.
Specific questions may be directed to Disability Support Services, 406-683-7311.
Students who qualify for academic accommodations receive an electronic accommodation notification. The electronic accommodation notifications have replaced our traditional “Blue Card”. The electronic accommodation notification is emailed to students who are registered with Disability Support Services. Students can either print it or email it to their faculty. Please continue to honor the “Blue Card” for students who do not have an electronic accommodation notification.
D2I SPecial Access
Faculty helping Faculty. UMW has assembled a team of faculty leaders in online and remote teaching to serve as peer advisors and provide general support, serve as a sounding board for your concerns and ideas,and show by example how things can be done in triage mode.
Recommended Syllabus Statement
Disability Support Services strongly encourages faculty members to put the following statement (example) in their syllabus:
“If you are a student with a disability and wish to use your approved accommodations for this course, contact me during my office hours to discuss. Please have your Accommodation Notification available for verification of accommodations. Accommodations are approved through Disability Support Services located in Main Hall 212.”
Ensuring Equal Access in the Classroom
- The student should meet with you during office hours and present his/her accommodation notification which documents the accommodations that have been approved by Disability Support Services.
- Faculty and student should discuss how the adjustments/modifications will be implemented in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in the field.
- If there are potential barriers to accessing materials, activities and assessments, or if there is a safety concern, faculty should contact Disability Support Services to begin an interactive process to consider alternatives that will allow full participation and access.
- Students with disabilities must maintain the same responsibility for their education as students who do not have disabilities.
Instructional Materials Accessibility
Working with Students with Disabilities: Tips and Strategies
Service Animal Protocol
Service animals are animals trained to assist people with disabilities in the activities of daily living. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of a service animal is: “…any…animal individually trained to do work and perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.” If an animal meet this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government training program. This policy differentiates “service animals” from “pets,” denotes campus locations that could be off-limits to service animals, and sets behavioral guidelines for service animals.