Disability Services for Students


Erin Kelley, Disability Specialist
(440) 826-2147, disability@bw.edu

Office Hours

Monday-Friday: 8:30 am-5 pm

Campus Location

Ritter Library, 2nd Floor
57 E. Bagley Rd.
Berea, OH 44017-2088

Baldwin Wallace University's Disability Services for Students (DSS) creates usable, equitable, inclusive learning environments for qualified students with disabilities by ensuring equal access to all University programs, services and activities. DSS works with students, faculty and staff in the development and implementation of appropriate accommodations while maintaining the academic standards and course integrity of Baldwin Wallace.


Outlined below are some key differences between disability services offered by high schools and by universities. It is important that students and families understand these differences when seeking disability services at BW.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Requirements

High Schools: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires school districts to provide FAPE to students with a disability in their jurisdiction. The district is required by law to identify the student's educational needs and to provide related aids and services to meet those needs.

Universities: Universities are not required to provide FAPE. They are required to provide the appropriate academic adjustments to ensure equal access to education.

Success vs. Access

High School: The applicable law is the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) which is about student success.

Universities: The applicable law is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which is about providing equal access.

Required Documentation

High Schools: An Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan is used to determine academic accommodations. The school district provides the evaluation at no cost. The documentation focuses on determining whether or not a student is eligible for services based on specific categories in IDEA.

Universities: The IEP and 504 plan are typically not sufficient forms of documentation. Documentation guidelines are different and specify information needed for specific disability categories. Students may obtain an evaluation at their own expense. Documentation must provide DSS with information on the functional limitations and demonstrate the need for the accommodation(s) requested.

Parental Role

High Schools: Parents have access to student records, can contact teachers for progress or grades, can advocate for the student and participate in the accommodation process.

Universities: The parent does not have access to student records without the student's written consent per the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The student becomes a self-advocate and participates in the accommodations process. In addition, parents are no longer allowed to contact faculty for information about the student's progress in the course or grades.

Plan vs. Accommodation

High Schools: A plan is formulated for the student. Teachers receive a copy so they have a thorough understanding of the disability and accommodations. A yearly meeting is required of teachers and typically an auxiliary service person to discuss progress and set goals.

Universities: Instructors receive an emailed Letter of Accommodation (LOA) which outlines academic modifications the student needs to have equal access. Faculty does not have access to specific diagnostic data unless provided by the student. The student is responsible for meeting with DSS and instructors to discuss any areas of concern.

Grading and Testing

High Schools: The IEP or 504 plan may include modifications to test format, unlimited test time and grading. Testing in high school is often frequent, covering small amounts of material and teachers provide students with reminders of assignment due dates.

Universities: There is no unlimited time for tests and test format changes are not available. Accommodations on how tests are given (e.g., extended test time and a reduced distraction testing environment) are available when supported by documentation.

Course Instruction

High Schools: Teachers may make modifications to the curriculum and alter the pace and due dates of assignments.

Universities: Professors are not required to modify essential academic requirements of programs and instruction that fundamentally alter educational programs or compromise academic standards. Additionally, BW does not waive essential program requirements or permit substitutions for courses deemed essential to its academic programs. Students are assigned substantial amounts of work that may or may not be addressed in the course. Students are responsible for reviewing class notes, texts and materials and submitting assignments by the due dates listed on their course syllabi.

Tutoring and Academic Support Services

High Schools: Tutoring and academic support may be services included in the IEP or 504 plan. There is typically someone who assists the student with self-management of tasks, assignments and priorities.

Universities: Tutoring and academic support services are not academic accommodations provided. It is the student's responsibility to make appointments and utilize available academic support services. BW has tutoring available for most subjects, but not all. Students are ultimately responsible for self-management; however, Academic Coaching is available as a resource to help with prioritizing and time management.


In order to request accommodations, you must register with the DSS office. Accommodations you received in high school or at another university do not automatically transfer to BW. Once admitted to BW, you must apply for disability services by completing the following steps:

  1. Self-disclose
    You need to disclose your disability to DSS by sending an email to disability@bw.edu. Under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, people with disabilities have a right to equal educational opportunities. By law, a student is not a person with a disability until he/she chooses to identify as such and request protection from discrimination. If a student does not disclose a disability and follow the process, he/she is responsible for the academic outcome.
  2. Complete and submit the DSS Application
    You must submit a completed "DSS Application for Academic Accommodations" to DSS by confidential fax at (440) 826-3832 or email it to disability@bw.edu.
  3. Submit appropriate documentation
    You must provide current documentation of your disability and the disability-related need for any specific accommodation(s) being requested. Current documentation is necessary for verification purposes and to determine reasonable accommodations. The cost of documentation is your responsibility. Use the "General Guidelines for Documentation" and appropriate verification forms (see FORMS section below) to assist in the documentation process. Submit your completed documentation to DSS by:
    1. Email: disability@bw.edu
    2. Confidential fax: (440) 826-3832
    3. Mail:  Baldwin Wallace University
      Disability Services for Students
      275 Eastland Road
      Berea, OH 44017-2088
    4. In person: Ritter Library, 57 E. Bagley Rd., Office 203
      Note: Submission of documentation does not guarantee approval of the requested accommodation(s).
  4. Attend a Student Welcome Meeting
    Appropriate accommodations are determined on an individual basis. Upon receipt of your application and documentation, DSS will schedule a meeting to discuss the impact, nature and functional limitations of your disability; determine eligibility for any reasonable accommodations; and discuss process, policies and procedures. Appointments are typically scheduled the Friday before summer orientation or the first week of classes. If your family would like to attend the meeting, they will be allowed in after DSS speaks with you privately.


Documentation Forms for Medical Professionals

To obtain appropriate information, please use one of the following verification forms based on your documented disability. A qualified healthcare provider or diagnostician should complete the form and fax it directly to the DSS confidential fax at (440) 826-3832. DSS reserves the right to request additional documentation.

Other Forms


An accommodation is a modification that is made to a course, program, service, job, activity or facility that eliminates or minimizes disability-related barriers. For an accommodation to be deemed reasonable, it must not compromise essential requirements of a course, program, job, activity or facility, and it must not cause undue administrative or financial hardship. In addition, it must not compromise the safety of the student receiving the accommodation or of others, and it must not fundamentally alter a course or program.

Below are descriptions of reasonable accommodations provided at BW. This is not an exhaustive list.

Housing Accommodations

The learning environment and residential living are central to the BW experience, particularly for students who are required to live in residence halls. It should be noted that living within the BW community and learning to share space and be considerate of others is part of the learning experience. Requests for single rooms (as an accommodation) based solely on a desire to have a "quiet, undisturbed place to study" will not be granted. By virtue of the shared facilities, resources and number of people living under one roof, it is not logical to assume that having a private room would provide for such quiet, distraction-free space to any appreciable degree beyond living in a standard double room. We evaluate requests for exceptions carefully. To aid this process, requests (submitted yearly) should include:

  1. Documentation of the condition or need that is the basis of the request
  2. A clear description of the desired housing configuration
  3. An explanation of how the request relates to the impact of the condition
  4. An indication of the level of need for the recommended configuration (and the consequences of not receiving)
  5. Possible alternatives if the recommended configuration is not possible.

The "Accommodated Housing Application" has additional guidelines and considerations.

Accommodated Housing Request deadlines:

  • Returning Students
    December 1 (for spring)
    February 1 (for fall)
  • New and Transfer Students
    December 1 (for spring)
    May 1 (for fall)

Air-conditioning is provided in 21 Beech, Carmel, Ernsthausen, Findley, Harding and Davidson Commons. Arrangements for medical air-conditioning in non-air-conditioned buildings can be made through the Office of Residence Life.

Dietary Accommodations

Dining Services is committed to providing meal options that meet the needs of BW students. For more information, contact:

  • David Jensen, Director of Auxiliary Services, (440) 826-2414
  • Marie Oravec, Registered Dietetic Technician, (440) 826-2348

Testing Accommodations

Students with documented disabilities who are eligible for accommodated testing may request to have tests proctored in the Accommodated Testing Room at the Learning Center in Ritter Library. Accommodations for testing may include extended time, use of a word processor for written exams, a scribe, a reader or a reduced distraction test environment. Not all students are eligible for all of these accommodations and they are determined on an individual, case-by-case basis as dictated by the documentation.

Students who wish to have tests accommodated in the Accommodated Testing Room should submit their request in the time frame outlined in their LOA. The link to submit their request is emailed to students with their username and password. This link also is available on the DSS Blackboard site. Note: Same day requests for accommodated testing will not be approved and   a private testing room cannot be guaranteed.

Upon receipt of the request, DSS will send an email confirmation of the test request to the student and faculty member. Faculty will receive an Accommodated Test Form which provides DSS with proctoring information, test receipt and test return.

Alternative Text Accommodations

With appropriate notice, books will be made available in alternate format for students whose documentation of disability supports the need for alternate format. BW offers two ways to obtain alternate book formats:

  1. Bookshare is a free service provided to students with visual and learning disabilities whose documentation supports the need for alternative text formats. Students need to complete the Bookshare application and submit it to DSS. DSS will add the student to BW's institutional account and submit the application to Bookshare. Bookshare will send the student an email with their username and password. Students can then search for their textbooks. It is strongly recommend that students have their booklist, ISBN number, edition and the author's first and last name before they search. Bookshare also provides a free reader students can download.
If your books are not available on Bookshare, you should complete the "Alternate Text Request" form and submit it to DSS at least two weeks before the semester begins.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

An "emotional support animal" is an animal that provides emotional or other support that ameliorates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a student's disability. Unlike service animals, support animals are not required to be trained to perform work or tasks, and they include species other than dogs and miniature horses.

ESAs are generally not allowed to accompany students with disabilities in all public areas of BW as a service animal is allowed to do. ESAs may reside in University housing, including accompanying individuals in all public or common use areas, when it may be necessary to afford the student an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing. Before a support animal can move into University housing, the student must submit an "Accommodated Housing Request" form to DSS at least 30 days prior to move in and approval must be granted.

If the disability is not obvious, DSS may require documentation from a licensed physician or mental health provider including, without limitation, a qualified psychiatrist, social worker or other mental health professional, to provide sufficient information for DSS to determine:

  1. That the individual qualifies as a person with a disability (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities)
  2. That the support animal may be necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy
  3. University housing (i.e., that the animal would provide emotional support or other assistance that would ameliorate one or more symptoms or effects of the disability).

While support animals are generally not allowed indoors on BW's campus other than in University housing, people with disabilities may request approval from DSS to have the support animal accompany them to other campus areas. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis consistent with applicable laws.

Responsibilities of People with Disabilities Using Service Animals
BW is not responsible for the care or supervision of service animals and ESAs. Students are responsible for the cost, care and supervision of ESAs and service animals including:

  1. Compliance with any laws pertaining to animal licensing, vaccination and owner identification.
  2. Keeping the animal under control and taking effective action when it is out of control.
  3. Feeding and walking the animal and disposing of its waste.

For specific campus areas designated for toileting of animals and guidance on where to properly dispose of animal waste, please contact the Office of Residence Life at (440) 826-2114. Waste disposal via University plumbing is prohibited.

BW does not require surcharges or fees for service animals. However, a student may be charged for damage caused by an ESA or service animal to the same extend that BW would normally charge a student for property damage he/she causes.

People with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals and ESAs must comply with the same University rules regarding noise, safety, disruption and cleanliness as people without disabilities.

Emotional Support Animals Exceptions and Exclusions
BW may pose some restrictions on and may even exclude an ESA in certain circumstances. Any animal may be excluded from an area in which it was previously authorized to be only if:

  1. It is out of control and effective action is not taken to control it.
  2. It is not housebroken.
  3. It poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others that cannot be mitigated by reasonable modifications of policies, practices, procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.

In considering whether an ESA poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, BW will make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment, current medical knowledge or the best available objective evidence to determine:

  1. The nature, duration and severity of the risk
  2. The probability that the potential injury will actually occur
  3. Whether reasonable modifications of policies, procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.

The Provost shall name a designee who shall provide a written statement of explanation if a determination is made that the presence of an ESA would fundamentally alter the nature of a program, service or activity. In the event that restriction or removal of an ESA is determined to be necessary, the student will still be given the opportunity to participate in the service, program or activity without the ESA present.

Flexible Attendance Accommodations

This accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis because attendance requirements vary widely from course to course. Lab, activity and hands-on courses usually involve a lot of in-class learning that cannot be easily made up outside of class, while lecture classes provide more flexibility. Likewise, each instructor may have a different policy for student attendance.

Flexible attendance accommodations may be appropriate when a student has a chronic disabling physical or mental condition that is cyclic in nature or when a condition is stable but there may be unpredictable flare ups periodically that prevent a student from attending classes. Examples include, but are not limited to, Crohn’s Disease, chronic severe migraines, Sickle Cell Anemia, various autoimmune conditions, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, etc. Documentation (i.e., doctor’s note) is not required when a student is absent due to a disability flare up.

If a student believes he/she will miss class with some frequency due to a disability, the student must follow the process for registering with DSS. The student should include flexible attendance as one of the accommodations on the application for services. The flexible attendance accommodation will be discussed during the Student Welcome Meeting. Assigning this accommodation is generally only considered at the beginning of a semester, before any classes have been missed. This timing is important so that a reasonable limit can be set as to how many classes can be missed without jeopardizing the academic integrity of the class experience.

In determining whether an accommodation to a course attendance policy is reasonable, the disability specialist will communicate with course instructors to understand:

  1. Essential components of the course
  2. The reasons for the attendance policy
  3. How much interaction there is in class between the instructor and student
  4. How much of the learning is based on in-class participation
  5. How other students’ learning is impacted if any student misses class a lot
  6. When flexibility in the attendance policy is available for other reasons, such as athletic travel

PLEASE BE ADVISED: This policy does not provide students with a license to miss class whenever. Most classes have an absence limit that, once exceeded, makes it impossible to satisfy course objectives.

The student is responsible for completing all class work. Extensions for assignments and arrangements for making up missed tests CANNOT be promised as a component of this accommodation. In some cases, it may be reasonable to miss class but not reasonable to miss a test and thus the course policy for missed tests must be followed. Students are highly encouraged to make every effort to not miss a class on key course dates. DSS promotes good time and project management skills as well as effective decision-making relative to personal circumstances. This accommodation does not address inefficiencies in these areas.

Once a flexible attendance accommodation plan has been implemented, then the student, DSS and the course instructor will refer to it as needed as course scenarios evolve.

Personal Care Attendant (PCA)

Students with disabilities who need assistance with daily living activities or nursing care within a residential setting should retain the services of a PCA. A PCA provides personal care or assistance in daily living activities, such as dressing, transferring to and from a wheelchair, feeding, personal hygiene and navigating the campus. PCA services may facilitate higher levels of independent access and participation in BW programs, services and activities. BW does not provide, coordinate or assume financial responsibility for PCA services.

The services of a PCA can play an important role in a student's quality of life. The selection of the right agency or individual and ongoing effective communication with the PCA is critical for a successful experience. Students who require PCA services must make arrangements to secure a PCA and must follow the policies, procedures and guidelines below:

Student Responsibilities

  • Follow all applicable BW policies, rules, regulations and procedures.
  • Complete and submit the "Accommodated Housing Application" form and appropriate verification to DSS that supports the medical necessity of a PCA.
  • Secure an agency-affiliated or private, certified PCA prior to attending any University-related activity (i.e. placement testing, enrollment, class attendance). BW will not be responsible for providing a PCA on an interim basis.
  • Provide documentation that the PCA is qualified to perform the services.
  • Ensure that the PCA registers with DSS, the Department of Safety & Security, Residence Life and Health Services.
  • Provide a copy of the contract between the student and the agency or PCA to DSS.
  • Ensure any PCA personnel changes are registered with DSS, the Department of Safety & Security, Residence Life and Health Services.
  • Direct the activities of the PCA while at BW. The student is solely responsible for ensuring the PCA is fulfilling his/her responsibilities for the student's care. BW will not assume responsibility for the PCA or his/her failure to fulfill the contracted responsibilities.
  • Develop an alternative plan of action should the regularly assigned PCA not be available to work.
  • Pay for all PCA services, including but not limited to housing and meal plans if living off campus.
  • Students are encouraged, but not required, to select a PCA of the same gender if the PCA will be assisting a student with bathing or toileting in a residence hall or in shared or public area restrooms.

PCA Role in Campus Life

  • The PCA assisting a student on campus is required to follow all applicable BW policies, rules, regulations and procedures.
  • The PCA may assist the student before and after class as needed, but should wait outside the classroom unless assistance during class is deemed appropriate or necessary and approved by DSS.
  • It is generally inappropriate for the PCA to have contact with or ask questions of faculty, staff or others on behalf of the student. It is not within the scope of the PCA's responsibilities to be involved in the student's academic life on campus.
  • The PCA should respect the dignity and privacy of the student and refrain from discussing confidential information about the student with faculty, staff or other students.
  • The PCA is only allowed to access the student's residence hall while the student is in residence.
  • If the PCA violates BW policies, rules, regulations or procedures, DSS may determine that the PCA may no longer assist the student on BW's campus. If this occurs, it is the student's responsibility to secure the services of another PCA.

Reduced Course Load Accommodations

For some students with disabilities, the requirement of having to enroll full time (12-18 credits) can be a barrier toward achieving success in their educational, personal and professional goals. For this reason, some students may benefit from a reduced course load (1 to 11 credits) because of the severe nature of their disability. DSS and the Financial Aid Office have collaborated to create a Financial Aid Policy for students whose disability warrants a reduced course load.

The student must request as an accommodation a reduced course load each semester as the accommodation does not automatically renew. Up-to-date documentation may be required by DSS each semester. It is strongly recommended that students make their request at least two weeks before the start of each semester. Requests will not be considered after the add/drop deadline.

Students must follow the process required to register with DSS. Non-disability related factors will not be considered as primary reasons for a reduced course load. These include: curricular activities, employment, failure to utilize academic accommodations and campus resources, lack of academic preparation, poor class attendance, etc.

Approval does not grant extended time for degree completion or acceptance of out of date credits. Students must also make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree at BW.

Students who are approved for reduced course load should meet with their academic advisors to discuss/formulate their Graduation Plan and University degree completion requirements. In addition, students need to schedule a meeting with a financial aid officer to discuss their revised award letter and possible changes to their BW aid package.

Service Animals

The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA, regardless if they are licensed or certified by a state or local government. Species other than dogs, or in some cases miniature horses, are not considered service animals for the purpose of this definition of a service animal. A service animal is not a pet.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform. Guide dogs are one type of service animal used by some individuals who are blind. There are, however, service animals that assist persons with other disabilities in their day-to-day activities including:

  • Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.
  • Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up items for persons with mobility impairments.
  • Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.

Service Animals in Training
In accordance with Ohio Revised Code 955.43, BW will treat an employee or student training a service dog the same way it would be legally required to treat someone who is qualified as disabled.

Areas of Accessibility
Under the ADA, individuals may use service animals in any public area unless doing so would pose a danger to the health and safety of others or cause undue burden. Service animals are permitted to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of BW's facilities including University housing and where students, members of the public and other participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go.

The service animal must be housebroken (i.e., trained so that it controls its waste elimination, absent illness or accident) and must be kept under control by a harness, leash or other tether, unless the person is unable to hold those or such use would interfere with the service animal's performance of work or tasks. In such instances, the service animal must be kept under control by voice, signals or other effective means.

BW does not require documentation, such as proof the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal. Individuals accompanied by a service animal on campus but who do not need any disability-related accommodations are not required to register with DSS, nor are such individuals required to submit a request for a reasonable accommodation to receive access of their service animal.

Additionally, BW cannot ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability to determine whether a person's animal qualifies as a service animal. However, when it is not readily apparent that an animal is functioning as a service animal, BW staff may make two inquiries to determine whether the animal qualifies as such which are:

  1. Is this animal trained to provide a disability-related service for you?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

University Housing
Individuals who plan to have a service animal in University housing are asked to make a formal notification at least 30 days prior to move in. This can be done by submitting an "Accommodated Housing Request" form.

Other Reasonable Accommodations

  • Adaptive equipment
  • Assistive technology
  • Volunteer note taking

Transportation Support Services

Jacket Access Van
The Purchasing Motor Pool Department provides limited transportation support services for students with motor limitations or other conditions that significantly affect their ability to travel around campus. Beginning January 1, 2015 the Jacket Access Van will ONLY be provided to students with permanent disabilities registered with DSS. Eligibility for transportation support services is determined by an assessment of a student's need by an appropriate DSS staff member.


  1. Request a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) at the beginning of each term so you can begin utilizing your accommodations early. The LOA is sent on your behalf as a student with a disability who may need accommodation in order to have equal access. It is sent because you have a potential need for accommodation. Even after accommodations have been approved based on a careful review of your disability file, you can choose not to use the accommodation(s). Because BW cannot force you to use accommodations, the responsibility for requesting the LOA is placed in your hands. Professors will not grant you any academic accommodations without your LOA. To ensure your LOA is received, it is emailed to you and the faculty.
  2. Schedule a private meeting with your course instructors to discuss your LOA detailing the approved accommodations for the semester. The meeting should take place in a private setting to maintain confidentiality. Be clear and factual. Note: You are not required to disclose or discuss the specifics of your disability. It is your decision whether you want the professor to know your diagnosis.

Address the specific arrangements of your approved accommodations, for example:

  • If you receive extended time on quizzes and examinations, discuss how the scheduling will be handled. Will you take the exam with the class or in the Accommodated Testing Room?
  • If you have a class immediately after, will you need to determine an alternative time to take the test?
  • If you will take your quizzes and examinations in the Accommodated Testing Room, discuss the process for scheduling your tests.
  • If you will be recording lectures, provide the professor with a signed copy of the recording agreement form.
  • If you need a volunteer note-taker, discuss how you would like to receive the notes and how you will provide paper.
  • If you receive preferential seating, where do you prefer to sit and how will the seat be reserved?

If you DO NOT schedule a meeting, it will be assumed that you have chosen NOT to utilize your accommodations for the term. Your development as a student is very important to BW's mission, vision, policies, practices and procedures. It is in your best interest to learn self-advocacy in how to shoulder the responsibility of managing your own accommodation needs. It will be a lifelong challenge to advocate and support your own success.


Qualified students with disabilities have the right to an equal opportunity to participate in programs offered at BW. Students who choose to exercise these rights have the responsibility to initiate and participate in the accommodation process. Recognizing this, students:

  1. Have a responsibility to self-identify as needing accommodation in a timely fashion. The student must provide documentation from an appropriate licensed professional.
  2. Have a responsibility to document how their disability affects a particular delivery system, instructional method or evaluation criteria when requesting accommodation.
  3. Have a responsibility to actively participate in the search for accommodations and auxiliary aids.
  4. Have the responsibility of submitting a request for LOAs and scheduling meetings with instructors to discuss approved accommodations.
  5. Have the responsibility to communicate to professors their individual needs and work with them on methods of accommodation.
  6. Have the responsibility to schedule proctored exams in a timely manner.
  7. Have the same obligation as any student to meet and maintain the institution's academic and technical standards.
  8. Have a right to be evaluated based on their ability, not their disability. If their disability affects the outcome of an evaluation method, they are entitled to an evaluation by alternate means.
  9. Are entitled to an equal opportunity to learn. If the location, delivery system or instructional methodology limits their access, participation or ability to benefit, they have a right to reasonable adjustments, to be determined by University officials, in those aspects of the course or program to accommodate their disability.
  10. Are entitled to an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the academic community at a comparable level that is provided to any student.
  11. Have a right to appeal decisions concerning accommodations.


DSS provides reasonable assistance to students with temporary medical conditions such as injuries or acute illnesses who may require temporary classroom support. According to the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, temporary medical conditions are not considered a disability as they do not rise to this level as outlined by the ADA due to the duration (generally six months or less) of symptoms or functional limitations. Documentation is required and reasonable assistance is determined based on the nature of the impact of the temporary condition on an individual basis. Note: Transportation services are not provided.

Students with temporary medical conditions must complete the following steps to determine eligibility for accommodations:

  1. Complete a DSS Application for Academic Accommodations form.
  2. Provide documentation by having your physician complete and submit the "Temporary Impairment Verification" form by confidential fax at (440) 826-3832.
  3. Upon receipt of the application and documentation, DSS will schedule an intake meeting.


Families are instrumental to the overall success of students. The information in this section is provided to help families become well informed about student rights and responsibilities. If you have any questions, please feel free to call DSS at (440) 826-2147.

Tips for a Successful Transition to BW

Below are some recommendations on how families can help their student with the transition to university life.

  1. Upon admission to BW, encourage your student to follow the steps for "Applying for Accommodations" outlined above.
  2. Once your student receives the email from DSS to schedule the Student Welcome Meeting, encourage him/her to schedule it as soon as possible. Many appointments occur the Friday before summer orientation or the first week of classes. During the Student Welcome Meeting, your student will meet with a DSS staff member to discuss the functional limitations of his/her disability and any appropriate accommodations. Your student will also learn how to access available resources. If you accompany your student to the meeting, you will be allowed in after we have talked to your student privately.
  3. Once any accommodations have been approved, it is your student's responsibility to utilize the services and follow the process, policies and procedures.

  5. Due to FERPA regulations, BW faculty and staff cannot answer questions about your student's course progress or grades. You should formulate a plan with your student for communicating course progress and grade information to you throughout the semester.

  7. Encourage your student to be an active participant in his/her educational experience. This requires that your student is both responsible and accountable. You can foster independence and responsibility by encouraging your student to:
    1. Check his/her BW email account 2-3 times each day. Most communications from the University, faculty and staff will go to BW email.
    2. Respond to email in a timely manner. Since email is the primary form of communication, students need to develop a habit of communicating electronically. It is helpful if those communications include the student's first and last name, BW ID number, a greeting or salutation and spell check.
    3. Schedule meetings with his/her professors to discuss questions about assignments, difficulty with course content or concerns about his/her progress in the course.
    4. Schedule meetings with his/her academic advisor(s) each semester. Students need to meet with their academic advisor to be released for registration and to discuss dropping classes, if needed.
    5. Become familiar with and utilize campus resources. If your student is upset or having academic difficulty, advise that he/she seek out resources on campus, including faculty, academic advisors, Disability Services, Counseling Services, the Learning Center, Residence Life, Registration & Records or Dean of Students.
    6. Maintain contact with DSS throughout the academic year. This includes following processes, policies and procedures. Review the Student Handbook to be aware of and comply with University policies, practices and procedures. It is also helpful in understanding BW community and University culture.
    7. Become a self-advocate regarding his/her disability. Students need to be aware of their disability and their functional limitations and then develop appropriate coping strategies.
    8. Continue taking medications as prescribed. Many students suddenly stop their medications which can negatively impact their physical, mental health and academic success.

  8. If your student is a commuter, encourage him/her to stay on campus instead of returning home between classes. This will help him/her become part of the BW community and provide an opportunity to seek helpful resources.

Additional Resources

There are many free resources available to families of students with disabilities. Here are a few that DSS recommends: