Welcome to Differently-Abled Services (DAS). Our mission is to provide students with disabilities the tools, reasonable accommodations and support services to participate fully in the academic environment. Furthermore, our mission is to promote an accessible and culturally sensitive campus through outreach and by building partnerships within the university community and beyond.
Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act define a differently abled person as someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Such a person must have a record of the impairment or regarded as having such impairment.
DAS provides support services by using an individualized approach and works cooperatively with students as they:
- Build self-awareness
- Learn self-advocacy
- Become more independent
- Create a network of resources
- Meet academic requirements
Important information regarding how to access DAS and our role in serving the FVSU campus community can be found in the online version of our Disability Services Brochure. For specific information on documentation requirements, visit our Documentation Requirements.
Joyce Brown M.S.M.
Director of Academic Counseling and Disability Services
Royal C. Peabody Building, Rm. 125
Exam and Classroom
Accommodations are academic adjustments to exam conditions, such as extended time or a quiet room, as well as access to materials in alternate formats, or note taking.
Specific examples of accommodations and/or auxiliary aids are as follows:
Testing accommodations such as extended time, quiet room, and use of a word processor.
Communication accommodations such as digital recorders for note taking.
Other assistance such as qualified readers and/or scribes for exams and alternative text formats.
Determination of Accommodations
Accommodations are determined by Differently-Abled Services based on assessment of submitted documentation for its appropriateness and completeness under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and DAS documentation policy.
Accommodations are determined through a series of questions. Each question must be answered “yes” or the accommodation need not be provided. Does the student have a disability? Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) criteria are applied. Has the student provided appropriate documentation (documentation link)? Is the student “otherwise qualified?” With the requested accommodations, can the student perform the essential tasks of the course? Is the requested accommodation reasonable? Section 504 and ADA guidelines are applied with respect to determination of “reasonableness.”
Students, faculty, and Differently Abled Services have certain rights and responsibilities related to receiving, providing, and determining reasonable accommodations. Specific rights and responsibilities are as follows:
Q. What are the student’s responsibilities in this process?
A. The student has the responsibility to:
Provide documentation to Disability Services that supports a need for accommodations. (See Documentation Requirements)
Make a request to the DAS in a timely manner.
Speak with the professor about how and where the accommodations are provided for extended time and distraction reduced environment. Faculty may provide the rare accommodation of separate room or have the student make arrangements through DAS.
Make the necessary arrangements to have the exam proctored in DAS for other exam accommodations at least five business days before the exam. A proctor form delineating the exam arrangements must be signed by the professor and turned in to DAS.
Provide the DAS with a bi-weekly progress report of academic standing in all currently enrolled courses.
Q. What are faculty responsibilities regarding accommodations?
A. Faculty has the responsibility to:
Seriously consider including a statement on course syllabi that informs students about the process for requesting and receiving reasonable accommodations based on disability.
Provide accommodations as delineated in a letter from Differently Abled Services.
Provide the exam accommodations of extended time and/or distraction reduced environment. Faculty may provide the rare accommodation of separate room or have the student make arrangements through DAS. All other exam accommodations are provided in the DAS office in Peabody Office 125.
Deny accommodations to students who cannot provide evidence of a disability that warrants such. If documentation and/or accommodation requests are submitted directly to faculty without a letter from DAS, faculty is encouraged to refer the student to DAS.
Acknowledgment and requests for reasonable accommodations can be difficult for some students; therefore, sensitivity and understanding are recommended.
Q. What are Differently-Abled Services responsibilities in this process?
A. Disability Services has the responsibility to:
Determine reasonable accommodations as supported by the submitted documentation and in collaboration with the student.
Deny accommodations that are not supported by the documentation. If evidence of a significant impact is not present, accommodations may not be warranted.
Ensure that students receive the appropriate reasonable accommodations.
Support faculty members around providing accommodations as needed.
Provide specific reasonable accommodations such as a digital recorder, reader, and a scribe.
Provide alternate format to students whose documentation supports a need for it.
Procedures for determining accommodations and individual rights and responsibilities are framed according to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Disability Services takes the responsibility of determining accommodations very seriously. Consequently, accommodation(s) approved by DS are supported by documentation on file.
How to Get Going
All students requesting services and/or accommodations at FVSU must submit documentation of a disability to Differently Abled Services. Documentation will be reviewed after you confirm with the university that you will attend unless you request an early review.
Eligibility for testing and/or classroom accommodations as well as auxiliary aids is based upon evidence of impact of a disability. Therefore, you are advised to review our documentation requirements before submitting your documentation. We also encourage students to share DAS documentation requirements with their diagnostic evaluator because information from the evaluator’s report is the basis for determining accommodation.
All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:
1005 State University Drive
Differently Abled Services
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Accommodations for Students with Non-Visible Disabilities
It is important for students to understand that in order to receive classroom or test accommodations, documentation must meet Differently Abled Services requirements with respect to currency (no more than 3 years), completeness and appropriateness and must provide evidence of a substantial limitation of a major life function.
Differently Abled Services is responsible for determining the need for accommodations based on the information in the documentation submitted. Accommodations recommended by the evaluator, those received in high school or those provided on the college entrance examinations (SAT or ACT) will be provided only if specific test results support the need for the accommodation.
For students who need testing, the DAS does not administer test and evaluations. As an institution under the University System of Georgia the DAS can refer students to the Regents Center for Learning Disabilities at the University of GA for testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I receive services from DAS?
A: The process begins when you receive your acceptance letter from FVSU. In that packet of information is a form titled Voluntary Declaration of Disability. Fill that form out and mail it back- the correct address is on the form.
When the DAS receives that form, you will be contacted by a staff member. We will discuss documentation requirements for your disability and ask that you send us that.
When proper documentation is in place, you will be notified to call for an appointment when you arrive on campus. At that point, your services will begin.
Q: What if I don’t have adequate documentation?
A: After the DAS receives your Voluntary Declaration of Disability (VDD) form, you will be contacted about documentation. If you do not have appropriate documentation, options for obtaining this will be discussed.
Q: Does FVSU provide testing to document a disability?
A: No, but FVSU is a part of the University System of GA and refers students to the Regent Center for Learning Disabilities at the University of GA. They can provide psychological testing for students with Attention Deficit Disorder, Learning Disabilities, and Acquired Brain Injuries. The cost is $500.00. An DAS staff member will walk you through the process.
Q: What is the documentation standards like?
A: Standards vary across disability categories. Standards for Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder have been established by the Board of Regents and are included at the following site: http://www.rcld.uga.edu.
Q: If I don’t choose to disclose my disability when I am admitted, may I do that later and receive Accommodations?
A: Yes – You may disclose at any time and receive accommodations. However, you cannot receive accommodations until documentation requirements are satisfied. I strongly urge students to satisfy documentation requirements prior to the first day of classes. Then, if problems arise and accommodations are needed, they can be put in place immediately.
Q: Must I receive accommodations every semester?
A: No. Each semester you will an option. You may choose to receive accommodations at any time during the semester or not at all.