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Related Policies

Adaptive Educational Services - Policies & Procedures

Americans With Disabilities (ADA) Act

Indiana University is committed to maintaining an inclusive and accessible environment across all of its campuses. Ensuring that all members of the university community have access to facilities, information, and information technology associated with administration and services, coursework and instruction, programs, and university-sponsored activities is critical to the university's educational mission and is among its highest priorities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Indiana Civil Rights Act, and Indiana University policy prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in employment and educational programs. University websites must be accessible so that students, prospective students, employees, guests and visitors with disabilities have equivalent access to the information and functionality provided to individuals without disabilities.

Indiana University provides reasonable accommodations in the form of reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures in order to make its services, programs, and activities accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities unless the modification would fundamentally alter the nature of a university service, program, or activity. These accommodations and adjustments must be made in a timely manner and on an individualized and flexible basis.

Individual students, staff, and faculty members are responsible for identifying themselves as an individual with a disability when seeking an accommodation or, specifically in the case of students, a modification to an academic program. Individual students, staff, and faculty members are also responsible for documenting their disability (from an appropriately licensed professional) and demonstrating how the disability limits their ability to complete the essential functions of their job or limits the student's participation in services, programs, or activities of the university. Medical documentation will be kept confidential.

Students, staff, and faculty members must maintain institutional standards of performance.

Who are Persons with Disabilities?

A person with a disability legally defined as "any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities," a person who "has a record of such an impairment," or a person treated as if he/she has a disability. (Rehabilitation Act of 1973)

Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, feeding one's self, working and learning. Often disabilities are grouped as Physical disorders (auditory, visual, orthopedic, chronic illnesses, or systemic neurological disorders), Learning disorders (dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, disorders of written expression, dysgraphia, autism spectrum disorder, etc.), and Emotional Disorders (affective disorders, thought disorders, behavioral reactions, etc). Some individuals may have multiple disorders or varying degrees of a disorder which means that accommodations vary from individual to individual which in turn means that the university must have documentation about each individual’s disability to determine how best to serve them. IUPUI has designated Adaptive Educational Services (AES) as the office to receive and evaluate documentation, determine the appropriate accommodations, and provide some of those services, and direct students to units that provide other services.

Student Accommodations

The standard procedures for accommodation requests allow for an interactive process whereby the following occur:  a) A request for accommodation is made; b) The appropriate documentation is provided to support the disability and the requested accommodation; and c) A reasonable accommodation is made, if appropriate.

  1. To request an accommodation under the ADA, students must file an application Adaptive Educational Services (AES), the office responsible for serving students with disabilities on campus.
  • Requests for accommodations should be made far enough in advance to allow staff adequate time to coordinate needed services. Generally, it is best to request needed services before a semester begins or as soon as a disability becomes known.
  • Students must provide documentation of their disability and how it limits their participation in the university’s services, programs, or activities. Documentation of the disability should be timely and from appropriate professionals licensed to diagnose the type of disability the student has. Medical documentation will be retained by only the office serving students with disabilities and will be kept confidential.
  • AES makes the determination of whether the student is eligible for accommodations under the ADA. AES and the student will then discuss what assistance is needed and, if requested, will provide information to relevant faculty members, information technology personnel, and/or the academic unit indicating the nature of the accommodation required. Common examples of reasonable academic adjustments include but are not limited to extension of time for tests, private test settings, priority registration, etc.
  • If there is a discrepancy regarding requested accommodations, AES will facilitate discussions between the student and faculty member(s) and/or academic unit(s). It is the responsibility of Adaptive Educational Services to determine the reasonable accommodation in a particular case, taking into account the content of the course, the student's disability, and the documentation from an appropriately credentialed professional. Nothing in these procedures requires an academic unit to make accommodations that would fundamentally alter the nature of its academic program.
  • Students are expected to discuss with their instructors the need for accommodations in their respective course. Faculty members are expected to discuss such matters privately and maintain confidentiality.
  • Students are responsible for notifying the office serving students with disabilities if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective and timely way. In the event that an accommodation is not implemented in a test-taking or similar situation, the student should address that with the faculty member, associate instructor, or proctor immediately and the amount of time necessary to implement the accommodation (e.g., to print a test paper with enlarged print or move the student to a quiet room) should be added back to the test time such that the student is not disadvantaged.
  1. To request an academic program modification under the ADA, students must file an application with Adaptive Educational Services (AES) and the application must be accompanied by documentation of their disability. Requests submitted directly to an academic unit will be referred to AES to initiate the process.
  • Documentation of the disability should be timely and from appropriate professionals licensed to diagnose the type of disability the student has. If the student is already receiving accommodations pursuant to #1 above, the student may, but is not required to submit additional documentation in support of the request for an academic program modification. AES may also request additional documentation if prior documentation does not adequately address the requested academic program modification.
  • Adaptive Educational Services will forward the request and any other relevant information developed by that office to the appropriate official(s) in the academic unit and will serve as a resource as the unit makes its determination as to whether the requested academic program modification constitutes a fundamental alteration to the program. In addition to serving as a resource for the academic unit, AES will support the interactive process by facilitating requests for additional information and updates, if any, between the academic unit and the student. This process will be undertaken by using reasoned deliberation and will include a diligent assessment of available options. Nothing in these procedures requires an academic unit to make a program modification that would fundamentally alter the nature of its academic program.
    • AES will fully document in the student's file the date of the request for program modifications, the nature of each request and any supporting documentation, the reason(s) for any denials, and the interactive process that occurred between the university and the student.
    • The academic unit will consider whether the requested program modification constitutes a fundamental alteration to the academic program, which includes lowering its academic standards or compromising the rigor of the program.
    • The appropriate official in the academic program will notify the student in writing that the request for an academic program modification has been approved or denied in a timely manner and, if denied, the reason(s) for the denial. The student may appeal a denial of a request for an academic program modification to the Dean of the affected School no later than ten calendar days after the date of the denial. The Dean will make a determination on the appeal within ten calendar days of receipt of the appeal and will communicate that determination in writing to the student. The Dean’s decision is final.
  1. Students who believe the university has not met its obligations under the ADA should consult with the university’s ADA Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Equity, who serves all IU campuses and has overall responsibility for coordinating the efforts of the university to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The university ADA Coordinator will refer complaints to the appropriate campus or university office for investigation.
  2. Website Accessibility - All university websites published after November 1, 2016, are required to meet the accessibility standards set forth by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA. University websites published prior to that date are also expected to meet accessibility standards and have been prioritized for review and update for compliance. Priority websites will be determined by the electronic and information technology (EIT) coordinator and the university chief compliance officer in consultation with the Office of the Vice President for IT and CIO/UITS and the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel.

Service Animals

Service animals are welcome anywhere their handlers are permitted on campus. Exceptions may exist for health and safety reasons.

Service animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are "dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities". The university also recognizes miniature horses as a service animal consistent with relevant ADA guidelines and regulations.

Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Examples of tasks that a service animal might perform include:

  • Guiding a person who is blind
  • Alerting a person who is deaf
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure
  • Reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications
  • Calming a person with post-traumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the individual's disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Emotional support animals are not considered service animals under the ADA, and they are not granted access to areas of public accommodation. They may be permitted in campus student housing with prior approval.

Faculty and staff cannot ask about the person's disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.  A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless:

  • The dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it.
  • The dog is not housebroken.

Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.

In case of evacuation

Units must ensure that evacuation plans are posted and include information for persons with disabilities. Building supervisors and safety personnel should be trained to provide appropriate assistance when needed. This should include the use of stair evacuation sleds and similar equipment.