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At every Penn State location, there is an office designated to provide services for students with disabilities. Each designated office requests and maintains disability-related documents, certifies eligibility for services, determines reasonable academic adjustments, and develops plans for the provision of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services. The Office for Disability Services (ODS) is the designated office that provides services to students with disabilities at the University Park location. Contact information for ODS can be found at the following web address: www.equity.psu.edu/ods. At other Penn State locations, services are provided through the Disability Contact Liaison (DCL). A list of the Disability Contact Liaisons at other Penn State locations can be found at the following web address: www.equity.psu.edu/ods/dcl.asp. The DCL at the Penn State Shenango Campus is Tony Paglia. To set up an appointment with Tony contact Stacy Gongloff at (724) 983-2969 or e-mail at slg23@psu.edu.

Procedures for Requesting Academic Adjustments, Auxiliary Aids, and /or Services

Listed below is a brief description of the procedures for submitting documentation and determining eligibility for academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services at Penn State.

  1. Students seeking services for a disability must self-disclose the need for services to ODS at University Park or to the DCL at other Penn State locations. The student should contact ODS or the DCL to schedule an appointment for an intake interview. During the intake interview the student’s disorder/impairment and academic history are discussed, services are explained, and the rights and responsibilities of the student and Penn State are reviewed.
  2. Each student is required to provide diagnostic documentation from a licensed professional. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain documentation and present a copy to ODS at the University Park location or to DCL at other Penn State locations for review. The documentation must meet Penn State’s guidelines for appropriate documentation. For detailed information regarding Penn State’s guidelines for documenting a specific disability, go to the following section of this web site: www.equity.psu.edu/ods/guidelines.asp
  3. The documentation is reviewed and evaluated to determine if Penn State’s documentation guidelines have been met, and to determine if the student’s disorder/impairment meets the criteria for having a disability. A disability (as defined by the Rehabilitation Act, 1973, and the American’s with Disabilities Act, 1990) is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The determination for reasonable academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services is an interactive process that is determined on a case by case and a course by course basis.

Students interested in obtaining services at Penn State for a disability should begin the process described above as soon as possible. If additional information is needed at any time during the process, the procedure of reviewing documentation can be delayed, which may also delay the delivery of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services.

A clinical diagnosis is not synonymous with a disability. That is, evidence sufficient to render a clinical diagnosis might not be adequate to determine that an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity. The documentation must include the student’s specific current functional impairment(s) and describe how the disorder/impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities in order for Penn State to fully evaluate the necessity for academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or auxiliary services.

If the documentation submitted does not sufficiently address the student’s current functional impairment or describe how the disorder/impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities, additional information will be required.