Disability Services

Sarah Lawrence College is committed to providing individuals with disabilities equal access to its programs, services, and facilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Associate Dean of Studies & Disability Services works individually with students with disabilities to assure that they have equal access to the full range of opportunities at the College.

Who is eligible for accommodations?

A student with a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodations. The term "disability" means, “with respect to an individual (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such impairment.” Disabilities include, but are not limited to, mobility and orthopedic impairments, sensory impairments, psychological disorders, chronic health impairments, and learning disabilities.

How are accommodations initiated?

At the college level, if you have a disability it is your responsibility to self-disclose and to request accommodations.  You can initiate the process by contacting the Associate Dean of Studies and Disability Services, who can advise you as to what forms and documentation you will need to submit.  In order that accommodations are provided in a timely manner, documentation should be submitted in the semester (or summer for new students) prior to enrollment. The documentation establishing eligibility for accommodations will be reviewed and you will be notified if the documentation is acceptable and complete, or if further information is required. Once eligibility is established, you meet with Associate Dean to discuss an accommodation plan.

Should I submit documentation even though I’m not sure I wish to request accommodations?

If you are a student with a disability and you believe that at some point in your career at the College you might seek accommodations, we advise that you submit the documentation now. It is generally easier to procure documentation now, than at some later date. Also, since nothing is acted upon until you speak further with the Associate Dean of Studies and Disability Services, there is no harm in having the materials on file. Please note that while a request for accommodations can be initiated at any point in the semester, accommodations cannot be applied retroactively.

What is appropriate supporting documentation and who provides it?

The best quality documentation is provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. A good match between the credentials of the individual making the diagnosis and the condition being reported is expected. The information provided must include a diagnosis that establishes the existence of a disability and description of the nature of the disability, duration (if temporary), limitations relevant to a residential educational setting and recommendations for accommodations. The exact nature of this information will vary according to the disability and situation. Documentation should be current and should confirm the need for accommodations based on your current level of functioning in an educational setting. In some cases, older documentation may be accepted if you have been evaluated as an adult. However, more recent documentation may be required to allow us to determine the most appropriate accommodations (e.g. in situations where there may have been a change in the condition).

Who has access to the supporting documentation?

Documentation is considered confidential information and does not become part of your permanent record. It is not normally shared with other campus offices without your written consent. All documentation is kept by the Associate Dean of Studies & Disability Services in the Dean of Studies office.

How are accommodations determined?

In the beginning of each semester, if you are registered with Disability Services (have submitted acceptable supporting documentation), the Associate Dean invites you to meet with her, and together you discuss what reasonable accommodations you may need. When necessary, the Associate Dean will work with other departments of the College to coordinate these accommodations.  Neither previously received accommodations nor recommendations made by the diagnosing professional are automatically provided. Accommodations are determined by the current or anticipated impact of your disability in the Sarah Lawrence educational setting. There are no cookie cutter accommodations; they are determined on a case-by-case basis. It is your responsibility to request modifications if the provided accommodations are not effective.

Why is the accommodation process so involved?

This accommodation process is meant to aid the individual student and the College alike. Good documentation provides a framework for establishing the services or aids that qualified students with disabilities need to access the College’s academic and residential offerings. Additionally, the process assists the College in making consistent, informed decisions with regard to student accommodations.

How are faculty informed of recommended accommodations?

After you meet with the Associate Dean to discuss the functional impact of the documented disability, she will prepare a letter verifying that you are eligible to receive accommodations and identifying the appropriate accommodations. This letter is signed by both of you, and is presented to your instructors by you. This letter is meant to serve as a starting point in your discussions with your teachers and would not necessarily identify the specific disability. Rather, it discusses the functional impact of your disability in an academic setting and notes what types of accommodations you are eligible to receive and will benefit from.

What types of accommodations does the college provide?

Accommodations often include, but are not limited to:
  • Testing modifications, such as extended time or quiet location
  • Note-taking assistance
  • Textbooks on tape or CD
  • Provision of readers, scribes or interpreters
  • Written materials provided in alternate format
  • Assistive technology

The College does not provide services of a personal nature such as attendants, homework assistance or tutors, typing services or prescriptive aids such as eyeglasses or hearing aids, nor does it provide diagnostic evaluations of disabilities.

Who should you contact if you have additional questions?

If you have any other questions related to Disability Services at Sarah Lawrence College, please contact:

Polly Waldman
Associate Dean of Studies and Disability Services
914-395-2235
Westlands 207C

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Disability and Study Abroad

View tips on planning for a healthy study abroad experience in the Health, Safety, and Security Abroad section of our International Programs site.

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