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Academic & Disabilities Support Services

Academic & Disabilities Support Services

Goddard College does not discriminate on the basis of disability and is committed to providing equal access to all our programs for eligible students with disabilities.  Goddard upholds the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).  We regard disability as defined by the ADA as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, a record of such an impairment or being regarded as having such an impairment.”

In keeping with Goddard’s tradition of individualized learning, the Academic and Disabilities Support (ADS) Office is committed to an integrated, individualized approach to learning support, while upholding the core principles of independence, safety, dignity, and respect.  The goals of ADS are to foster academic growth, taking into account each student’s unique learning style, and to provide equal access to all Goddard programs for students with disabilities.  We consider each student as a unique individual and work together to provide individualized learning support and reasonable accommodations to best support each student.

Disability Support

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The ADS Office is the designated office to determine and establish reasonable and effective accommodations for students with disabilities enrolled at Goddard College. Please note that such accommodations may not be possible if they would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity or would result in undue financial or administrative burdens to the College.  The ADS Office will:

  • Coordinate services and support for students with disabilities in order to provide equal access to academic programs.
  • Provide support and on-campus accommodations during residencies.
  • Provide academic and other support (via phone, email, video chat, or other means) when determined as an accommodation for students with disabilities during the independent study portion of the semester.
  • Serve as a resource for Goddard College students, faculty, staff, and administration on disability, accessibility, and academic issues.

Academic Support

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ADS provides academic support for all students when they are on campus during residencies. The ADS Office will:

  • Offer academic skills workshops (i.e., critical thinking and writing, time management, writing skills, learning styles, etc.) during residencies, as requested.
  • Is available during residencies to meet individually with students to work on strategies and skills in areas such as reading, writing, critical thinking, note taking, time management, stress management, organization, learning styles, presentation skills, study skills, and more.
  • Is available for general academic support and resources during the rest of the semester, as time allows.

For more information, guidelines, and/or required forms for requesting accommodations, please contact Dvora Zipkin, Ed.D, Academic and Disabilities Support Coordinator, at 802-322-1639, or email adsoffice@goddard.edu.

Legal Information

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The Law

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

Section 504

Section 504 protects people with disabilities from discrimination, and ensures that people with a disability have equal access to education. Section 504 specifically says, “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public or private entity that receives or benefits from Federal financial assistance.”

Americans with Disabilities Act and Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to attempt to end segregation and exclusion of people with disabilities. It does not change the Section 504 regulations.  ADA specifically says, “No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.”  The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was enacted in 2008 in order to restore much of the original intent of the ADA.  Subsequent rulings have shifted the emphasis in higher education accommodations away from diagnoses, and toward a focus on functional impacts of the disability.

Legal
 
Definitions

A “qualified individual,” with respect to post-secondary educational services, means “a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services.”

“Person with a disability” means "any person who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities [including, but not limited to, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, thinking, and working],
  2. has a record of such an impairment, or
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.”

For more information, guidelines, and/or required forms for requesting accommodations, please contact Dvora Zipkin, Ed.D, Academic and Disabilities Support Coordinator, at 802-322-1639, or email adsoffice@goddard.edu.

Support and Accommodations

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What is an Accommodation?

Goddard uses the term “accommodation” to mean the appropriate modification to policies, practices, and procedures; the provision of architectural access, auxiliary aids, and services; and academic adjustments and modifications to the environment intended to remove barriers, in order to provide equal access to your educational program. Providing accommodations is essentially about “leveling the playing field.” Accommodations do not alter the academic expectations, requirements, or standards of the academic program. Students with disabilities meet the same degree requirements and competencies as any other student.

Reasonable Accommodations

Effective and appropriate accommodations are decided according to each individual student’s specific needs, based on your self-report and relevant supporting documentation. Accommodations are determined by assessing the functional impact(s) of your disability as it relates to learning and/or participation in the on-campus residency. Goddard then identifies reasonable accommodations that could mitigate those impacts. 

You are a vital source of information regarding how you may be “limited by impairment.”  Your narrative of your experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations is an important tool in determining reasonable and appropriate accommodations at Goddard.  Communication with the ADS Office is essential, and may involve an interview via telephone, email, video conference, on-campus meeting, and/or other means in order to best understand and assess your needs.
 
Please note that having received an accommodation at a previous institution does not guarantee that same accommodation at Goddard.  Accommodation requests may not be possible under certain circumstances, such as:

  • Making the accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.
  • Making the accommodation means making a substantial change in an essential element of the program.
  • Making the accommodation poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
  • Making the accommodation would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the College.
Some Examples of Accommodations

While your needs and the impacts of a disability vary greatly, and there is no “formula” for determining that a particular disability requires a particular accommodation, the following examples can give you an idea of some of the types of accommodations that could be available, based on your particular and individual need(s):

  • ADA compliant accessible dorm rooms, bathrooms, and meeting spaces.
  • On-campus shuttle service.Extended time to complete work in the program.
  • Sign language interpreters and/or real-time captioning (CART).
  • Alternative format books and/or other materials (i.e., large print, audio, electronic).
  • On-campus access to and on-going support with assistive technology (i.e., speech to text software, screen readers, screen enlargement, etc.).
  • Academic support “coaching.”
  • Recording of workshops and seminars.
  • Note-takers.
Personal Assistants

Personal assistants are welcome on campus during residencies as needed. Please make the appropriate arrangements through the ADS Office prior to arriving on campus for your residency.

Goddard College does not pay for or secure personal assistants, and it is the student’s responsibility to pay the full room and board fee for each day of the residency that the assistant attends.  Generally, assistants are housed with the student they accompany to campus. 

All personal assistants are expected to abide by the same Community Life Agreements that all Goddard students follow. A person serving as an assistant who violates these agreements may be asked to leave campus.

Service Animals

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual´s disability.”

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, may protect the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals.  Please contact the ADS Office with any questions or requests to clarify these distinctions.

You must maintain control of their service animal at all times, and consideration of others must be taken into account. You may be asked to remove their service animal if the dog is out of control, or if the dog is not housebroken.  If you have been asked to remove a service animal from campus, it is your responsibility to find an appropriate local placement for the rest of the residency and to assume any costs associated with that placement.

Please make arrangements for bringing a service animal to your residency in advance of arrival on campus.  In addition to submitting necessary documentation, you will also need to complete a Service Animal Registration Form, submit a record of current vaccinations, and make sure that your dog is wearing current license and rabies tags.

Chemical Sensitivities and Allergies

We have one designated dorm (Hollister) as “fragrance-free” and, as much as is possible, we use unscented cleaning products and request that other residents refrain from using scented products in this dorm. However, it may not be possible to regulate chemical and scented products usage campus-wide. Please contact the ADS Office to discuss your needs in this area so that we can determine what reasonable arrangements we can make for you.

For more information, guidelines, and/or required forms for requesting accommodations, please contact Dvora Zipkin, Ed.D, Academic and Disabilities Support Coordinator, at 802-322-1639, or email adsoffice@goddard.edu.
 

Requesting Accommodations

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It is your responsibility to begin the process of requesting reasonable accommodations. Unlike K–12 settings, where the burden is on the school to diagnose disabilities and to approach students regarding disability accommodations, in postsecondary education, disclosure and documentation of a disability is voluntary and is the responsibility of the student. And, while the focus in K-12 settings is largely on encouraging student success, the main focus in postsecondary education is on providing equal access to the educational programs.

You are never required to disclose a disability, follow-up on referrals to the ADS Office, seek and pay for professional assessments, or release your plan for accommodations.  However, unless you voluntarily complete these actions, Goddard College cannot implement accommodations. 

Disclosure of a disability or conversation with a member of the College about possible effects of a disability does not itself constitute a request for an accommodation.  Goddard faculty or staff cannot provide accommodations unless you have formally requested them and had them approved by the ADS Office. 

You may begin the process for requesting accommodations at any time during your program of study, although it is recommended that the process be started as early as possible, as accommodations cannot be retroactive.  Once accommodations are approved, they remain in place as long as you are enrolled at Goddard College.  Revisions and updates may be made at any time if there are any changes in your situation.  It is your responsibility to keep the ADS Office informed of any changes, including transfer from one Goddard program to another.

Receiving certain accommodations at a previous school does not guarantee that these same accommodations will be approved at Goddard College.

For more information, guidelines, and/or required forms for requesting accommodations, please contact Dvora Zipkin, Ed.D, Academic and Disabilities Support Coordinator, at 802-322-1639, or email adsoffice@goddard.edu.

Required Documentation

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You are a vital source of information regarding how you may be “limited by impairment.”  A primary source of documentation is your own narrative of your experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations. 

To request reasonable accommodations, you will need to complete an Accommodations Request Form and arrange to discuss your needs and requests with the ADS Office, either in person during your on-campus residency, or by telephone or video chat during other times of the year. This direct communication with the ADS Office is a crucial tool in understanding and assessing your needs and determining reasonable and appropriate accommodations at Goddard. 

Supporting documentation from a qualified medical professional or diagnostician needs to demonstrate the functional limitations of your disability, particularly as it impacts learning.  It should address how it is expected that these limitations may interact with the educational requirements of Goddard’s programs, including residency attendance and participation. 

Effective documentation should explain how the requested accommodation(s) would mitigate the limitations/impacts of your disability, thereby providing equal access to your educational program.  It is your responsibility to obtain any required documentation and any necessary testing or evaluations. Goddard College is not responsible for providing or paying for diagnosis or documentation of disabilities.

General Documentation Guidelines

In order for the ADS Office to determine effective reasonable accommodations, supporting documentation must meet the following general guidelines:

  • Documentation must be provided by a professional, such as a physician, psychologist, or licensed social worker, with required licensure in the area of your disability. This professional should be familiar with you, your disability, and the functional impacts of your disability.  It is recommended that you have a conversation with your provider to discuss the unique structure of your Goddard program, so that your provider can best recommend effective accommodations.
  • Documentation should include a description of your current functional limitations, particularly in a learning environment, and provide clear recommendations for accommodations, including a description of how the accommodations will address specific functional limitations. If applicable, it should include descriptions of previous accommodations successfully implemented at other institutions, as well as those that were not effective.
  • Documentation may be submitted using the ADS Documentation Form, or it may be submitted in letter or narrative form following the Documentation Guidelines, both of which are available from the ADS Office. If a letter is submitted, it should be on official letterhead, typed, dated, and signed. Either format should include the name, title, signature, and professional credentials of the professional submitting the supporting documentation.
  • While there is no requirement as to how recent supporting documentation should be, it should be relevant to your current situation and needs as it pertains to your studies and/or residency attendance at Goddard College.

There may be additional guidelines or requirements for documentation specific to the type of disability, i.e., physical, learning, psychiatric, or attentional.  Please contact Dvora Zipkin, Academic and Disabilities Support Coordinator, at 802-322-1639, or email her at adsoffice@goddard.edu to request an Accommodations Request Form and the correct documentation form(s) or guidelines for your type of disability.

Receiving Accommodations

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Once accommodations are determined and approved, the ADS Office will prepare an Accommodations Letter (AL).  The AL outlines the approved accommodations only; it does not identify the disability itself.  All documentation and diagnostic information remains strictly confidential within the ADS Office.  It is completely up to you whether you choose to disclose anything about the nature and/or severity of your disability to others, but this is never required.

When you approve the AL as written, you then sign the AL and the Release Form. These are legal documents that give you rights to the approved accommodations. ALs are released only with your written consent, and only to those who have a “need to know," i.e., those faculty and/or staff who have the responsibility of implementing the accommodations.  In the case of academic accommodations, it is your responsibility to give a copy of your AL to your faculty advisor each semester, preferably at your residency.

You are advised to maintain communication with your faculty advisor about your accommodation needs and plans to implement them. Any changes or revisions to the specific accommodations in the AL can only be made by the ADS Office, in consultation with the student. 

You are encouraged to contact the ADS Office if you encounter any difficulty or other concern with receiving accommodations. If a staff or faculty member is not appropriately carrying out certain accommodations, you are encouraged to either communicate with that person, or contact the ADS Office as soon as possible.

Should you have any questions or concerns, no matter how small they may seem, during any phase of the process of requesting and/or receiving accommodations, please do not hesitate to contact the ADS Office. Open and timely communication, whether with the ADS Office or your faculty advisor, is crucial to overall satisfaction and success in your academic program.  It is also a key element of self-advocacy efforts. Ultimately, you know best what your needs are and how we can best support you. You are the best person to advocate for your own best interests. The ADS Office is here to support and assist you in your efforts, and to help make your Goddard experience as rewarding as possible. We look forward to working with you.

For more information, guidelines, and/or required forms for requesting accommodations, please contact Dvora Zipkin, Ed.D, Academic and Disabilities Support Coordinator, at 802-322-1639, or email adsoffice@goddard.edu.