Access & Disability Support

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.

The Access and Disability Support Office has three main functions:

  1. Developing academic and residency accommodations for students with disabilities under the ADA, ADAAA, & Section 504.
  2. Providing academic support for students experiencing life events that hinder their ability to access their programs.
  3. Developing on-campus and on-line accommodations that support the entire community.

We encourage any student who has a question about whether he or she may qualify for accommodations to contact us: adsoffice@goddard.edu. Medical issues, food sensitivities/allergies, psychiatric issues, processing disorders, and recovery from substance abuse/addiction are among the categories covered by the ADA. Even if a student’s concerns are not covered by the ADA/Section 504,we can provide support for organization and study skills and some basic information as to how to locate local resources that may be helpful.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Suzy Shedd
Access Support Coordinator
802-322-1639
adsoffice@goddard.edu

Requesting Accommodations

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 post-secondary 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.

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.

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.

There may be additional guidelines or requirements for documentation specific to the type of disability, i.e., physical, learning, psychiatric, or attentional.

Receiving Accommodations 

Once accommodations are determined and approved, the ADS Office will prepare an Accommodations Letter (AL).  The Accommodations Letter 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 Accommodations Letter as written, you then sign the Accommodations Letter and the Release Form. These are legal documents that give you rights to the approved accommodations.Accommodations Letters 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 Accommodations Letter 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 Suzy Shedd, Access Support Specialist at 802-322-1639, or email adsoffice@goddard.edu.