Students with Disabilities

INTRODUCTION

The Counseling and Career Services Office provides services for Students with Disabilities at Texas A&M University at Galveston. To enable students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in the full range of college experiences. Our goal is to provide a fully integrated university experience for all students. We work to promote an environment that is free from physical and attitudinal barriers.

The University has the right to set and maintain standards for admitting students and evaluating their progress and is not obligated to waive any requirements that are fundamental or essential to the integrity of the program. Thus students with disabilities must meet the academic or technical standards for participation in a program, given appropriate accommodations.

The staff members of the Office of Student Counseling monitors and coordinate accommodations. The staff disseminate information about available services, evaluate requests for services to determine eligibility and appropriate accommodations, and assist students in obtaining those accommodations. To obtain services, students with disabilities must make the request to the Office of Student Counseling. Once eligibility is verified and accommodations are identified, the student approaches the relevant faculty or staff member to arrange the specific accommodation. The student will be given a letter from SSD verifying his/her eligibility for particular accommodations. Should a student request an accommodation without working with SSD, that student should be referred to and registered with SSD before the accommodation is provided. It is the student's responsibility to make his or her needs known.

The Office of Student Counseling is located in:
Seibel Student Services Center, Suite 104.

Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

REGISTRATION FOR SERVICES

To register for services, a student submits written verification of the disability and recommended accommodations from a qualified professional. Following an interview with the student and a review of the documentation, the staff will determine if the student is eligible for services and which accommodations are appropriate.

New students should submit the written documentation of the disability at least three weeks before the beginning of their first semester. Returning students who desire continuing accommodations must contact Counseling & Career Services at the beginning of each semester so their special needs can be discussed and arrangements made for services in the current semester. Students whose accommodations require advance time to arrange, e.g., scheduling American Sign Language interpreters or producing books on tape, should notify counseling staff members of these needs as soon as they register for the relevant course. While registration for accomodations will be accepted at any point in the academic calendar, some time may be needed to verify the disability or to arrange accommodations.  New accomdation requests will require at least 7 days for review by the Accomodation Review Committee (ARC).

Student Consent Form

Student Counseling In-Take Information Form

ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for services a student must:

Apply and be accepted for admission to Texas A&M University at Galveston through the regular admission process.

Provide current and comprehensive documentation of a temporary or permanent disability which requires accommodation.

Register with the Counseling & Career Services office at the beginning of each semester.

A disability is defined as "any mental or physical condition that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities" (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990). Major life activities include such functions as breathing, seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, learning, working, performing manual tasks, and caring for oneself.

Students with disabilities who desire academic adjustments or auxiliary aids or services in the classroom, library, or otherwise in connection with their academic work are required to register with the Counseling & Caeer Services office. It is the student's responsibility to provide written documentation of the disabling condition, the impairments, the condition causes, and recommended accommodations to counteract the effect of the disability. If a student is regarded as having a disability or has a record of a disability, but no longer has a related impairment, the student will be protected from discrimination, but may not be eligible for any accommodation. Determination of eligibility for services and of appropriate accommodations is made on an individualized, case-by-case basis. top

DOCUMENTATION

To receive accommodations for a disability, a TAMUG student must provide the Counseling & Career Services office with current and comprehensive documentation at least 30 days prior to the need for services. The documentation should be no more than three years old, comprehensive including the following:

Student's name

Date of evaluation and/or last contact

A specific diagnosis and history (e.g., symptoms, age at onset, procedures used to assess or diagnose the disorder) Learning disability documentation: full psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation report,  less than three years old (For more information, see "Guidelines for Learning Disability Documentation," Appendix A.)

Nature of the impairment(s) of major life activity(ies)

Level of severity of the disability

Stability of impairment and recommended interval for re-evaluation

Duration of treatment and frequency of contact

Current medications/treatment

Functional limitations due to the disability

Strengths in an academic setting

Recommended academic accommodations

Professional’s name, address, phone number, and information about his/her licensure or certification, degree, training, area(s) of specialization, etc.

Evaluations submitted for documentation must be conducted by a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist or a professional that is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability.

The Counseling & Career Services office reserves the right to request additional information or evaluation. We do not fund or provide any diagnostic evaluations to determine the presence of a disability. However, information regarding resources to use in obtaining an evaluation are available from this office. (The student may wish to supply the evaluator with copies of "To the professional," Appendix B, and/or "Guidelines for Learning Disability Documentation," Appendix A.)

Request For Accomodations Form

CONFIDENTIALITY

The Counseling  & Career Services office serves as the repository for medical documentation of disabilities. Documentation submitted to Counseling & Career Services office is confidential and used solely for the purpose of assisting students in identifying and securing accommodations and services to support their full participation at TAMUG. Information used by the Counseling & Career Services office will be kept confidential. In accordance with ethical guidelines, what you discuss with a mental health professional is kept confidential. Your written permission will be required to release information to other parties (i.e. spouse, family members, or outside institutions). In an effort to maintain professional standards, your counselor may discuss specifics of your situation with other mental health professionals as part of consultation to ensure that appropriate services are provided to you.

 There are circumstances where information can be released without your consent or authorization. These include:

  1. If you are at risk of being a threat or danger to yourself, a mental health professional is permitted to release information necessary for the purpose of your protection (such as contacting family  members or seeking hospitalization). 

  2. If an immediate threat of physical violence against a readily identifiable victim is disclosed, your counselor may take action, which may include notifying the potential victim(s), notifying the police, or seeking hospitalization.

  3. If abuse or harmful neglect of children, the elderly, or disabled/incompetent is known or reasonably suspected, your counselor must file a report with the appropriate state agency.

  4. In the event a client decides to bring a malpractice suite against the counselor, the client’s record will be admitted as evidence in court.

  5. In court proceedings a judge may require the mental health professional’s testimony and client’s record if he/she determines this is necessary to resolve the issues before the court.

The laws concerning confidentiality can be quite complex. While your counselor is willing to discuss these matters with you, he/she is not an attorney. If you have specific legal questions, it is advised that you speak with an attorney.

The letter to faculty or staff verifying eligibility for accommodations normally will not name the diagnosis or condition.

When a student first qualifies for services, letters requesting the accommodations will be made available to the student, but it will be up to the student to decide in which courses the accommodation is needed and to share the letter with those faculty members. The student need not notify a faculty member of the disability if he/she is not requesting an accommodation in that faculty member's class. 

ACCOMMODATIONS

The goal of accommodations is to provide access to educational programs and co-curricular activities. In some cases, identifying appropriate, effective, and reasonable accommodations is a trial and error process requiring cooperation and feedback from
the student with the disability. A student with a disability has a right to request a specific form of accommodation, but the University may offer another effective form instead.

The services available through Counseling & Career Services include but are not limited to:

Notification to faculty to arrange for special testing conditions or other academic accommodations

Lecture notes if available

Assistance with accessibility issues

Facilitation of communication between students and faculty or staff members

Referral to other support services on campus or in the community

Providing accommodations such as extended test time or altered test formats is the responsibility of the faculty member.  Counseling staff may provide suggestions or assistance when necessary to implement the accommodation.

Students may request modification of degree or program requirements on the basis of a disability by submitting a written request and relevant documentation to the Counseling & Career Services Accomodation Review Committee for review. This information will be reviewed by the appropriate academic officials with the University.

When a student requests a housing accommodation which involves an exception to standard policies (e.g., requesting a single room because of a disability when the person is not eligible through the point/lottery system), Residential Life staff members will refer the student to the Counseljng & Career Services Accomodation Review Committee to have the disability documentation and request evaluated. The Counseling staff will make a recommendation to Residential Life staff about whether the request should be granted.

The University does not provide personal equipment such as wheelchairs and hearing aids, or attendants to assist with personal care such as bathing, dressing, or eating.

Request For Accomodations Form

TEMPORARY DISABILITIES

Although the University is not required to accommodate students with temporary disabilities (i.e., arms or legs in casts, a severe case of mononucleosis), faculty and staff may provide assistance such as recruiting volunteer note takers, giving extensions on tests or paper deadlines, or issuing temporary handicapped parking permits.

APPENDIX A

Guidelines for Learning Disability Documentation

A psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation should be conducted by a licensed or certified psychologist, educational diagnostician, or other relevant professional with training and experience in identifying and diagnosing learning disabilities. Objective evidence of a substantial limitation in learning or other cognitive functions should be provided. We prefer the evaluation be less than three years old in order to demonstrate the current impact of the disability and to identify appropriate accommodations. The evaluation should include a diagnostic interview and measures of the following: 

 

  1. Aptitude-A comprehensive intellectual assessment should be administered. The age-appropriate Wechsler intelligence scale is strongly preferred. All subtest and standard scores should be reported. The Slosson Intelligence Test-Revised, the Kaufman Brief Adult Intelligence Test (K-BIT), and the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence-2 are not adequate.

  2. Academic Achievement-A complete achievement battery to measure current academic functioning is needed, including at least measures of reading (decoding and comprehension), oral and written language, and mathematics. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery-Revised: Tests of Achievement, the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT), and the Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK) are among those which are acceptable. The Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised (WRAT-R) is not acceptable as the sole measure of achievement.

  3. Information processing-short- and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, speed of processing, executive functioning, and motor abilities should be addressed. Analysis of performance on some of the aptitude and achievement tests may provide relevant information, but additional assessment techniques may be needed.

The evaluation report should be submitted on professional letterhead, dated, and signed, indicating the certification or licensure of the evaluator. The report should include a summary of the diagnostic interview, the tests administered with subtest and standard scores, a description of the nature and severity of the substantial limitation to learning (or other major life activity) and the specific diagnosis (if any), a description of the student’s history, test behaviors, and score patterns that support the diagnosis, and recommended academic accommodations and the rational to support them.

APPENDIX B

To the professional:

To assist TAMUG in determining a student's eligibility for accommodations for a disability, please provide the following information about his/her disability on your professional letterhead:

  • Student's name

  • Date of evaluation and/or last contact

  • A specific diagnosis and history (e.g., symptoms, age at onset, procedures used to assess or diagnose the disorder) Learning disability documentation: full psycho-educational or neuropsychological evaluation report, preferably less than three years old (For more information, see "Guidelines for Learning Disability Documentation," Appendix A.)

  • Nature of the impairment(s) of major life activity(ies)

  • Level of severity of the disability

  • Stability of impairment and recommended interval for re-evaluation

  • Duration of treatment and frequency of contact

  • Current medications/treatment

  • Functional limitations due to the disability

  • Strengths in an academic setting

  • Recommended academic accommodations

  • Professional’s name, address, phone number, and information about his/her licensure or certification, degree, training, area(s) of specialization, etc.

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