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Office for Students with Disabilities
The Office for Students with Disabilities, known as “OSWD,” is here to provide qualified students with disabilities the support they need to succeed through equal access to education and academic activities.
To do this, we approve reasonable accommodations, provide services, and create a welcoming and productive experience that reflects a barrier-free environment, guided by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Students who wish to make use of disability-support services from OSWD must first self-disclose to OSWD the need for academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services, completing the intake process to establish eligibility for particular accommodations and services. In order for a student's disability to be...
OSWD staff can help students in all of the following: Review disability, health, or psychological assessments to determine appropriate academic adjustments Assist students in determining which adjustments they need to access Gallaudet programs Help students learn to use academic adjustments successfully Support the implementation of...
OSWD provides the following services to students and faculty. Intake Process and Eligibility Review: students submit info & medical documentation Adaptive Technology: equipment, furniture, or software that can improve access Auxiliary Aids: note takers, readers, scribes, and laboratory and library assistants Counseling Support: counselors assist...
OSWD recognizes that there are disability-related costs a student faces, above and beyond tuition, fees, room and board. OSWD students often have to deal with additional expenses not incurred by other students. They may include the cost of specialized adaptive equipment, expenses for personal use...
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, activity or facility that enables a qualified student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance or enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available...
Federal and state law requires colleges and universities to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities that substantially impair or limit their opportunity to achieve their maximum academic potential. Students requesting accommodations and/or support services under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504...
Just as faculty and students are interacting remotely, all Gallaudet staff members, except those who are considered essential employees, are also working remotely, including the staff of the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSWD). Despite the changes, OSWD maintains its commitment to assisting its students...
Elementary and secondary education (through high school) is governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees students a free and appropriate public education. After they graduate from high school, students and their parents need to be aware that IDEA no longer applies....
Fifty years ago, the US Congress passed The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and these words, from "Section 504", became federal law: No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States ... shall, solely by reason of ... disability, be denied the benefits of,...
The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSWD) recognizes that there are disability related costs above and beyond tuition, fees, room and board. OSWD students are often faced with additional expenses not incurred by other students. These may include, specialized adaptive equipment, expenses for personal use...
Gallaudet University OSWD Policy Guidelines: Accommodations for Distance Learners, for Students & Faculty (PDF) Winter-Storm Emergency Preparedness: Plans & Procedures, Gallaudet University/OSWD Policy Guidelines (PDF)
Use this online eSign form for automatic delivery, and e-mail your test separately to Contact here or deliver test to OSWD by hand, as soon as possible: Testing Services Request Form (eSign) This online eSign form will automatically deliver your evaluation form after you sign...
Request for OSWD Services, Part 1, Basic Information (PDF form) Request for OSWD Services, Part 2, Authorization to Share Information (PDF form) Request for OSWD Services, Part 3, Medical Information (PDF form) Request for OSWD Services, all 3 parts in one PDF (PDF form) Authorization...
Winter Storm Emergency Preparedness: Tips for Students" (PDF) Winter Storm Emergency Preparedness: Plans & Procedures; Gallaudet University/OSWD Policy Guidelines" (PDF)
It is the policy of Gallaudet University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local regulations regarding students and applicants with disabilities. Pursuant to these laws, no qualified individual with a disability, or those regarded...
A student is “conditionally accepted” for OSWD services if OSWD determines that the student is likely eligible for services but medical documentation is inadequate or outdated (typically older than 3 years, depending on the disability in question).
“Conditionally accepted” students otherwise receive the same accommodations as other OSWD students, but usually have until the start of the next fall/spring term to remedy deficiencies in their medical documentation.
“Conditional acceptance” is also used for students with temporary disabilities who need disability accommodations, but whose condition may change significantly before the start of the next fall/spring term, and require a reassessment of their eligibility for accommodations.
Students with disabilities requesting an academic accommodation should work with their assigned OSWD coordinator to determine appropriate accommodations that meet their needs and accommodate their particular disabilities.
Since the student possesses unique knowledge of their disabilities, they should be prepared to discuss the functional challenges they face in their classrooms and, if applicable, what has or has not worked for them in the past.
Post-secondary institutions are not required to provide an academic accommodation if
For example, providing a note-taker for oral classroom presentations and discussions might be a fundamental alteration, but making a video recording might be a suitable substitution.
Students may disclose a disability and request accommodations at any point during their academic career at Gallaudet. To be considered for disability-related accommodations, students need to follow these steps:
During the initial appointment, students meet with an OSWD counselor to discuss the accommodations for which they were approved. The student will have a chance to ask any questions about their documentation and why they were approved or denied for any specific accommodations.
Students may request that their documentation be reconsidered if they were denied a specific accommodation, or they may request additional accommodations if they have new or updated documentation.
Students have the right to:
Students have the Responsibility to:
Registering with OSWD does not absolve the student of responsibilities during the time it takes to assess eligibility and arrange accommodations and special services. The student may not use a disability as an excuse for not fulfilling the obligations and requirements of the course syllabus.
Students enrolled at Gallaudet University, who are over the age of 18, are considered adults, and their confidentiality is strictly protected. No information, written or oral, will be released to other persons, including parents, without the student’s written permission. OSWD understands the needs of parents regarding the emotional and educational condition of their children. Students may sign the “OSWD Release of Information Form” (on the “Forms” page) and allow OSWD to speak with parents. Signing this form is completely voluntary and students may revoke their permission at any time by notifying OSWD in writing.
Students with disabilities entering college need to be well informed about changes in their rights and responsibilities as well as the rights and responsibilities afforded by the University. A student who is well informed will help to ensure a full opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the post-secondary education experience without confusion or delay.
Future students with disabilities are encouraged to contact or visit the Office for Students with Disabilities in their junior or senior years in high school in order to find out more about disability services at the college level. If a prospective student visits campus, come by the OSWD office, too.
There is often a misconception by students entering college and their parents that post-secondary schools and school districts have the same responsibilities in providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. While there are some similarities, the responsibilities of post-secondary schools are significantly different from those of school districts at the secondary level. Also, the responsibilities of students with disabilities are significantly different as well.
The Office for Students with Disabilities recommends that all faculty members use the following statement on their course syllabi to inform students with disabilities of the faculty member’s willingness to provide reasonable accommodations:
Gallaudet University is committed to providing all students equal access to learning opportunities. The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSWD) is the campus unit that works with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations. Students registered with OSWD, who have a letter requesting accommodations, are encouraged to contact the professor early in the semester. Students who have, or think they may have, a disability (e.g. psychiatric, attention, learning, vision, physical, or systemic), are invited to contact OSWD for a confidential discussion at (202) 651-5256 (V/TTY) or at Contact here. OSWD is located in the Student Academic Center, room 1220.
A faculty member who suspects that a student has a disability is encouraged to refer the student to OSWD for assistance.
Faculty members are encouraged to involve OSWD to mediate certain student disputes relevant to disability issues and accommodations. Often such meetings result in proactive solutions improving upon accommodations and accessibility.
Faculty members must refrain from personal judgments that affect the student’s right to receive accommodations and special services. It is the student’s right to receive identified accommodations for which the student has been qualified.
Faculty have the Right to:
Faculty have the Responsibility to:
Faculty need to be careful about liability in accommodating students with disabilities beyond what has been approved by OSWD. These issues are discussed briefly in When Faculty are TOO Accommodating!”.
OSWD encourages students and faculty to meet at the beginning of the semester so that the student may make the faculty aware of disabilities and accommodations that have been approved. It also allows you to have questions answered by the student.
If the student either emails you their Student Accommodation Letter, or leaves it for you, we suggest that you reach out to the student and suggest a time for the two of you to meet. Creating an opportunity for both of you to discuss the situation, ask questions, and solve problems will benefit everyone.
Manager, Office of Students With Disabilities
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