Frequently Asked Questions by Students


    Defining a Disability

  • What constitutes a disability?

    A disability is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Learning is an example of a major life activity. If you have a mental health or physical condition, a history of such a condition, or a condition which may be considered by others as substantially limiting, you may have a legally defined disability.

     

    The services provided by the DRC are for students with diagnosed disabilities that include, but are not limited to:

    • Learning Disabilities (for example: reading, writing, math, processing, or memory disabilities)
    • ADHD and ADD
    • Physical Disabilities
    • Medical Disabilities
    • Blind or Low Vision
    • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
    • Speech Disabilities
    • Psychological or Emotional Disabilities
    • Other diagnosed disabilities

     

  • What does substantially limiting mean?
    According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, substantially limiting is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people.
  • What is a major life activity?
    According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a major life activity is defined as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. 
  • What are academic adjustments?
    Appropriate academic adjustments create an equal access to education, as long as it doesn't require a substantial change in an essential element of the curriculum. This is determined by the institution. Such modifications may include an adjustment in the amount of time allowed to complete a degree, substitution of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted. 
  • Disability Services

  • What should I know when applying to University of North Florida? Are there any special procedures?
    Students with disabilities must apply to UNF through the regular admissions procedure. There are no special admissions procedures. However, if a student would like their disability considered in the admissions process, he/she should check Box 14 on the Admissions Application. See Admission to UNF 
  • What should I do if I suspect I have a disability and want to receive accommodations?
    If you suspect you have a disability that is impacting your academic performance, you will need to provide documentation of that disability to Disability Resource Center (DRC). This documentation must be supplied by a qualified professional who is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question. 
  • I received accommodations in high school or I had an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Can I use the IEP as documentation?
    The IEP is a valuable resource of information, but it cannot be used as documentation of the disability. 
  • I received special education (IDEA) or 504 services in high school. How are these services different in college?
    Colleges are required to provide any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary for equal access to education. They are not required to design special programs for students with disabilities or have Individual Educational Plans (IEPs). 
  • If I am a student with a disability, will Disability Services seek me out to provide services like my counselors did in high school?
    In college, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and under the Americans with Disabilities Act. IDEA no longer applies. Since this is the case, the legal obligations change. There is no special education in college. Under IDEA, it is the responsibility of the schools to provide services and seek out students with disabilities. Colleges do not have to seek out students with disabilities. It is the student's responsibility to seek out services through Disability Services. 
  • What role do my parents play in the process?
    Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults. In this case, the student is responsible for their own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. However, students are encouraged to have an open dialog with their parents. Parents can be a wonderful source of support.
  • I suspect I have a learning disability. Can the Disability Resource Center conduct the assessment to provide a diagnosis?
    Colleges are not required to conduct or provide testing. The student is responsible for providing current documentation, and any additional testing, if necessary. However, we do provide referral information. 
  • Are students with temporary impairments provided accommodations?
    While temporary impairments do not qualify for protection under the law, the DRC nevertheless attempts to assist students who need temporary accommodations.