Disability & Support Services
Philander Smith College encourages students with disabilities to participate fully in all academic programs and student activities. The Disability Support Services Center works with students, faculty, and staff to remove accessibility barriers. Our primary objective is to promote independence, build skills, and facilitate achievement of educational goals for individuals with disabilities.
Ms. Brenda Martin
Coordinator, Disability Support Service
Health and Wellness Center
Fine Arts Building, 1st Floor
All students requesting accommodations are required to obtain up-to-date copies of medical documentation of their disability and how it limits their participation in courses, programs, services or facilities of the college. Documentation must clearly state diagnosis, describe the symptoms which impact your ability to function in the educational environment and provide specific recommendations for accommodations. All documentation received by the college is strictly confidential and is held in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and related regulations.
- Currency of documentation. Documentation must be current, reflecting evaluation provided within the past three years.
- The evaluation contained in the documentation must be provided by a qualified professional. The physician must have qualifications that are recognized by the State of Arkansas as affirming eligibility to render a medical diagnosis. The name, title, professional credentials, as well as licensing and certification information should be clearly stated in the evaluation.
- Documentation should be comprehensive. The evaluation should describe the type and severity of the individual’s symptoms at the time of first diagnosis and should state the approximate date of onset. It should also describe the subsequent course of the disabling condition and specify the current treatment of the condition, detailing any currently prescribed or recommended medication, therapies, care or assistive devices.
- Documentation should reflect the functional impact of the disability. The evaluation should contain a description of the type and severity of the current symptoms and note the impact of the disability in all relevant spheres of functioning. The evaluation should address how the disability may affect the individual’s ability to function in the academic setting.
- Recommendations for academic accommodations based on documentation. The evaluation should include specific recommendations for accommodations that are realistic and that the College can reasonably provide. Accommodations are adjustments to the academic environment provided to ensure equal access to an enrolled student based on his/her substantial impairment of functional capacity. They are not remedial in nature, nor can they fundamentally alter the nature of, or reduce the academic standards of, a course or degree program.
The intake process involves students disclosing their disabilities and then working together with Disability Support Services to identify their accommodation needs. Identifying accommodation needs is an individualized process based on the student’s documentation and educational experiences. Students who have had assessment placement testing accommodation in the past are encouraged to request accommodations.
Students are responsible for providing documentation of their disabilities to Disability Support Services. Once Disability Support Services has the documentation, it is reviewed to determine whether it supports the accommodation requests. Students are considered eligible for the requested services that are supported by documentation. If documentation is insufficient to support all accommodation requests, Disability Support Services notifies the student who may wish to provide additional information.
Students are encouraged to approach faculty either before classes begin or within the first few days of the semester to discuss their accommodation requests. Students should make an appointment to see each instructor during available office hours. Emphasis is placed on commitment to confidentiality regarding any information students disclose, information gained through contacts with Disability Support Services, or any other information about a student’s disability.
IMPLEMENTATION/PERIODIC REVIEW OF ACCOMMODATIONS
Every student with a disability will have a different level of functioning even within the same disability category. The degree of limitation and the compensation skills of each student with a disability will vary widely. Throughout the semester, faculty/staff and student should meet to discuss whether the accommodations are adequate or need revision.
Contact the Disability Support Services Center to make an appointment to discuss your needs and your application. 501-370-5356