Ball State is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide reasonable accommodations to students with a documented physical or mental impairment which rises to the level of a disability (substantial limitation of one or more major life activities). Conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder may rise to the level of disability, and thus need to be accommodated.
Most students with a psychiatric disability are very protective of their confidentiality, and federal law mandates that we not breach their confidentiality. If a student provides you with a letter from Disability Services (DS) stating that the student has a disability, it is important that you not announce to the class that the student has a disability. If the student chooses to disclose his/her disability, that is the student's decision to make.
If a student comes to you and asks for accommodations based upon a psychiatric disability, ask that student to provide you with a letter from DS. Please do not grant accommodations based upon disability without a letter from DS. It is the role of DS to review psychometric evaluations and determine what, if any, accommodations are appropriate for students with psychiatric disabilities.
Often, the side effects of medication, counseling appointments, and the difficulty of keeping a structured schedule can cause the student to miss an occasional class. A reasonable accommodation for a student with a psychiatric disability may be flexibility in terms of class attendance. However, this flexibility cannot be without limits, and the student must bear responsibility for notification of absences and for make-up work and tests. If repeated absences threaten the essential components of the course, a medical withdrawal may be necessary. Please consult with DS should this become an issue in dealing with a student with a psychiatric disability.
Tips for Positive Communication
Suggested Classroom Accommodations
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