Faculty Support

What is the Office of Disability Services?

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) in the Academic Resource Center exists to help ensure that all students at the University of Miami have equal access to the programs and services of the University of Miami according to law. In addition to providing auxiliary aids and services to students with documented disabilities, ODS also provides information about disability services to the University as a whole.

What are the federal laws or statutes which regulate the provision of services to post-secondary students with disabilities?

Regulations regarding the provision of auxiliary aids and services to university students are found in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the guidelines interpreting these statutes.

The ADA definition of an individual with a disability is: a person who a) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of the person's major life activities, b) has a record of such an impairment, or c) is regarded as having such an impairment.

What types of conditions are considered "disabilities" under these laws?

The ADA applies to persons who have impairments which substantially limit major life activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, working as well as operations of major bodily functions such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circular, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

How do students register with the Office of Disability Services?

Students with disabilities who anticipate the need for special accommodations and auxiliary aids and services should schedule an appointment with the Office of Disability Services to discuss the nature of the disability, the documentation requirements, and possible accommodations.

The student must provide current and complete documentation of the disability to ODS. There are specific Documentation Requirements of each type of disability. These guidelines are available from ODS. No accommodations can be provided until all documentation is complete.

When complete documentation has been reviewed, ODS schedules an appointment with the student to discuss recommendations and accommodations which may be appropriate. At this time, ODS may make referrals to other campus and community resources. The accommodations and recommendations are based on the documentation and the individual needs of the student. The law requires that each student be considered individually and on a case-by-case basis.