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Disability Services

Division of Student Life and Enrollment


In compliance with the federal regulations outlined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008: it is the policy of East Tennessee State University to make accommodations, course substitutions, and other academic adjustments when necessary to insure equal access for students with disabilities. 

While all students with disabilities are protected from discrimination, some students may not be eligible for all of the services coordinated by Disability Services.  Classroom and testing accommodations are made on an individual case-by-case basis.  Students who wish to request an accommodation or academic adjustment because of a disability must follow the established process for self-identification by completing the intake process with Disability Services.

During the intake process, students are informed of the policies and procedures surrounding the accommodation process, student responsibilities, and ETSU responsibilities. Determination of classroom and testing accommodations and other support services coordinated by Disability Services is based on an interview with the student, the observations of the Disability Services staff member, and if necessary, a review of records regarding the student's disability.

The Interview: This interview can be in person, or by phone, video relay, Skype, Facetime or other video conferencing methods. During the interview, students are asked to describe the nature of their disability and how the disability impacts them in various settings. It is important for the student to describe accommodations they have received and the effectiveness of those accommodations.

Observation by Disability Services Staff: When students have not received accommodations before or when students have difficulty explaining how their disability impacts them, the Disability Services professional will use their professional judgment to help the student explore the potential impact of their disability in classes and other campus activities. This process may be enough to allow the student and Disability Services to determine the functional impact of the disability and to develop a plan for accommodations, however, additional information may be necessary.

Third party documentation: Additional information is needed to establish the impact of the disability and the type of services that can be provided. The purpose for requesting additional information is to help Disability Services determine if there are accommodations that can be provided to offset the impact of a disability in ETSU programs and activities. Records provided to support a request for services should be current and relevant to the accommodation request. The age of the record is less important than the information it provides. Educational or medical records, reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system are examples of records that may support accommodation requests. Disability Services will review individualized education plans (IEP), summaries of performance (SOP), and other records in an effort to develop a complete picture of the student's disability and accommodation needs. When students do not have copies of reports to be reviewed, Disability Services provides a Medical/Mental Health Documentation Form that can be faxed or emailed to the appropriate professional. This form is provided for the student's convenience; however, a letter on the professional's letterhead providing detailed information may be substituted for the form.

  • Effective records will include:
  • Statement of diagnosis provided by an impartial professional
  • Description of diagnostic criteria and/or diagnostic tests used
  • Description of the current impact of the disability in an academic environment
  • Credentials of the diagnosing professional

The diagnosing professional must have specific training and expertise in a field related to the type of disability being diagnosed.  Records not including the information outlined above or from a professional whose credentials are not generally indicative of expertise in the specific disability being diagnosed may not be adequate to support the student's request for services.  If the information provided is not adequate, Disability Services will give the student a written explanation of why the documentation was not accepted. This explanation will include suggestions regarding additional information that the student can provide to establish eligibility. It is ETSU's goal to make the process of self identification and requesting services as simple and convenient as possible for students.

ETSU does not provide any type of learning disabilities evaluations; however, Disability Services maintains a list of professionals in private practice that can evaluate learning disabilities. To request a copy of the referral list or to schedule an intake appointment call Disability Services at 423-439-8346

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