Part 18: Disability Services
By Briana Spiker, MSW, LCSW, Counselor
If you are a student with a disability and have the desire to attend college there might be help available for you. The Office of Disability Services serves qualified students with documented disabilities. We are committed to helping qualified students achieve their academic goals by providing reasonable academic accommodations under appropriate circumstances.
As a counselor in Disability Services, I regularly travel from West Virginia University (WVU) to Potomac State College (PSC) where I meet with students with disabilities to address their questions, concerns, and needs. Students with disabilities who have been admitted to PSC should contact me as soon as possible (304) 788-6936. Students who are planning to attend another college or university should contact that institution’s Office of Disability Services or Admissions Office as soon as possible.
Appropriate accommodations are developed specific to both the student’s needs and appropriate documentation of a disability and the significant functional limitations supported by diagnostic test data. Accommodations are tailored to the individual rather than the disability, so students with the same disabilities may require different accommodations. Possible accommodations include academic accommodations, priority preregistration, housing accommodations, classroom relocation, sign language interpreters, and others.
A person with a disability who has been admitted to PSC should contact the Office of Disability Services to plan for potential accommodation needs. Students must self-
identify. All students interested in obtaining services through our office must:
(1) Schedule an initial interview with a counselor to register with the Office of Disability Services.
(2) Provide appropriate documentation of their disability that meets PSC criteria for obtaining disability-related academic accommodations; and
(3) Request services on a semester-by-semester basis.
Students are responsible for providing appropriate documentation of their disability and functional limitations prior to receiving accommodations. It is important to plan for accommodations ahead of time to allow the documentation review and approval process to be completed.
To meet adult criteria of “disability” and to receive disability-related academic accommodations, documentation must provide current test data from a comprehensive evaluation done by a qualified professional and must describe a significant impairment that substantially limits academic functioning. A diagnosis of a disorder, condition, or syndrome in and of itself does not automatically qualify an individual for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An Individual Education Plan or 504 plan from the public school system is also not sufficient documentation. Specific documentation criteria for Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Psychological/Psychiatric Disorders, Physical/Medical Disabilities, Traumatic Brain Injury, Deafness and Hard of Hearing, Blindness and Low Vision, and Housing are available through our office and can be found at the WVU main campus website (http://www.wvu.edu/~socjust/disability/index.htm).
Because of the legal nature and complexity involved in the process of obtaining disability-related accommodations, it is important to read and understand the policies and procedures related to this process. PSC encourages all academically qualified students to take advantage of its academic programs. It is our policy not to discriminate against qualified persons with disabilities in our admission policies or procedures or our educational programs, services, and activities. Admission to PSC is based upon meeting the PSC admission requirements. Upon being admitted to PSC, a student with disabilities needing accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services for an appointment.
For further information, please contact:
Briana Spiker, MSW, LCSW, Counselor, Office of Disability Services
Science Hall, Room 104,
Phone: (304) 788-6936
Office of Disabilities Services WVU http://www.wvu.edu/~socjust/disability/index.htm
Office for Civil Rights http://www.ed.gov/print/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html
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Potomac State College of West Virginia University at http://www.potomacstatecollege.edu
or (304-788-6820 or toll free:
Eastern Community and