Michelle Traster
Michelle TrasterAdaptive Technology Specialist
Lindsey Smith
Lindsey SmithTesting Coordinator

Information and Resources for Students

Welcome
Welcome to the Accessibility Resource Center. The primary function of the Center is to create an accessible and inclusive collegiate environment for students with disabilities. Students with documented disabilities are encouraged to visit the Accessibility Resource Center in Blum 212 to explore campus and community resources available while attending MWSU.

Transition
There are a number of significant changes that happen when a disabled student leaves the public education setting and enters the post-secondary (college/university) environment. The Department of Education has created a helpful document to explain the differences between the two academic environments and to assist students with making a successful transition.

What does it mean to be a person with a disability?
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.

What kinds of things are considered major life activities?
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines major life activities as those functions that are important to most people’s daily lives. Examples of major life activities are breathing, walking, talking, hearing, seeing, sleeping, caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, and working. Major life activities also include major bodily functions such as immune system functions, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Documentation
An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is not a suitable or sufficient form of disability documentation in the post-secondary environment. At MWSU, students with disabilities are required to provide documentation prepared by an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician. Documentation must include the following: a diagnosis of the student’s current disability, as well as supporting information, such as the date of the diagnosis, how the diagnosis was reached, and the credentials of the diagnosing professional; information on how the student’s disability affects a major life activity; and information on how the disability affects the student’s academic performance. Documentation should provide enough information for the University to make a determination as to reasonable and effective academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and accommodations as we work with the student throughout the interactive process.

If a student does not have sufficient documentation, they will be referred to the vocational rehabilitation agency in their state of residence for an evaluation. You may locate your state vocational rehabilitation agency at http://rsa.ed.gov by clicking on “Info about RSA,” then “People and Offices,” and then “State Agencies/ Contacts.”

The Accommodation Process
Once a determination has been made that a student’s diagnosed disability has a significant impact on one or more major life activities, an accommodation letter will be created detailing the academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and accommodations that need to be put in place on their behalf. Students will receive this letter in their MWSU Gold Link email and will need to forward their email to their instructors and other relevant staff members. Returning students will need to request an updated letter at the beginning of each semester.

Academic Adjustments and Accommodations
Academic adjustments and accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and other similar civil rights legislation. The purpose of academic adjustments and accommodations is to remove barriers that would otherwise prevent students with disabilities from having equal access to the same learning opportunities made available to all other students. To request academic adjustments and accommodations, students should complete this form (Coming soon, summer of 2022). For now, students should contact the ARC Coordinator at arc@missouriwestern.edu.    

Housing Accommodations
Housing accommodations are available to students with documented disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. The purpose of housing accommodations is to remove barriers that would otherwise prevent students with disabilities from having equal access to the same opportunities to live in campus housing that is made available to all other student residents. Students with general housing accommodation requests should complete the Request for Reasonable Housing Accommodations.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Accommodations
Missouri Western State University policy prohibits pets in our residence halls. However, exemptions from this policy may be available to students with diagnosed and documented disabilities. This exemption is only available to students with diagnoses that rise to the level of being considered a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are several steps involved in this process and students are not allowed to bring their animal to campus until they have successfully completed all of these steps and received an approval letter from the Accessibility Resource Center. Please be informed that an animal is considered a pet until it has been approved as an emotional support animal by the University. Upon a successful review of all submitted documentation, the student will receive an accommodation letter from the ARC. The Director of Residential Life will also receive a copy of the student’s accommodation letter stating that the student has been granted an exemption from University pet policy and that they will have an emotional support animal living with them in their place of residence on campus.

Approvals for emotional support animals only last for one academic year (August through July). Students requesting an ESA accommodation should have their request submitted by July 15 for timely consideration. Students wishing to return to MWSU the following year with their emotional support animal are required to complete the Emotional Support Animal Request each year prior to returning to campus with their animal in the fall. Documentation will need to confirm that there is an ongoing need for the emotional support animal and that all of the animal’s records (vaccinations, city license, clean bill of health, etc.) are up to date.

Students requesting an allowance for having an Emotional support Animal living in their campus residence will need to complete the Emotional Support Animal Accommodation Request. We strongly encourage students to read through the request form and gather all of the required supporting documentation prior to completing the form. Within the form, there are opportunities to upload vaccination records, city license, healthcare provider documentation, etc. The form also contains detailed information students will need to share with their healthcare provider. Students will also find within the form a list of obligations they must read, sign and date prior to bringing an emotional support animal on campus. If you have any questions about these procedures, please contact the Accessibility Resource Center.

If you have any questions about the information on this page, please contact the ARC at arc@missouriwestern.edu.