Request Process

Disability Support Services

The Academic Services office is dedicated fostering the University’s mission to ensure that qualified students with disabilities who are admitted to the University are afforded equal access and opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs, services and activities of the University. Our Learning Access Coordinator welcomes the opportunity to meet with admitted students who would like to discuss learning accommodations.  Students with appropriate documentation will work in partnership with the Learning Access Coordinator to develop an accommodation plan that supports them in reaching their academic goals. Academic Services will also collaborate with faculty and campus partners each semester to ensure delivery of necessary accommodations and services.

Contact information
Academic Services

Angelia Martinez, Learning Access Coordinator
Learning Resource Center, room 342
Phone: 815-836-5593
Fax: 815-834-6614

Who is eligible?

Anyone with a physical, mental, or sensory impairment that substantially limits their ability to learn, access or participate in activities or programs of the university can be eligible to request accommodations. This includes students in both undergraduate and graduate programs, SPCE and clinical programs, as long as they qualify and meet program standards. The process to become “eligible” to receive accommodations is outlined below.

Process to request a Reasonable Accommodation
  1. Submit Documentation to the Academic Services Office:

    After being admitted to Lewis University, to request accommodations, collect documentation from a medical professional or educational records supporting the request. (Documentation guidelines are outlined after this section.)

    • Drop off to Academic Services, located in the Learning Resource Center, room 342
    • Scan/email to:
    • Fax to: 815-834-6614
  2. Make an Appointment. After gathering supportive documentation, set up an appointment with the Learning Access Coordinator for a 45 minute in-depth discussion.

  3. Discuss accommodations with the Learning Access Coordinator. The initial appointment with the Learning Access Coordinator will be a face-to-face or phone interview in which accommodations that will reduce barriers to the educational environment will be identified and discussed.

    Depending on the nature of the student’s disability, students can expect to be asked the following questions during this meeting:

    • How does your disability impact your ability to learn?
    • How does your disability impact your ability to sit, see, hear, write, remember and understand information in the classroom? What about doing homework? Your ability to take exams?
    • Please describe any treatments, therapy or medication you are taking. Do you plan to continue this treatment? How does it impact you?
    • What environments create barriers/challenges for you? What barriers/challenges in the classroom or otherwise are you experiencing currently?
    • What solutions or accommodations have worked in the past?
    • What supports do you have in place (i.e., therapist, coach, mom & dad)?
    • What is your experience when reading?
    • Tell me about your experience taking notes in class. 
    • How do you organize your homework and manage your time? What activities, including work, are you balancing, or plan to balance?  
    • How comfortable are you explaining your accommodation requests to your college professors?
    • What supports at Lewis (i.e. tutoring, writing center, health & counseling services) have you accessed?
  4. Form: Accommodation Planning Form

  5. Create an Accommodation Memo. Based on the discussion and review of supportive documentation, the Learning Access coordinator will discuss the accommodations the student is eligible to receive at Lewis. Together, an Accommodation Memo is created with the student.

  6. Memos are delivered via email. The memo is sent to each student’s course instructor(s) at the beginning of each semester.

  7. Speak with instructors to implement accommodations. After the memo is sent, students are encouraged to approach their course instructors to discuss the details of their request and how they wish to implement the accommodations. Students are not required to disclose the nature of the disability to the instructor.

  8. Arrange or schedule accommodations and services. Exam accommodations and services can be arranged by faculty or the Learning Access Coordinator, as appropriate. Examples of such services are: alternative testing services, note-taking services, books or materials in alternative formats, communication services (such as interpreters or CART services).
Documentation Guidelines

Documentation may include educational or medical records, reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as an Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP) and teacher observations.

Helpful information in documentation includes:

  • A specific diagnosis and date of diagnosis.
  • Specific and current findings that support the diagnosis (relevant medical history, tests administered, date of the most current evaluation).
  • A description of substantial day-to-day functional limitations.
  • Specific recommendations for accommodation(s) including a detailed explanation of why the accommodation is needed. If the accommodation includes extra time on exams, specify the amount of time.  

A student’s narrative of his or her experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations will be considered as documentation during the structured interview with the Learning Access Coordinator.

Students in clinical or pre-professional programs may be advised to update their documentation with a qualified professional prior to the clinical component of their program or prior to taking a certification exam.

If the Learning Access Coordinator determines that additional information is necessary to facilitate accommodations, the student may be asked to have a licensed medical professional complete a disability verification form.

The Learning Access Coordinator follows guidelines put forth by the Association on Higher Education and Disability based on the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the updated regulations and guidance to Titles II and III of the ADA.


The Accommodation Memo

The Accommodation Memo is an outline of accommodations, services and supports that the student is requesting to receive after meeting with the Learning Access Coordinator. The memo is emailed to faculty and instructors during the first week of the semester. The memo does not describe the student’s disability. The memo describes the reasonable accommodations that the student is eligible to request.

If a student adds a class after the Accommodation Memo is emailed, the student has the responsibility to contact the Learning Access Coordinator to email the instructor of the new class.

In certain circumstances, an addendum or attachment will be sent along with the Accommodation Memo that may identify the student’s disability by nature of the request. Two examples are “Autism Spectrum considerations” or “Epilepsy/seizure action plan.”

Rights and Responsibilities

Every qualified student has the following rights:

  1. Equal access and opportunity to learn, benefit and participate from the academic community, including all university programs and activities.

  2. Appropriate confidentiality regarding information pertaining to disability. (Exception: Academic Services staff are mandatory reporters. Staff are required by law to share details with appropriate personnel if a student may be a harm to self or others). 

  3. Reasonable and effective accommodations, adjustments and services determined on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process.

Every student with a disability has the responsibility to:

  1. Meet the University’s qualifications; including technical, academic, behavioral and institutional standards.

  2. To self-disclose as an individual with a disability to the Learning Access Coordinator if accommodations are being requested.

  3. Partake in a formal interview process, providing documentation to support the request.

  4. Take an active role in communicating with faculty to discuss and implement accommodations that are appropriate for the specific course. 

  5. Notify the Learning Access Coordinator or an Academic Services staff member of any issues, concerns or delays receiving requested accommodations in a timely manner.

  6. Students are required to make requests to implement their accommodations in a timely manner. Although students can implement accommodations at any time, we suggest making requests for accommodations during registration or prior to the first day of class so that they are most effective. Lewis University is under no obligation to grant retroactive accommodations. Some services may take 10 or more business days to coordinate.

Lewis University Rights:

  1. Maintain academic standards, integrity and freedom. Implement standards for courses and programs as well as to evaluate students on this basis.

  2. Determine fundamental requirements of courses and programs.

  3. Deny an unreasonable request for an accommodation and/or service that fundamentally alters a program or activity at the university, creates an undue financial burden, or may be harmful to the safety of another.

  4. Deny requests for accommodation and/or other services if the documentation provided does not support such a need, is insufficient or inappropriate.

  5. Maintain and enforce conduct codes.

Lewis University Responsibilities:

  1. Work towards creating a campus environment congruent with the university’s mission, in which students have equal access to courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities of the university. 

  2. Provide or arrange reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and services for persons with disabilities in courses, services, and activities of the university.

  3. Student confidentiality.

  4. Provide and implement policies and procedures.