Student Accessibility & Advocacy office – Albright College

Student Accessibility & Advocacy office

Albright College ensures that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to participate in its programs and activities, in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and encourages qualified students to request impairment-related accommodations for which they qualify. Impairment-related academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and services are offered through the Student Accessibility & Advocacy office, which handles all requests for academic accommodations and makes referrals to other college units as needed.

The Director of Student Accessibility & Advocacy, Sherry Young, is committed to providing individual assessment of student needs and promotes self-advocacy and intentional learning among students with disabilities. The department endeavors to foster independent learning by students with disabilities through a strengths-based approach and by providing faculty with consultation and resources. Impairment-related accommodations are provided to students with disabilities, while maintaining the academic standards of the college. Students, including prospective students, are encouraged to use their strengths and develop a growth mindset to nourish their commitment to lifetime learning.


Requesting Accommodations

Student Health Portal

Accommodation requests should be made via the Accommodations section of the Student Health Portal.

This presentation provides tips and information on services for students who learn differently at Albright.

Students can learn more about the ADAAA and regulations for students with disabilities in higher education via the Transition Guide from the Department of Education.

Differences between High School and College Accommodations for Students with Disabilities


Office Location and Contact Information

The Student Accessibility & Advocacy office is located in the Student Center Conference Room, down the hall from the Dining Hall. The office can be reached by phone at 610-921-7503 or by email at SAA@albright.edu.


Director’s Contact Information

Sherry Young, M.A.
Director of Student Accessibility & Advocacy
Albright College
syoung@albright.edu
610-921-7503

We understand that self-disclosure of a disability, symptoms, or condition is confidential and a deeply personal matter. Students who wish to have a confidential conversation about their previous history of using accommodations, their eligibility for services, or any referrals for a disability related evaluation are encouraged to request an appointment at their earliest convenience. We recommend that students self disclose to the Student Accessibility & Advocacy Office (SSA) as early as possible so that we can work together on a proactive approach to their learning and academic experience. In order to speak to parents about a student’s request for  accommodations, students will need to sign a release form with SAA and discuss their communication preferences with the Director. Students should directly inform their parents about their choice to use services for students with disabilities.

All disability records are kept separate from a student’s educational record and utilization of accommodations will not be cited on transcripts, applications, or other permanent records. Further, the SAA has a responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of a student’s clinical documentation. Without a student’s informed consent, no records will be released to a third party. Should a student submit a written request for release of documentation, the SAA will process this request within 5-7 business days for current students and 7-10 business days for former students.

Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Albright provides impairment-related accommodations to ensure equal access to the College’s programs and activities. To receive accommodations, students must self-identify and provide documentation of their symptoms or conditions, which meet the documentation standards below. Overall, the documentation should “identify how a student’s ability to function is limited as a result of her or his disability.” Detailed documentation will enable the Director of Student Accessibility and Advocacy (SAA) to identify appropriate and impairment-related accommodations. A diagnosis alone does not provide enough information regarding the student’s functional impairments to make an accommodation decision.

Please note that the institutions of higher education must make informed decisions about accommodations. These decisions may not always agree with recommendations from outside professionals or with prior Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) or 504 Plans. IEPs and 504 Plans are documents created for the secondary school environment. These documents provide information regarding the student’s history; however, while often valuable, they do not always contain all the information needed to make an accommodation decision in the college setting. The director will review IEPs and 504 Plans and request additional information if necessary.

Documentation should be provided by a qualified professional who has an ongoing relationship with the student. While a letter from providers may provide sufficient information, often a letter without additional supporting documentation is not sufficient to make an informed decision regarding an accommodation request. Additional information or a signed Release of Information form may be requested when the initial documentation submitted is not sufficient to make an informed decision.

All submitted documents may be verified for authenticity.

For further information on accommodations and post-secondary education, please see the transition guide from the U.S. Department of Education.

Verification Forms are provided as a tool to assist you in obtaining appropriate documentation for your accommodation. These forms will ask your provider precise questions and enable them to provide clear, objective information.  This will greatly assist the Director of SAA in assessing your request.  Verification forms should be supported by testing or other diagnostics from your provider. Documentation from providers often does not clearly define the accommodations they feel are necessary to address any functional limitations that you may have in the classroom setting. Verification forms were developed to support you in the process of meeting Albright’s documentation standards. Whether you choose to use the verification form or not, you are responsible for making sure that Albright receives all of the documentation required in those standards. Please click on the links below for your relevant accommodation request. If you need assistance in determining which form(s) would be most appropriate for you, please contact our office for assistance.

Autism Spectrum (ASD)
Attention Impairments
Hearing Impairments
Learning Disorders
Mobility Impairments
Neurological Impairments
Physical Health Impairments
Psychiatric Impairments
Vision Impairments

Housing Verification Forms
Understanding the Process for Requesting Reasonable Housing Accommodations
Housing Accommodations Supplemental Verification Form

Accommodated testing continues to occur in the Accommodated Testing Center. To schedule an exam, please complete the Accommodated Test Administration Form.

This PowerPoint can guide you through completing the form. However, you can also stop by the office for assistance. The office secretary and student workers can assist you with the form. If you need Ms. Young’s help, she is available during office hours for drop-in questions or by appointment.

Information for Faculty:

When possible, please complete your portion of the form and return it to students one week before the exam.

SAA requests that you provide our office with the exam 24 hours before the exam, either via email or hand delivery to the Accommodated Testing Center (Teel 301). Exams may also be hand-delivered by students; these must be in a sealed envelope with the professor’s signature across the seal. Please remember to extend start/stop times for any online exams.

Questions regarding testing accommodations can be directed to the SAA office at 610-921-7503

Albright College has a language requirement; the following information from the Department of World Languages and Cultures explains its purpose.

“A liberal arts education is not complete without a familiarity with another language that serves as a gateway to another culture and history and provides a greater knowledge of the world in which we live. Undergraduate students should be introduced not only to practical experience in a second language but also to an understanding of another culture through the study of that culture’s language.

The language requirement is part of the College’s general education goal that you know the world more fully. Learning another language courses provide a foundation for more intensive exploration of international issues and other peoples and an understanding of the nature of responsible, engaged global citizenship. You gain the linguistic and intellectual benefits of learning a second language and begin to prepare for living as a citizen of an increasingly interdependent world.”

Students who have further questions about the requirement and placement testing can find the language requirement on the World Language and Cultures webpage.

Students who are interested in going through the process to request a language accommodation should read the policy statement and contact our office at SAA@albright.edu or 610–921-7503.

Please note that this accommodation decision is not made solely by the Student Accessibility & Advocacy office and the decision process will take more time than the standard accommodation process.

Students with disabilities who have not previously taken a language or who are concerned about completing a language should speak with the Director of Student Accessibility & Advocacy before scheduling language classes.

What services do you offer to students with disabilities?
Students with disabilities can receive reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services, per the ADAAA. Accommodations are created for each individual student based on their documentation and are provided on a case-by-case basis. The best way to determine what a student’s accommodations will be is to provide the SAA office with documentation that meets the documentation standards.

The most common accommodation is extended time for exams.  However, this accommodation is not ideal for all students and recent research suggests that this accommodation may not be the “fix all” for all students with disabilities. Other accommodations include FM systems, access to ADA bathrooms for residential students, permission to record lectures, and access to text-to-speech software.

Albright does not provide personal attendants, devices, or services.  “Institutions are not required to provide personal devices and services such as attendants, individually prescribed devices, such as eyeglasses, readers for personal use or study, or other services of a personal nature, such as tutoring.” Copied from number 6 of the Department of Education’s Transition Guide

Do you offer a program for students with disabilities?   Who works with students with disabilities?
Albright does not currently offer a program for students with disabilities. The Director advocates for students with disabilities and ensures the provision of reasonable accommodations. She is a full-time staff member with a Master’s degree in Psychology. She has experience with the assessment and management of disabilities (psychoeducational and DSM assessment) and has been working with students and other persons with disabilities since 1994.

Who counsels students with learning disabilities during registration, orientation, and course selection?
Students are encouraged to share their accommodations with their advisor so that their needs can be carefully considered when selecting courses.  Students can meet with the SAA office to discuss course selection after schedules have been created.

Whom can parents contact if they have concerns during the academic year?
Parents are encouraged to assist their sons and daughters to develop self-advocacy skills. Students who are building self-advocacy skills can ask their parents to participate in some conversations with our office. However, the student must always be involved in the conversation. This ensures that the student is an active participant in the process.

Is tutoring an available accommodation? What kind of tutoring is available?
Tutoring is not an ADAAA accommodation; however, Albright offers tutoring through the Academic Learning Center and the Writing Center for all students! Students should contact the Academic Learning Center or the Writing Center directly for more information. The staff members of the ALC and the WC are kind, helpful, and dedicated to student success. Please see their websites for further information.

The transition to college can be rewarding and challenging for you and your student. With regards to the challenges, it is important to keep in mind that in a few years, your student will earn a college degree. It is important to help high school students grow into mature, successful college graduates. This process is not easy, and your student will frequently ask you for help, guidance, and support. Fortunately, Albright offers an array of academic and support services for students, through a variety of campus departments.

Students with disabilities are often reluctant to request support or accommodations. Many students tell me that they don’t want to be “labeled”  like they were in high school. Others want to try things on their own at first. If your student is reluctant to apply, please ask them to reach out to our office before making a decision about accommodations in college. Students often feel relieved when they learn that receiving accommodations in college is different from their IEPs and 504s.  For example, students with disabilities are not required to take special courses or go to a resource room. Students choose which professors receive their Academic Accommodation Letter (AAL), and their diagnosis is not disclosed in this letter. The professor is only told what accommodation the student is approved for.

Students with disabilities, like all students, face an increase in their freedoms and responsibilities. The staff at the Student Accessibility and Advocacy office are happy to meet with incoming or enrolled students, answer questions, and provide guidance. We will partner with your student and teach them how to self-advocate and navigate academic accommodations in college. We realize that some incoming students will need help from their parents to collect documentation for their accommodations application; however, your student needs to be our primary contact. Incoming students need to learn how to communicate the barriers related to their disability, and they must learn to be responsible for utilizing the support, guidance, and resources that Albright offers. The process starts with your student self-identifying and sharing appropriate and confidential documentation with the Student Accessibility & Advocacy Office. It can be tempting for parents to complete the application for the student. You can help your student by providing documentation for them to upload and by encouraging them through the process; however, we have found that if a student doesn’t own the process, they won’t use approved accommodations. Because of this, please resist any urge to complete the application for your student. We need to know that the student is requesting accommodations, and we want them to share their experiences. It is more helpful for them to answer the questions in their own words, even if there are grammatical errors and partial sentences. They know themselves, and their perspective is valuable.

If you are interested in learning more about students with disabilities and their transition from high school to college, please read the transition guide from the Department of Education.

Please encourage your student to make an appointment to meet with us.

Institutions of higher education have the obligation to make informed decisions about accommodations. These decisions may not always agree with recommendations from outside professionals or with prior Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) and 504 Plans.

Students who do not agree with the accommodation decisions of the Student Accessibility & Advocacy office should follow the process outlined below.

A student who disagrees with the appropriateness of a decision regarding accommodations should speak with the Director of SAA to resolve the issue. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the student should appeal academic accommodation requests to the Enrollment Management Committee (EMC), via a letter to the Assistant Provost. The student should appeal Student and Campus Life accommodations via letter to the Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life. If the accommodation decision under appeal was one that originated with the EMC, for example denial of a foreign language substitution, then the next appeal should instead be directed to the Assistant Provost. If a satisfactory resolution is still not reached, the student should then request an appointment with the College’s Affirmative Action Officer, who is the Director of Human Resources, for a final determination. All letters of appeal must be written and submitted by the student.

All letters of appeal must be written and submitted by the student. Emails will not be accepted, but documents may be delivered via email attachment.

Working with/Teaching Students with Disabilities
Suggestions for Faculty and Staff

General techniques that can be helpful for many students with disabilities:

  • Ensure that films and videos have captions
    • The student workers in the Student Accessibility & Advocacy office can assist you
  • Turn in book orders EARLY so students who need them in an accessible format have the time to acquire them or request them. Per Required Reading policy, all book orders for a given semester must be submitted by Week 9 of the immediately preceding semester.
    • If the publisher does not have the textbook in an audio accessible version, the SAA office will create an accessible version of the book by scanning and converting each page. This process requires about 2-4 weeks.
  • Use a sans serif font such as Arial or Veranda. They are easier for many individuals with disabilities to read
    • This si wdat a leaming bi sadleb qerson frepuehtly hasto conteub with when attemqting ot nead a dook.
      • This is what a learning disabled person frequently has to contend with when attempting to read a book.
  • Summarize others/students’ statements in a discussion and allow more time for students to respond to questions or to initiate discussion.
    • Helpful for students with hearing impairments, Autism Spectrum Disorder, students with slow processing speed, and other impairments.
  • Face the class/audience when speaking, as much as possible, especially for those students with hearing impairments
    • Helpful for students with ASD, students with slow processing speed, students with anxiety disorders, and other impairments
  • Post outlines of course lectures, PowerPoint slides, or other notes on Canvas. Please be sure these documents are fully accessible via screen reader.
  • Ensure that assignments have enough lead time and provide students with clear deadlines
  • During testing, be aware of the noise in the room and encourage all students to be quiet (no tapping pens, whispering, foot tapping etc)
  • Make sure your syllabus contains the following statement on it: Albright College welcomes students with disabilities into the College’s educational programs. If you have a disability related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, please contact the office of Student Accessibility and Advocacy (SAA) by email at SAA@albright.edu, by phone at 610-921-7503, or in the office, located in the Student Center Conference Room. For further information regarding services for students with disabilities, please visit the SAA website. Students who use accommodations should meet with course instructors privately and in a timely manner to discuss their Academic Accommodation Letters (AALs).  Please note that previous IEPs and 504 plans do not apply to college level courses.

Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment

  • This video has some useful information for all members of the college community.

For further information about creating an inclusive climate for individuals with disabilities please contact the Student Accessibility & Advocacy office at SAA@albright.edu or 610-921-7503. You can also visit the office in the Student Center Conference Room, located down the hall from the Dining Hall.