Top ten things Academic Advisers should know about ODS
Our legal mandate is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which requires that reasonable accommodation be provided for students with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is patterned after Section 504 and prohibits discrimination in employment, transportation, public accommodations, state and local governments, and telecommunications.
Under Section 504 and the ADA, a disability is defined as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
ODS works with students with four major disability categories: mobility, visual and hearing impairments; and students with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities/ADD, chronic medical conditions, psychiatric disabilities, and substance abuse/recovery.
A disability is the physical or mental impairment itself; a handicap is the combination of attitudinal, architectural or programmatic barriers that limit access for a person with a disability.
Students with both long-term/permanent and temporary disabilities may register for services with ODS. Registration for support services is strictly voluntary and students register with ODS on a confidential basis.
The single largest disability category at Barnard is invisible or non-apparent disability. In academic year 2008-09, there were 167 registered students with disabilities and over 90% were in the invisible disability category.
Make sure that students with disabilities (especially LD) are clear about Barnard’s academic requirements (e.g. foreign language, lab science, quantitative reasoning, physical education) and possible modifications, not exemptions.
Although most of our LD and ADD students have previous diagnoses, a small percentage of our students with learning disabilities are diagnosed while at Barnard. Students with previously undiagnosed learning disabilities/ADD may come to ODS for an initial screening interview with LD Coordinator Dr. Olga Hrycak and may then be referred for off-campus diagnostic testing. Please see ODS Referrals List for LD/ADD Testing.
ODS directs an Accommodative Aide Program in which volunteer and paid students serve in a variety of capacities: mobility and personal aides, proofreaders, tutors, readers, etc.
ODS offers a variety of disability-related programming throughout the year: co-sponsorship of Project OWL: Options in Writing and Learning, developed by ODS and the Writing Center; co-sponsorship with SGA of Barnard fall/winter/spring blood drives; participation in the Barnard Wellness Committee with Well-Woman, Primary Care Health Service, Physical Education and Human Resources; co-sponsorship of Celebrate Food for Life in September; Healthy Heart Days in February; SPF (Summer Pleasures Factors) in April; the BAID Network (Barnard Alumnae Involved with Disabilities); the 504/ADA Access Committee; the ODS E-mentors Program; student panels/workshops…and more.