Our mission is to serve students with disabilities. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and University policy, students must submit appropriate documentation to the Disability Resources (DR) office in a timely manner before they qualify for accommodations. All documentation is treated in a confidential manner and kept in a secure DR filing cabinet. Documentation, prepared by a qualified evaluator, must at minimum substantiate the student’s disabling condition and verify the student’s current need for accommodations in order to have equal access to the learning environment or activities.
What accommodations are provided? Documentation and requests for reasonable accommodations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine adherence to the University’s disability documentation guidelines. Therefore, you should feel free to request any accommodations you feel are necessary to provide you with equal access to learning activities or environments here at WU. The most commonly-requested accommodations in college settings often fall into one of three categories. Here are some examples:
- Learning accommodations (e.g., notetakers, reduced courseloads )
- Testing accommodations (e.g., extended time, use of a computer for essay exams, reduced distraction test location)
- Access accommodations (e.g., physically accessible classroom, physically accessible residence hall room)
We regularly work with students and/or their families to answer questions and provide guidance as students submit the appropriate documentation. Unlike high school, however, the college environment follows legal guidelines that require the student to disclose his or her disability status and request accommodations. We welcome calls from and contact with parents but can only respond directly to students after they have advocated for themselves. DR staff members are sensitive to the fact that self-advocacy may be a new role for many students, particularly during the transition to college.
Please open the appropriate link below to access the University’s documentation guidelines for specific types of disabilities.
Step 1. Submit documentation of your disability.
In order to receive accommodations, you must submit documentation of your disability to the Disability Resources (DR) office, along with the Intake Form. Incoming students should submit documentation at least a month prior to their enrollment to ensure that they receive accommodations in a timely manner. Documentation can be submitted once a student has decided to attend WU, although for fall enrollment, documentation will not be reviewed before June.
View Documentation Guidelines
To make timely accommodations for students with physical disabilities, documentation should be submitted at least two months prior to the beginning of the semester of enrollment. Some diagnoses require annual updates from the diagnostician. Criteria for documentation of each major type of disability are available on our website. You may also obtain the criteria via mail, fax or by visiting the DR office.
Go to the Disability Resources Intake and Documentation Review Request Form
Once your documentation is received, the DR staff will assess it for completeness and eligibility. We will follow up with you via email or phone to inform you of the results of your documentation review. In general, this process takes about two weeks from the time a student’s documentation is complete. If your documentation is incomplete, we will explain why and which specific points of the criteria need to be addressed with additional documentation. You will always be welcome to submit additional documentation but it is your responsibility to do so. Accommodations and services cannot be provided before your documentation has been approved.
Documentation of a student's disability is maintained in a private, locked filing cabinet in DR. This documentation is not part of the student’s academic record. All information related to a disability is treated as confidential and may be disclosed only with the student's written consent or to those with a genuine "need to know," consistent with the University's policy and federal laws.
To receive prompt accommodations and services, your documentation must be approved 2 weeks before the beginning of your first semester of enrollment. Documentation may be submitted in any of the following ways:
- Via our secure form; see link above.
- Fax: (314) 935-7559
- Mail: Campus Box 1135; One Brookings Drive; St. Louis, Missouri 63130
You may also hand deliver your documentation to Cornerstone if you are visiting Washington University.
As noted, we will contact you via email or phone after reviewing your disability documentation. This process generally takes about two weeks once we have received your documentation and the DR Intake Form. If the review process takes place during the summer, our discussion may need to occur by phone unless you are in the Saint Louis area. Whenever it is possible to meet with you in person to discuss the results, we welcome the chance to do so and will help you schedule an appointment.
The DR staff member who contacts you will explain the results of your documentation review and clarify your next steps. In many cases, this entails following Steps 3 and 4 (below) to register for specific accommodations. In some cases, it may entail submitting additional documentation if you wish to do so. In either case, our goal is to provide you information and resources that can be of assistance to you. We are part of Cornerstone: The Center for Advanced Learning. Cornerstone provides a wide range of outstanding academic services for all WU undergraduates. We want to make sure all students who contact the DR office are aware of these and other resources at WU.