Disability Services

As a Rutgers School of Health Professions student, you are part of the Rutgers Biomedical & Health Sciences (RBHS) division. To request accommodations or learn more about RBHS Disability Services please visit the RBHS Disability Services website.

For more information on Disability Services you may reach out to Michael Canzano or Dr. Cindy Poore-Pariseau.

Rutgers School of Health Professions
Michael Canzano
Program Support Specialist
Office of Student Affairs
School of Health Professions (SHP)
65 Bergen Street, Suite 147, Newark, NJ 07101
Email: michael.canzano@shp.rutgers.edu
Office: (973) 972-8594
Fax: (973) 972-7463

RBHS Office of Disability Services
Cindy Poore-Pariseau, Ph.D.
Director, Disability Services
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
65 Bergen Street, Suite 1441, Newark, NJ 07107
Email: cp803@ca.rutgers.edu
Office: 973-972-5396
Fax: 973-972-7596

* Please refer to Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences’ page for policies listed above.

RBHS Office of Disability Services
Cindy Poore-Pariseau, Ph.D.
Director, Disability Services
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
65 Bergen Street, Suite 1441
Newark, NJ 07107
Email: cp803@ca.rutgers.edu
Office: 973-972-5396
Fax: 973-972-7596

Additional faculty resources can be found on the RBHS Disability Services website. The information provided below serves as a resource for SHP faculty and staff in order to engage in building a strong community where students with disabilities are fully integrated and have equal access. We hope this information enhances understanding of individual rights and responsibilities related to disabilities.

Please see the RBHS Disability Services Syllabus Statement on this webpage: Click here!

The Office of Student Affairs in collaboration with the Student Wellness program has created an online module to assist faculty and staff with identifying at-risk students. Please see the following link to our faculty website where you can access the presentation using Moodle. Please contact the Office of Student Affairs for access at osa@shp.rutgers.edu.

If the exam will be administered by the course faculty or department staff

Students must provide a copy of their current approved Letter of Accommodations to their course faculty at least five (5) days prior to the exam. Generally, at least five (5) days is needed to: make room reservations for a reduced distraction testing location, adjust scheduling for extra time for testing, and make other arrangements in order to protect the student’s confidentiality, ensure equal exam standards, and secure an appropriate testing space.

In addition to providing  the course faculty with the current Letter of Accommodations, a private meeting must be scheduled with the course faculty five (5) days prior to the exam to discuss the specifics of the accommodations and how the exam accommodations will be administered.

Things to remember:

  • You are not alone. The Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Disability Services is here to answer any questions, and assist professors as needed.
  • Respect the students confidentiality. It is recommended that the professor and the student speak in private when discussing the exam arrangements.
  • Read the Letter of Accommodations. All of the student’s approved accommodations are listed on the student’s Letter of Accommodations. If professors have questions about any of exam accommodations, contact the Director of Disability Services listed on the bottom of the Letter of Accommodations.
  • Adhering to equal standards. The student should take their exam under the same conditions (i.e multipart exams, use of a calculator) applied to other students in the class unless otherwise noted on the letter of accommodations.
  • Securing appropriate space. All testing arrangements should be in a quiet location away from distractions, such as: ringing phones, typing sounds, running copier machines, loud fans, and areas with high foot traffic. For these reasons, offices or hallways are not ideal testing locations.
  • Adhering to the accommodations listed on the Letter of Accommodations.  Keep in mind that in many cases the student will be approved for extended time, which may run beyond the time a class is scheduled in the room. Please make arrangements with the student that allow for the extended time and provide an adequate testing environment.

Overview: The primary responsibility of the Office Disability Services is determining reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities at Rutgers.  Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged not to make additional accommodations for students.  Approved accommodations are communicated to faculty in an official letter from the Office of Disability Services which is hand delivered or emailed to faculty by the student.

Criteria for Determining Reasonable Accommodations: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 criteria are used in determining accommodations.  Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. Accommodations are determined by the current impact of a disability on a students learning. The questions below must be answered “yes” for a student to receive an accommodation.

  • Has the student provided documentation that meets established criteria?
  • Does the student have a disability as defined above?
  • Is there evidence of current impact and support for each requested accommodation?
  • Is the student “otherwise qualified” for the course or program? That is, the student
    1. meets the academic prerequisites and essential functions
    2. can perform the essential functions/technical standards with or without accommodations
  • Is the requested accommodation reasonable? That is, the accommodation must not
    1. Substantially alter the intended nature or purpose of the academic program
    2. Cause a health and/or safety risk to the student or others
    3. Create a significant undue hardship on the School/University

In 1973, Congress enacted Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which guarantees the rights of all students to equal educational access and prohibits discrimination on the basis of physical or psychological disabilities.  It also provides that no individuals with a disability shall be denied benefits of, excluded from participation in, or subjected to discrimination in co-curricular activities because of the absence of auxiliary aids.  In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008, guaranteed equal access to employment, public services and transportation, in addition to educational access.

The School of Health Professions (SHP) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era.  SHP has an institutional commitment to provide opportunity for equal access in all programs and activities.  Persons who feel as if they have been discriminated against due to a disability-related issue can refer to Ombudsperson for grievance procedures or stop by the office for assistance.

Disability Services exists to assist students with disabilities in achieving their educational goals.  Our focus is on equal access to all programs and activities.  Services provided include:  assignment of appropriate reasonable accommodations, assistance with accommodation implementation, advocacy, and referral to community resources to name a few.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008, defines a disability as a person who:  has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment.

Eligibility for reasonable accommodations and other support services depends on the nature of the disability and its impact.  Accommodations and services will be identified based on documentation from a licensed qualified professional.  Adequate documentation should be recent and include: a description of the nature and extent of the disability; an explanation of the functional impact of the disability, especially as it relates to the academic environment; and recommendations for reasonable accommodations.

After a student submits documentation, the information is reviewed by the Director of Disability Services.  The student and the Director of Disability Services will then meet to discuss the types of accommodations and services that are recommended by the supporting documentation.  The Director of Disability Services will take into consideration past supports that have been helpful to the student.

A reasonable accommodation is always based on an individual’s documented need.  According to the law, a reasonable accommodation cannot require an “undue hardship” on the school/university.  In addition, the accommodation cannot require a fundamental alteration of any essential aspect of an academic program or activity.  Any service that is personal in nature like a tutor or personal aide is not considered a reasonable accommodation in most cases.  The following is a sample list of accommodations that a student may be eligible to receive:

  • Notetaker
  • The Ability to Tape Record Lectures
  • Alternative Text
  • Extended Test-Taking Time
  • Individual Testing Room
  • Sign-Language Interpreter

After students register with Office Disability Services and approved for academic accommodations, they are mail a copy of their accommodation form, which they need to share with each instructor.  We encourage students to share this form early in the quarter.  Some students may prefer to see their instructors during office hours.  In order to ensure equal access for all students, it is strongly recommended that instructors only accommodate those students who are registered for Disability Services with Office Disability Services.

Please contact the Disability Services Director at 973-972-5396 if you have any questions or concerns.  If a student has self-identified, provided appropriate documentation, and has an accommodation form, they are entitled under law to receive the specified accommodation(s).

In theory, students who have a learning disability and seek accommodations should register for Office Disability Services. and provide you with their accommodation form.  However, some students have never been formally diagnosed with a learning disability and others choose not to pursue services.  In general terms, a student with a learning disability may have difficulty acquiring, processing, and/or retrieving information.  A student with a learning disability may:

  • Have difficulty taking notes and listening to the lecture at the same time
  • Is easily distracted
  • May appear overly anxious during tests and quizzes
  • Seems to forget material previously learned
  • Is consistently the last student finished with tests or quizzes
  • Able to express ideas and concepts verbally rather than in writing

If you suspect that a student may benefit from services, you may be able to approach the student in a private setting and express concern about their performance.  It could be that the student is under-prepared and may be able to benefit from some assistance at Office Disability Services or other campus resources.  It is acceptable to mention that there are free services available on campus for students with disabilities and provide Office Disability Services contact information.  Please note that at the post-secondary level, students must self-identify prior to Disability Services being initiated.

Please refer the student to Office Disability Services so we can ensure that the student is qualified to receive services.  If we do not follow the proper procedures, we place ourselves at risk for legal action by giving services to students without documentation.  A good question to ask is, “would I provide this accommodation to any student who asked?” If the answer is yes, it is probably not much of an issue.  Again, our focus is on equal access.

Information can be found on http://askjan.org/.  These resources provide general information about different disabilities like physical disabilities, traumatic brain injury, mental health conditions, etc. and also provide information on common accommodations to employ in the classroom.

Usually test anxiety on its own does not constitute a documented disability that is protected by law.  We frequently have students ask for accommodations due to test anxiety and unless the student also has some underlying psychological condition where test anxiety is a manifestation of the condition, they do not qualify for services.  Text anxiety is a performance issue and although limiting in scope, it usually goes away when a student is not faced with a testing situation.  A disability is almost always a permanent condition.  To assist SHP students with overcoming this barrier we offer an annual academic support workshop on Test Anxiety and Procrastination.  For workshop schedules (link /workshops/) please visit our website.

Accommodations are a shared responsibility between the student, faculty, and the Office Disability Services staff.  The student is responsible for self-identifying and requesting that accommodations be put in place.  The student is also responsible for following the policies and procedures of SHP and ODS.  Instructors are responsible for ensuring special seating arrangements, ordering textbooks in a timely manner to ensure a reasonable amount of time to arrange for alternative text if needed by a student, providing copies of tests to the Disability Services staff when test proctoring is requested by a student, etc.  On occasion, we may need instructor assistance with finding a notetaker in the class. The Disability Services staff is responsible for reviewing documentation to ensure appropriate accommodations are identified, creating accommodation forms for the student, arranging for contract services like a sign-language interpreter, and test proctoring.  (These are common examples of the types of responsibilities and are not limited to just these items).

Office Disability Services will work with the student to find notetakers for individual classes.  The student may ask for your assistance in making an announcement to the class to help in soliciting a notetaker.  Once a volunteer is identified, please send them to Office of Student Affairs in suite 147 in the Stanley Bergen Building or provide our contact number 973-972-8594 and we will take it from there.  Please Note:  Please remember not to identify the student with a disability by name when seeking volunteers.

It is the student’s responsibility to approach you with an accommodation letter which specifies that they have been approved for a testing accommodation.  We ask that instructors discuss with students how the testing accommodation can be provided in their particular course.  Generally, students are asked to arrive early for their test, stay later until their testing time is complete, or an testing appointment is set during a time that is appropriate for both the instructor and student.

The use of extended time is the most frequently used accommodation at SHP.  Extended time for testing situations are normally granted to allow the student with a disability to have additional time to read and understand the questions.  Students with learning disabilities may have difficulty with processing information.  Students with ADHD or mental health issues may have difficulty concentrating.  Some students need the test questions read to them which takes additional time.  Students are given either time and a half or double time (based on time given to rest of class) to complete their tests.  We do not allow unlimited time for completion of tests.

If a student’s accommodation form indicates they receive extended time with (pop) quizzes, the instructor needs to make arrangements for the student to receive this accommodation, if requested by the student.  We suggest that the quiz be given towards the end of class which will enable the student to take the quiz in class, as long as the instructor is willing to allow the student to finish in the amount of time afforded to the student.

Some students are provided with the accommodation that allows for them to record lectures.  We advise the student to speak with the instructor prior to the first recording session so the instructor is aware of this situation.  We also educate the student as to the proper use of recorded material.  If the instructor prefers, there is an agreement available that can be signed by both the student and the instructor regarding the use of this material.  Contact OSA for more information.

This is often difficult to determine.  Many of our students are returning to school and have not had the level of preparation that is necessary to perform at the post-secondary level.  These students can benefit from intrusive advising and referrals to campus resources to bring them up to speed.  It is often assumed that if someone is not performing well in class, then they must have a learning disability.  Students with learning disabilities are typically students who have average to above average intelligence and demonstrate strengths and weaknesses in certain areas.  We provide these students with accommodations to assist them in performing at a higher level.

The student with a disability is entitled to confidentiality under the law.  This means that if a student with a disability happens to be in your class, you cannot mention that student by name (i.e. “Tom, here’s your test so you can go take it in the Disability Services” or “We need a notetaker for Katie, so I need someone to volunteer”).   Also, you should not discuss the student by name with anyone else, including other faculty.  It is always the student’s decision to self-disclose.  Office Disability Services is not able to verify that we are working with a particular student nor are we able to identify the nature of the disability.  We will however, contact the student and explain that you (as their instructor) have expressed some concern and suggest that they have a discussion with you.

If you feel the emergency is life-threatening to the student with a disability or another student, please contact 911 and then contact campus security.  If you feel the situation can be handled appropriately by our security department, you can contact them for assistance.  Please contact the Director of Disability Services to report any emergency situation that involves a student with a disability.

You are not required to disclose your disability to the university. However, if you register with the Office of Disability Services you must provide documentation of your disability to be considered for accommodations. Your disability status will only be shared with relevant disability services staff on a need-to-know basis. After you have been approved for accommodations at Rutgers, you will not receive any retroactive accommodations on the work completed before you were approved for accommodations.

If you feel that you have been discriminated by your professor or by a member of the Rutgers University Staff, contact your coordinator to discuss the matter.

Services for students approved by the appropriate review committee may include, but are not limited to, the following:  Extra Time for Exams, Recorders, Note Takers, and Text in Alternate Format, etc.

Students are encouraged to talk with a coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs to determine what accommodations may be most appropriate and effective. Please note that services and accommodations are only offered to students who are approved for them through the documentation process.

Many programs need to schedule internships and fieldwork many months in advance. It is important to know how long this scheduling takes for your specific program, so you can arrange accommodations before you are placed with a site. The documentation review process may also take up to 30 business days. Thus, you are encouraged to initiate the process as early as possible.

High schools often offer services and accommodations meant to help ensure a student’s success. At college, the governing laws dictate that a university simply not discriminate against students with disabilities and provide access to curriculum. As a result, the services that a college provides may be vastly different from those to which you were accustomed in high school.

Similarly, you may find that services at Rutgers are different than those you might have received at another post-secondary institution. This is not unusual; colleges may have differing philosophies on accommodations or some schools may be able to offer access to more extensive services.

If you have been denied an accommodation that you received at a previous school, some of the reasons for this may include the following:

  • The documentation does not meet the university’s guidelines for such accommodations
  • The requested accommodation is in conflict with the academic policies of the student’s college or professional school
  • Providing the accommodations would fundamentally alter the program, course, or activity
  • The accommodation being requested is not supported by the documentation
  • Providing the accommodation would pose a direct threat to the student or to others
  • Providing the accommodation would constitute an undue administrative or financial burden pursuant to the criteria established under the ADA and/or Section 504
  • The accommodation is in opposition to the educational philosophy of the university

There are no deadlines for when a student can begin the documentation process to apply for accommodations. Some students don’t even get identified with a learning disability or other disabling conditions until their final year. However, accommodations will not be provided retroactively, and grades will not be changed after a student is approved for accommodations. Students who have used accommodations at their previous institution, and who choose not to apply for accommodations when they arrive at Rutgers, should know that there is no opportunity to retake exams or courses if they are unsatisfied with their grades. Even if a student can establish that he or she had a disability at the time of the course in question, or used accommodations at a previous school, Rutgers will generally not expunge or re-examine coursework completed before the student was reviewed and approved for accommodations at Rutgers University.

If you have been approved for accommodations, you will have to abide by certain timelines depending upon the kind of accommodation you need (e.g., exam requests, sign language interpreter, alternate formats).

Some accommodations may not be appropriate for all classes. For example, if you have been approved to use a blank sheet of paper as a placeholder on multiple choice exams, and the instructor gives only essay exams, then the accommodation is irrelevant.

If you choose, however, not to use an accommodation in a given class, then you will not be given the opportunity to retake an exam or to make-up an assignment with accommodations at a later date.

No. You should not request academic accommodations from faculty unless you have been approved by the appropriate documentation review committee, and have received a Letter of Accommodations (LOA) from your Coordinator.

You do. If you are approved, you are responsible for promptly picking up your Letter of Accommodation from your Coordinator, meeting with each of your instructors, and providing each of them with a copy of the letter. You and your professor should then discuss how the listed accommodations will be implemented.

Contact your Coordinator as soon as possible to resolve the matter.