Des Moines University (DMU) is committed to an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Consistent with the DMU's broader non-discrimination policy, DMU does not discriminate based on disability and prohibits discrimination based on disability in admission and in access to programs and activities. DMU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities as recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). An individualized assessment is made of requests for accommodation.

This policy applies to all students and accepted candidates planning to matriculate in educational programs at DMU.  For information relating to Service Animals, please see the Service Animals on Campus policy.

Background

A person with a disability is someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, learning, walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, and working; has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Although students with temporary illness or injury may not be disabled, DMU will exercise reasonable efforts to accommodate their needs during the period of temporary illness or injury.

Substantial information is necessary to allow University officials to understand the nature, extent, and limitations of an impairment, which affects a student's participation in educational programming and to develop reasonable accommodations for such a disability. If through an interactive process in which DMU and the student both participate, the student fails to provide sufficient information demonstrating a disability, no accommodation will be provided. The mere assertion of a disability by a student is insufficient to establish the existence of a disability. Similarly, a prior accommodation does not demonstrate a current need for a reasonable accommodation. Current evidence of limitation(s) caused by a physical or mental impairment must be established before reasonable accommodation can be determined.

All requests for accommodation are evaluated through an individualized assessment and decisions are made pursuant to an interactive process between the student and appropriate DMU personnel. This interactive process includes the review of clinical documentation, an assessment of the student's abilities, consideration of possible reasonable accommodations, and a determination of approved accommodations.

The University will not grant a requested accommodation when documentation requirements have not been met and/or the University considers the request to be unreasonable. The University will not fundamentally alter its programs to accommodate a student. However, alternative accommodations may be offered by the University when it has denied a specific accommodation request. Accommodations are not provided retroactively. Therefore, students will not be allowed to re-do assignments or re-take exams with accommodations taken prior to requesting and receiving accommodations.

Procedure for Requesting Accommodations

DMU students are expected to be actively responsible for all aspects of their enrollment. As such, it is an expectation that students will initiate the interactive process by contacting the CEE, comply with deadlines and agreements, supply all necessary documentation, and follow the procedures outlined below.

  1. A student's receipt of accommodations in a previous setting does not mean that the same accommodations will be granted or are reasonable for the student's current situation at DMU.
  2. Because health professions training may include a variety of settings (classroom to clinical), accommodations granted on admission may not be reasonable for all settings to avoid compromising or fundamentally altering the essential components of a course or program.
  3. Students may be asked to provide updated information as needed to properly determine reasonable accommodations.
  4. Failure to provide necessary documentation in a timely manner may result in delays in approval of accommodations

Contact the Center for Educational Enhancement

DMU students requesting accommodations should contact the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist in the CEE in person, by phone (515-271-4452) or by e-mailing: accommodations@dmu.edu.  To allow for adequate processing time, requests for accommodations should be submitted at least three weeks before the start date for the academic year or term or immediately following an injury, illness, or onset of a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.  Although requests will be accepted after that timeframe, the interactive process may not be completed in advance of the academic year or term start date. Newly enrolled students who indicate on their Technical Standards form that they will need accommodations to meet their program's technical standards will be contacted by the CEE before the start of the semester to initiate the interactive process.

Students are to make all requests for accommodations to the CEE. Accommodations are not determined by a faculty member. Therefore, notification by the student of impairment to a faculty member and not to CEE may delay the interactive process and accommodations determinations.

Complete an Accommodations Request Form

To initiate a new request for an accommodation, the student should complete a Student Request for Accommodations form. This form will need to be completed in entirety to submit, and this application will start the interactive process. Students applying for temporary medical accommodations should complete the Student Request for Temporary Medical Accommodations form. Students who already receive accommodations in their educational programming, but seek additional accommodations, should complete the Student Additional Accommodation Request form.

Following the end of each school year, student accommodation files will be placed in an inactive status. Therefore, each school year students will need to complete a Student Request for Renewal for Accommodations form, if they still need accommodations in educational programming. The Student Request for Renewal for Accommodations form must be completed in entirety and submitted to begin the interactive process for the new year.

All forms are available online or in hard copy from CEE.

Provide Clinical Documentation

As part of the interactive process, the student must submit current clinical documentation that demonstrates a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity of the student. With the student's written permission, the CEE may consult with the student's health care provider (as defined in the ADA - 29 CFR 825.125) for additional information.

Collection, review, and discussion of submitted documentation and student needs between the student and the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist are critical elements of the interactive process.

Documentation from health care providers for all conditions or diagnoses related to the need for accommodations will be required; please see the guidelines below for more information regarding the content of clinical documentation. In all cases, DMU reserves the right to request additional information.

  1. Temporary Medical Impairments: Students requesting accommodation for a temporary medical condition should submit the Clinical Checklist for Temporary Medical Accommodations form. The form should be completed by a representative of their health care provider (e.g. a nurse) and be accompanied by a statement that clearly describes the impairment and treatment which is signed and dated by the health care provider on their official letterhead. The health care provider's name, specialty, address, and phone number must be included. Most health care provider office visit notes do not typically include sufficient information for the interactive process.
  2. Physical Impairments: Informative documentation for physical impairments includes a report from a health care professional describing the nature of the impairment, the expected duration of the impairment, and how the impairment limits the student's major life activities. In all cases, DMU reserves the right to request additional information.
  3. Learning or Attentional Disabilities: Informative clinical documentation for learning disabilities (LD) and attentional disabilities (e.g., attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) includes a comprehensive diagnostic interview/consultation and neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation plan, which typically should have been completed no more than three years prior to admission to DMU.
  4.  Psychological Impairments: Informative documentation for mental impairments includes a report from a health care professional describing the nature of the impairment, the expected duration of the impairment, and how the impairment limits the student's major life activities.
    • Physical Impairment Guidelines
    • Learning Disability Guidelines
    • Attentional Disability Guidelines
    • Psychological Impairments Guidelines

Provisional Accommodations for Students with a Previous History of Accommodations with Documentation

In the event that updated evaluation of a previous accommodation and associated documentation is necessary, a student may be provided provisional accommodations based on the historical documentation provided. Students receiving provisional accommodations must acknowledge that these accommodations will be revised as necessary and the student bears the responsibility to provide information supporting the provisional accommodation in a timely manner. Provisional accommodations will be limited to a period not to exceed one semester, pending the review of the new information. Provisional accommodations may be re-affirmed, ended, or modified, as appropriate for the DMU curriculum.

Implementation of Accommodations in Courses and Student’s Responsibilities

The CEE will communicate in writing to the student the approved accommodation(s) determined through the interactive process, and provide the student with a course director letter. The course director letter will identify the reasonable accommodation(s) to be provided. The student will be responsible for providing the course director letter to appropriate course instructors, administrative assistants, coordinators, and deans. The student has the responsibility to anticipate the need for such letters in his/her various courses/clerkships and to plan with CEE the sequence of the communications which will be needed for the courses planned for the year. If any problem arises in the receipt of such communication by the course coordinators, the student must promptly notify CEE to assure that proper notification occurs.

At times, students may decide they do not want to use their accommodations for specific academic activities. For example, a student may choose not to utilize extended time for an exam in preparation for a Board exam if a student either did not apply for accommodations or was not granted accommodations for the National Board exams. Students must waive their accommodation(s) by submitting a completed Change of Accommodations form (available in CEE) no later than one business day prior to the event for which the student desires to waive his or her accommodations. Without this waiver, it is assumed students will use their accommodations.

Yearly Review of Accommodations

In the interest of ensuring accommodations are appropriate and effective, there will be a yearly review and renewal process for accommodations. Therefore, each year students will need to complete a Student Request for Renewal of Accommodations form if they have a continued need for disability-related accommodations in educational programming. The Student Request for Renewal of Accommodations form must be completed in entirety and submitted to begin the interactive process for the new year. The student must meet with the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist each year to discuss possible adjustments of accommodations based on disability-related needs, renewal requests, program changes, and documentation. Certain impairments may require additional documentation. Students may discuss a modification to their already-granted accommodations at any time with the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist.

Inactive Requests for Accommodation

The interactive process cannot be appropriately conducted without the submission of relevant information. If all information requested by CEE is not submitted within thirty (30) calendar days of the initial request for accommodation, the request will be considered inactive. Inactive requests may be reopened by contacting the CEE and with the submission of additional relevant information.

Reconsideration Requests

A  student may request reconsideration for accommodations following a decision by CEE. To request a reconsideration, the student must submit a Reconsideration of Accommodations Decision Request form to CEE asking for further consideration and detailing the reasons the student believes the prior decision by CEE was not reasonable. The student may submit additional information to support the reconsideration request.

  1. The student must submit a Reconsideration of Accommodations Decision Request form to CEE within thirty (30) calendar days of the denial decision. The form is available online or in hard copy from CEE.
  2. In most cases, the reconsideration decision will be made within ten (10) business days of the reconsideration request.

Previous Accommodations Impact on Future Accommodations Needs

  1. An accommodation granted at DMU does not guarantee an accommodation will be granted by Board or certifying examinations, nor do previously received accommodations guarantee accommodations at DMU.
  2. Accommodations granted at DMU apply solely to coursework completed at DMU. Such accommodations may help the student be successful while at DMU but may not be granted by other academic or professional institutions (e.g. residency placements, etc.) which may affect the students’ ability to be successful in their chosen profession.
  3. Should the student’s needs for accommodations change while at DMU, the student should provide information demonstrating the need to CEE.

RETENTION OF STUDENT DOCUMENTS

General information about a student's disability and accommodation request(s) may be shared with other DMU personnel or, in limited circumstances, with third parties who have a legitimate need to know. Clinical documentation or other diagnostic information held by the Center for Educational Enhancement (CEE) is kept confidential and will be disclosed to others only as necessary to address the student needs for accommodation, or with the student's written permission or as required by law. The file regarding a student's request for accommodation is maintained by the CEE and is held separately from the student's official academic record.

Student requests for accommodation and supporting information are kept in hard copy format during the interactive process and moved to an electronic record once a determination has been made. An electronic record of documents related to a request for accommodation is generated upon application for accommodations and retained for a period of five (5) years after the last date of active enrollment. After this time, electronic records are destroyed. In the event of a return to active enrollment, any archived documents from a previous request for accommodations would not need to be resubmitted. However, additional or updated information may be required, and a new application may be requested if the retention period has passed.

Students remain eligible to apply for accommodations even if their file has become inactive. Student records are considered inactive following graduation, departure from DMU, failure to communicate with CEE on an incomplete request, or failure to perform a yearly follow up with CEE about the granted accommodations. Students are encouraged to communicate with CEE at any time if they have questions or concerns regarding their accommodations.