Center for Students with Disabilities

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) do?
The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) provides services to students with disabilities to insure accessibility to university programs. CSD offers accommodations counseling, evaluation referral, disability-related information, adaptive technology counseling and equipment, and interpreter services for academically related purposes. CSD does not offer disability evaluation and/or testing, personal expenses, or personal attendant care.

What constitutes a disability? 
A disability is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Learning and walking are two examples of a major life activities. If you have a mental or physical condition, a history of such a condition, or a condition which may be considered by other as substantially limiting, you may have a legally defined disability.

What does substantially limiting mean?
According to Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973, substantially limiting is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average or to most people.

What is a major life activity?
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a major life activity is defined as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, and working.

What are appropriate academic accommodations?
Appropriate academic accommodations create equal access to education, as long as they don't require a substantial change in an essential element of the curriculum. The institution determines this. Such modifications many include an adjustment in the amount of time allowed to complete a degree, substitution of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted.

What should I do if I think I have a disability or I have a disability and want to receive accommodations/services?
If you suspect you have a disability or have a disability you will need to provide appropriate documentation of that disability to CSD. A qualified professional who is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question must supply this documentation. 

What type of accommodations and services are available?
Academic accommodations include, not are not limited to testing accommodations, interpreting, captioning, note-taker services, document conversion (e.g., books in digital audio and electronic formats), and registration assistance. Although not accommodations, CSD assists students with issues and salutations related to advocacy, accessibly, on-campus housing, transportation services, and attendant care. CSD is a resource for information including, but not limited to, tutoring services, study skills and time management, community resources, disability awareness, and various university services.  

What role do my parents play in the process?
Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults. In this case, the student is responsible for their own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. However, students are encouraged to have an open dialogue with their parents. Parents can be a great source of support and encouragement.

Are there any sources of funding for college expenses that are specifically for students with disabilities?

1.) Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR): VR is a federal program designed to "obtain, maintain, and improve employment for people with disabilities." To be eligible for funding through VR, you need to "have a disability which is severe  enough that you have problems getting or keeping a job specifically because of your disability." VR must also agree that college is needed to increase your ability to obtain employment. See the Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation for more information.

I am an employee at UW-Whitewater, can you assist me with getting accommodations from my department?
Accommodating employees is ultimately a departmental responsibility. The university's  Office of Human Resources  employs a specialist to assist departments and employees with identifying appropriate work-related accommodations.