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Office of Disability Support Services
Faculty Handbook

Legalities of Disability
Equalizing Opportunities For Learning

"an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older - about one in four adults - suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.  When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.  Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion - about 6 percent , or 1 in 17 - who suffer from a serious mental illness.  In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S."

National Institute of Mental Health

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 making discrimination against a disabled person illegal in public accommodations, employment, transportation, communications and government settings.  The ADAAA expanded the definition of "major life activities" to include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working and "major bodily functions" that includes cell growth and functions of the immune, digestive, bladder, bowel, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A portion of section 504 focuses specifically on postsecondary education stating that in order for persons with disabilities to fulfill academic requirements, reasonable adjustment in the programs must be made.  A reasonable accommodation in the higher education refers to an otherwise qualified disable student's ability to fulfill course requirements in the classroom when faculty and staff provide equal access to learning.  Faculty and staff accomplish this goal in the following ways:

  • Using innovative teaching techniques
  • Use of adaptive technology
  • Adapting tests to assure measurement of a disabled student's knowledge, not the disability.
    For example, a goal of assessing information, not speed, allows for students to take tests with extended time.

As a result of The Americans with Disabilities Act, colleges and universities now routinely offer interpreters, note takers, and readers, assistive technologies, testing accommodations such as a quiet room with extended time for tests and/or test readers. 


Office of Disability Support Services at Lansing Community College

Disability Support Services
Gannon Building - StarZone
Phone: (517) 483-1924
Additional contact information »