Policies & Procedures


A. Documentation Policy

Students with disabilities are responsible for providing documentation of their disabilities to the Office of Disability Services (ODS). This documentation must both establish disability and provide adequate information on the functional impact of the disability so that accommodations can be identified and provided. This documentation will be kept confidential and maintained in a locked file in ODS. All documentation should:


Marquette University Disability Documentation Guidelines
Physical/Medical Disability Documentation Form
Psychological Disability Documentation Form
Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder Documentation Form

B. Confidentiality

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) is committed to ensuring that all information and communication pertaining to a student's disability is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law.

The following guidelines about the treatment of such information have been adopted by ODS and will be shared with students. These guidelines incorporate relevant state and federal regulations.

  1. No one will have immediate access to student files in ODS except appropriate staff of ODS or Student Educational Services in which ODS is located. Any information regarding a student's disability is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and will only be disclosed as permitted or required by FERPA.
  2. Sensitive information in ODS student files will not be released except in accordance with federal and state laws.
  3. A student's file may be released pursuant to a court order or subpoena.
  4. If a student wishes to have information about his/her disability shared with others, the student must provide written authorization to the ODS Coordinator to release the information. Before giving such authorization, the student should understand the purpose of the release and to whom the information is being released.
  5. A student has the right to review his/her own ODS file with reasonable notification.

C. Common Academic Accommodations

Appropriate accommodations are individualized and flexible, based on the nature of the disability and the academic environment. Below is a partial list of common academic accommodations that may be coordinated through the Office of Disability Services in collaboration with faculty and other pertinent offices on campus. They appear in this list due to the frequency with which they may be offered or requested, and will not be automatically provided to all students with disabilities.

D. Common Non-Academic Accommodations

Below is a partial list of common accommodations for university-sponsored activities and programs outside of the classroom for students with documented disabilities. The Office of Disability Services in collaboration with pertinent offices on campus coordinates these accommodations on a case-by-case basis according to the nature of the disability. They appear in this list due to the frequency with which they may be offered or requested, and will not be automatically provided to all students with disabilities.

E. Specific Disabilities

DEFINITIONS, DESCRIPTIONS AND POSSIBLE IN-CLASS AND OUT-OF-CLASS SERVICES OR STRATEGIES TO BE APPLIED ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS. (Based upon a student's documented disability, the indicated services for students may be appropriate. They are provided as examples only and are not intended as a list of choice.)

Marquette University Disability Documentation Policy
Physical/Medical Disability Documentation Form
Psychological Disability Documentation Form
Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder Documentation Form

1. Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ ADHD)

Definition: a neurobiological condition that is manifested in a persistent pattern of distractibility, impulsivity or hyperactivity. It arises during childhood, persists throughout a person's lifetime and is attributed neither to gross sensory, language or motor impairment nor to mental retardation or severe emotional disturbance. The exact nature and severity of symptoms vary from person to person.

Common ADD/ADHD problems/deficits exhibited:

The following services may be appropriate:

Equipment available on campus to assist students with ADD/ADHD at Marquette: Kurzweil 3000 software system, Reading Edge and Telex Scholar DC player for texts on CD.

2. Blind/ Partially Sighted Disabilities

Definition: disorders in the function of the eye as manifested by at least one of the following: 1) visual acuity of 20-200-the legally blind person can see at 20 feet what the average-sighted person can see at 200; 2) low vision-limited or diminished vision that cannot be corrected with standard lenses; and 3) field restriction -- ­the field of vision is impaired because of illness, a degenerative syndrome, or trauma.

The following service may be appropriate:

Equipment available on campus to assist blind/partially sighted students at Marquette: Kurzweil education 1000 and 3000 Systems, Reading Edge, and Telex Scholar CD player.

3. Deaf/ Hard of Hearing Students

Definition: hearing loss attributed to two causes:

1) sensorineural (nerve deafness which involves impair­ment of the auditory nerve and affects the inner ear), or 2) conductive loss (a dysfunction of part of the ear mechanism affecting the outer and middle ear). Some students may have both types of hearing loss.

Implications for Postsecondary Education

Some students who have residual hearing may rely on lip reading and use hearing aids or assistive listening devices. Hearing aids amplify all sounds and can make small noises such as air conditioners, hissing lighting fixtures and traffic noise overwhelming. Lip reading students usually comprehend only about 30-40% of what is said and have difficulty understanding instructors who cover their lips, face the chalkboard, move around or wear a mustache. Class discussions can also be problematic.

Some students may require the use of sign or oral language interpreters to access the information being presented in class. Sign language interpreters use highly developed language and finger spelling skills for several types of sign language (American Sign Language or Pidgin Sign English as examples). Oral interpreters silently form words on their lips for speech reading. Interpreters will interpret all information in a given situation, including instructor's comments, class discussion and environmental sounds.

Some students may benefit from real time captioning, a process involving a stenographer, translating software and a computer. The stenographer transcribes what is being said in class that is translated almost instantaneously through software to a computer screen. The student is then able to follow the course of the class from the computer screen. Another type of accommodation is C-Print captioning, where the captionist transcribes what is said in class in a word processing format.

The following services may be appropriate:

4. Head Injury

Definition: Head injuries are not visible and are very complex. They result from either external or internal trauma. They can result in seizures, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty with speech, limited concentration, memory loss, loss of organizational and reasoning skills, loss of ability to quickly process information, loss of language functions, and changes in behavior.

The following services may be appropriate:

5. Learning Disabilities

Definition: Learning disabilities is a general term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual, presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction, and may occur across the life span. Problems in self-regulatory behaviors, social perception, and social interaction may exist with learning disabilities but do not by themselves constitute a learning disability. Although learning disabilities may occur concomitantly with other disabling conditions, (for example, sensory impairment, mental retardation, serious emotional disturbance), or with extrinsic influences (such as cultural differences, insufficient or inappropriate instruction), they are not the result of those conditions or influences.

Implications for Postsecondary Education:

The following services may be appropriate:

Equipment available on campus to assist students with learning disabilities at Marquette: Kurzweil 3000 software system, Reading Edge and Telex Scholar CD player.

6. Physical Impairments

Definition: impairments ranging in severity from limitations on stamina to paralysis impacting on physical mobility and movement. These include quadriplegia, paraplegia, amputation, arthritis, back disorders, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

Implications for Postsecondary Education

Physical disability is separate from matters of cognition. When talking to a person in a wheelchair, talk to them at their eye level. Take time to understand the person if speech is affected. Take cues from the individual if assistance is needed with a particular task. Students should let faculty and staff know if help is needed depending on the severity of their impairment. Each person's physical rehabilitation level is different.

The following services may be appropriate:

7. Psychiatric/ Psychological Disabilities

Definition: chronic conditions affecting emotions that have documented medical and psychological intervention. Includes depression, bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. With appropriate treatment, a vast majority of individuals with these disabilities can function effectively.

The following services may be appropriate:

8. Systematic Disabilities/ Chronic Illness

Definition: disabilities stemming from conditions affecting one or more of the body's systems-respiratory, immunological, neurological or circulatory. Examples include: cancer, chemical dependency, diabetes, seizure disorders, HIV, Lyme disease, lupus, multiple chemical sensitivity, severe asthma and allergies, kidney disease. Documentation from medical treating professionals must specifically state that the condition meets disability criteria.

The following services may be appropriate:

9. Illegal Drug Use / Alcoholism

Definition: Disabilities stemming from addiction to alcohol or illegal drugs.

Under certain circumstances, these addictions MAY qualify as disabilities. Students possessing these conditions are protected from disability discrimination if they:

Students are not protected if:

The following services may be appropriate:

F. Working with Students with Disabilities; Guidelines for Faculty and Other University Employees

Whether they are aware of it or not, most faculty, administrators, and staff at Marquette interact with students with disabilities on a regular basis. These interactions often reflect the campus culture of genuinely caring for the person, but in some instances, these interactions require a response to requests for specific accommodations. Because students with documented disabilities are protected under federal law, these formal requests may result in faculty or others lacking confidence in the proper response to these specific requests. The procedures and suggestions listed below are intended to address the most basic questions faculty and other employees may have related to meeting the needs of students with disabilities. Should faculty or other employees desire more information on this topic, please visit the Disability Services web site at or contact the Associate Director of Disability Services at (414) 288-1645 or stop in the office in the Marquette University, Room 05.

1. Faculty Guidelines

a. What should I do if a student says s/he has a disability and requests accommodations?

i. Does the student have a letter from ODS?

In order to be assured accommodations, the university requires student accommodations requests must be accompanied by a formal letter from the ODS Coordinator. That letter serves to verify that the student:

ii. If the student does not have a letter from ODS, but brings you a copy of their disability documentation, you are strongly encouraged to refer the student to the Associate Director of Disability Services (Marquette Hall , Room 05, phone [414] 288-1645) who will work with the student and review the documentation to determine appropriate accommodations.

iii. If the student claims they don't need a letter because they received accommodations in high school and should receive them in your class now, the student may indeed possess a disability, but they are not entitled to accommodations unless or until they document their needs with the Associate Director of Disability Services and bring you a letter verifying appropriate accommodations.

b. What should I do when a student gives me an accommodations letter?

Students with disabilities are informed that in each class for which they have requested accommodations, they are responsible for presenting their letter to and meeting with their instructors. In this meeting, students are encouraged to discuss their needs with their instructors and faculty have the opportunity to discuss course content, expectations and the requested accommodations.

c. How are accommodations determined?

As stated above, accommodations grow out of the Associate Director’s analysis of the documentation of the disability and through conversations the Coordinator has with the student. In many instances, the Associate Director collaborates with faculty as well when determining appropriate and reasonable accommodations for the student in the classroom.

d. What if I have questions or concerns about the requested accommodations?

Instructors are encouraged to work directly with students to implement requested accommodations, but they should contact the Associate Director of Disability Services whenever they have questions, concerns, or issues relative to the student or accommodations process.

e. What steps can I take to assist students with disabilities in my courses?

A good first step is to include a simple statement in your course syllabus to encourage students to contact you directly such as:

”If there are any students with disabilities who need accommodations, please feel free to discuss this with me.” Additional suggestions related to teaching and interacting with students with disabilities can be found on the Disability Services web site at   

2. Guidelines for All Other Employees

a. How do I let students know how we make the activities and services of my area accessible to students with disabilities?

Administrators and staff who handle matters pertaining to housing, recreation, safety, counseling, financial aid, transportation, health services, insurance, employment or other co-curricular activities can achieve this goal in several ways:

Explore the resources and recommendations included the ODS website at

In summary, through its own stated mission and in response to the disability laws governing higher education, Marquette University is committed to serving the needs of students with disabilities. Consequently, when the need for accommodations has been verified by ODS, and ODS in cooperation with faculty, administrators and staff has developed a specific academic accommodations plan, all university employees are obliged to comply with the university's responsibility to provide the accommodations.

G. Other Resources

Other policies pertaining to the workings of the Office of Disability Services (ODS) are on file in the office and posted on our web site regarding:

Visit our web site for a variety of other resources available to guide students, parents, faculty and staff on ODS and its operation.



Our Mission

Marquette University's Office of Disability Services is dedicated to providing equal access within the classroom setting, through the determination of appropriate accommodations, for students with documented disabilities. ODS promotes accessibility awareness through collaboration with campus partners, the development of student self-advocacy, and through consultation with the broader community. Guided by the university's mission, we strive to support the Marquette community in their efforts to educate all students on campus.