The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives individuals with disabilities civil rights protection that is similar to that provided to all individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion. The act guarantees equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. In September 1973, Congress passed Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 states: “No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely on the basis of his/her handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Consistent with the ADA and Section 504, the policy of Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) is that no qualified individual with a disability may be discriminated against on the basis of his or her disability. Qualified individuals with disabilities are encouraged to seek admission to the college, and applicants are actively recruited for employment. ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE (ABC) is making affirmative efforts to accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities. Such efforts include elimination of physical barriers and the provision of individual accommodation. Our goal at the College is to promote institutional programs and employment practices that are accessible to all individuals with disabilities.
The Office of Disability Services (ODS) at ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE (ABC) seeks to meet individual needs by coordinating and implementing internal policy regarding programs, services, and activities for individuals with disabilities. The ODS functions as a source of information and advice and as a communication link among individuals with disabilities, faculty and staff members, state rehabilitation agencies and the community at large. Accommodating individuals with disabilities in a mainstreamed environment is the overall objective of the ODS.
The ODS is the centralized agency for receiving disability related documentation and the approval of requested accommodations. The process of documentation review involves an individual assessment of the individual’s disability with respect to the documentation presented and the accommodations requested.
The ODS focuses on providing services needed by students with disabilities to minimize the extent to which their disability affects their opportunities in the ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE (ABC) academic environment. For college students with disabilities, the single most important issue is equal opportunity. ODS is designed to address those areas of need where equal opportunity is compromised for students with disabilities.
The ODS focuses on students’ functional needs, and seeks to ensure equal opportunity through equal access. There are very few commonalties among “the experience of those disabled,” so a very high degree of individual interaction is required to serve students appropriately with significant disability-related needs. The extent of disability is also a factor relating to need. For instance, virtually all students who are blind and deaf need services to accommodate their sensory deficits. A student with mild visual or hearing impairments may not need ODS at all. Priorities and resources are primarily allocated for those services that are essential for equal access in academic endeavors. These services enhance students’ opportunities to be competitive and to succeed at ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE (ABC). A next priority is to concentrate supplemental attention and resources for students in academic difficulty.
Note: In reading these policies and procedures, the term “student” refers to students who are registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS).