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Accessibility Services

  • Gannon University's Office of Accessibility Services offers academic accommodations for all students with documented disabilities. The Office assists eligible students in receiving *reasonable accommodations pursuant to Federal law - Act 504 (1973), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 1990), and Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments (ADAA 1990) - under current guidelines from the Office of Civil Rights and Department of Justice.

    The Office of Accessibility Services requires that all students who apply for academic accommodations, such as extended test time, provide official documentation sent directly from the diagnosing agency to the Office of Accessibility Services. Documentation should include documentation of the disability by a licensed professional and a statement concerning resulting limitations and recommended accommodations.

    If a student's doctor/physician or diagnosing agency would prefer to fill out an Office of Accessibility Services form to provided needed information, the Office of Accessibility Services can provide that form, per the student's request. Completed forms must be mailed or faxed directly to Christine Samuelson, Gannon University, Office of Accessibility Services, Palumbo Academic Center, 109 University Square, Erie, PA 16541: fax 814-871-7499. The documentation for diagnosis of a disabling condition and the functional limitations experienced by the student will be reviewed by the professional staff.

    Staff will determine the appropriate, reasonable academic accommodations, if any, for each student on an individual, case-by-case basis. A diagnosis of a disorder, condition, or syndrome in and of itself does not automatically qualify an individual for accommodations.

    A student with psychological diagnosis must provide documentation prepared by a licensed mental health professional, psychologist/psychiatrist, physician, detailing the current diagnosis of a disabling condition and the impact such condition will have on the student's academic activities. 

    Students seeking information or assistance in any matter regarding qualification, accessibility or reasonable accommodations should contact Lisa Laird promptly upon admission to the University.  Students may also come to the Student Success Center in the Palumbo Academic Center (PC1025) to make an appointment with the Director.

    Contact Information

    Requesting Accommodations

    1. The Office of Accessibility Services is located on the first floor in the AJ Palumbo Academic Building, Student Success Center (SSC) and will be glad to process your request for accommodations, such as extended test time.
    2. At the start of each semester, please request accommodation letters provided by the Office of Accessibility Services, to give to your professors to let them know that you are requesting reasonable academic accommodations.
    3. Each exam a student takes at the Office of Accessibility Services will require a test accommodation form completed by both the student and professor and returned to the Office of Accessibility Services.  Your professors will provide the Office of Accessibility Services with a copy of your exam.
    4. The Office of Accessibility Services requires exams scheduled 1 week prior to the student taking the exam. This will give the Office of Accessibility Services staff advanced notice and helps to assure students of a private distraction reduced room and extended time for exams.
    5. Please call Lisa Laird (814)-871-5522 if you have any questions.  She will be happy to help.

    Reasonable Accommodations

    Reasonable accommodations do not negate requirements for successful completion of a course or program.

    In determining the University's definition of reasonable accommodations to an otherwise qualified student with a disability, issues to be determined may include:

    • the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in an educational program or service
    • the purpose and nature of the course or program
    • the documented limitations of the student and how those limitations could be overcome with reasonable accommodations
    • other Federal, State and Local regulatory requirements.

    The University is not required to provide accommodations if:

    • the nature of the program or course would be fundamentally altered
    • the student is not otherwise qualified (with or without accommodations) to meet the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in a program, or course
    • the effects of the disability cannot be overcome even with reasonable accommodations
    • the individual would not be able to complete the program, or course, even with reasonable accommodations.

    Accommodations Differences between High School and Postsecondary

    High School Postsecondary

    School districts are responsible for identifying, evaluating and planning interventions

    Students are responsible for self-disclosure, providing current documentation and for obtaining disability services

    Legal mandate: Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

    Section 504 and American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

    Services include individually designed instruction modifications based on IEP and provided by school personnel

    Reasonable accommodations may be provided based on documentation to offer equal access

    Progress towards IEP goals is monitored and communicated to the parent(s) and/or student

    Students are required to monitor their own progress and communicate their needs to instructors/specialists

    Provide a school directed schedule

    Students must manage their own time and schedules

    Guidance is provided for students to keep them aware of graduation requirements

    Graduation requirements are complex and based on field of study. Student is responsible for monitoring progress and seeking advice

    Modifications that change course outcomes may be offered based on the IEP

    Modifications that change course outcomes will not be offered

    Students may be reminded of incomplete assignments

    Students are responsible to check with instructors and complete course requirements

    Teachers may know students' needs and approach to offer assistance

    Instructors may be open and helpful but expect students to initiate contact when assistance is needed

    Study time outside of class may vary averaging 1-3 hours per week

    Study time outside of class generally averages to at least 2-3 hours for each hour in class.