College Disability Definitions

These are definitions that all high school students, parents, secondary transitioning staff, post-secondary faculty and staff should know about in order to have a better understanding of what Student Disability Support offices do:

  • “Reasonable accommodations” are the use of necessary auxiliary aids and modifications of programs, policies, practices and procedures that enable qualified students with a disability to have an equal opportunity to benefit from and have access to college programs and services.
  • “Qualified Student” is a person who, with or without reasonable accommodations, meets the academic and technical standards required for admission to, participation in, and/or fulfilling the essential requirements of college programs or activities. A “qualified student with a disability” is the same, but this person has self-identified, provided appropriate documentation of his/her disability, and has been evaluated by a college’s DS unit.
  • “Student with a disability” is a person, who has a physical, mental or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more of his or her major life activities; a person who has a record of such an impairment; is perceived to have such an impairment; or, has an abnormal condition that is medically cognizable or diagnosable.
  • “Undue burden” is defined as a “significant difficulty or expense.”
  • “Fundamental alteration” is a modification that is so significant that it changes the essential nature of the facilities, privileges, advantages, or programs and services offered.
  • “Program accessibility” means that all programs, when viewed in their entirety, are accessible to persons with a disability.