Frequently Asked Questions
Q - What is the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and what are the functions of the office?
The Office of Disability Services (ODS) is a department under Student Affairs at Tennessee Technological University that is dedicated to providing services to students with documented permanent or temporary disabilities. Our goal is to ensure equal access to all university programs. Our functions include, but are not limited to, proctoring tests, providing adaptive technology demonstration/orientation, and consulting with university faculty and staff on disability-related matters.
Q - What constitutes a Disability?
As defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a disability is a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If there exists a mental or physical condition, a history of such a condition, or a condition that may be considered by others as substantially limiting, then you may have a legally defined disability.
Q - What does "substantially limiting" mean?
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, "substantially limiting" is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or being significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people.
Q - What is a "major life activity?"
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, defines a major life activity as caring for self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
Q - What should I know when applying to Tennessee Tech University? Are there any special procedures?
When applying to TTU, prospective students need to follow the guidelines of the Admissions Office and the Registration Office. There are no special admissions procedures. Registration with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) is a separate procedure. Please contact the office for more information.
Tennessee Tech University
Office of Disability Services
Box 5091, Roaden University Center, Room 112
Cookeville, TN 38505-0001
Q - What should I do if I suspect that I have a disability and want to receive academic adjustments?
If you suspect that you have a disability that is impacting your academic performance, you need to provide the Office of Disability Services with appropriate documentation of that disability from a qualified professional. The qualified professional must be licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question. Documentation is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in order to provide requested academic adjustments. An appointment for an intake should be scheduled with ODS in order to review the documentation and determine what academic adjustments may be appropriate.
ODS does not diagnose disabilities. However, please feel free to contact the office for help in obtaining a referral to a qualified professional in our community.
Q - What is "appropriate documentation?"
Acceptable documentation must reflect the following:
- Specific diagnosis supported by documentation;
- A current diagnosis (in most cases within three years);
- Specific findings in support of all diagnosis including relevant history, tests administered, test scores (including subtest scores), test results and their interpretations;
- A description of the student's functional limitations and how the limitations are directly related to the stated disabilities;
- Specific recommendations for academic adjustments in curriculum, instruction and testing, including an explanation of why these specific adjustments are needed;
- Documentation on letterhead, typed, dated and signed with the evaluator's name, address, telephone number (in the event that the office needs to contact them) and professional credentials relevant to the diagnosis.
Q - What kinds of academic adjustments are available?
Academic adjustments include, but are not limited to, testing adjustments, adaptive technology services, and assistance in arranging other support services (e.g., interpreters, notetakers, scribes, and readers).
Q - I received academic adjustments in high school or I had an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Can I use the IEP as documentation?
While the IEP is a valuable resource of information, it cannot be used as documentation for a disability.
Q - What role do my parents play in the process?
Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults. As such, each student is responsible for his or her own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. However, students are encouraged to have open communication with parents or other significant family members.
Q - I have a physical disability and have difficulty getting around campus. What types of adjustments are geared toward my needs?
Students with physical disabilities are encouraged to register with ODS for support and advocacy with access to buildings and other university activities. Please contact ODS for more information.
Q - I am a Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) client. Is there anything special I should know?
If you have a VR counselor in your hometown, you are encouraged to have your counselor contact ODS at Tennessee Tech so that services can be coordinated.
Q - What assurances does the ODS provide?
Civil and Equal Opportunity Rights
Please contact ODS for more information.
Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure
TTU is committed to assuring the constitutional and statutory confidentiality protections and the rights of non-disclosure of students with disabilities. Documentation required while verifying a disability is not shared with any person or entity without consultation with and written permission by the student unless prescribed by law.
Non-Discrimination and Advocacy
TTU promotes the elimination of discriminatory attitudinal barriers to students with disabilities and provides awareness and advocacy support in this mission. TTU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, or any other constitutionally or statutory impermissible reason.
Individualized Services & Inclusion
TTU determines all services and support needs on an individual basis. The specific disability and the essential functions of classes and programs determine reasonable academic adjustments and auxiliary aids. The University community works as a team to promote inclusion of students with disabilities in all programs and activities of the University.
TTU recognizes that the development of self-determination skills and resources is critical to the academic, personal, and employment success of students with disabilities. The University strives to provide and promote services and opportunities to support this need.