Providing equal access for students with disabilities is a shared University responsibility.

An open mind and a positive attitude allow for creative alternatives for students to achieve their full potential.

Cooperation and communication are the keys to successful programs that support all students and promotes their success.

In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted. This legislation, in combination with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides a comprehensive plan for eliminating discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the public and private sector. It prohibits all programs or activities from excluding or discriminating against individuals with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in those programs or activities.

West Chester University is committed to providing equal access for all students both in and outside of the classroom. Office of Educational Accessibility (OEA), is organized to assist faculty and staff with that end in mind. Most often in the classroom setting, the need for equal access presents itself in the form of student's requesting accommodations for their identified disabilities.

OEA is organized to help students and faculty with any administrative questions or issues they may have about the accommodations process. OEA gathers information and documentation from the student regarding their disability, then conducts an analysis and determines whether the student has a disability. If a disability is identified, OEA assesses and determines what accommodations the particular student needs in the classroom. OEA provides a Letter of Accommodation to the student, which the student presents to his/her particular professors. This Letter must be renewed each semester. Professors should discuss (in private) the accommodations with the student and make a plan to assist the student. Students and faculty, with the help of the OEA, can achieve equal access if they work together and communicate with one another during the process.

Purpose of this Module

This Module is intended to instruct faculty and staff on how to effectively assist students with identified disabilities, whose accommodations they may need to implement, and how to communicate and establish an effective plan to implement the necessary accommodations.

This module is designed to give faculty and staff a general understanding of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and illustrate situations they may face within that context in the classroom environment. It will also help faculty and staff understand what they need to do individually in the classroom in order to comply with Section 504 and the ADA.

As part of West Chester University's commitment to serving students with disabilities and providing them with accommodations they need to succeed, the objective of this training module is to educate and familiarize faculty and staff with the law surrounding disabilities and accommodations so that they may better understand situations they may face in the classroom, and how to effectively handle those situations.


After participating in this training module, you should be able to:

  • Develop a general knowledge and background of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA as it relates to student's rights and expectations.
  • Define basic legal terms as it relates to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA.
  • Define what constitutes a disability.
  • Describe the process students pursue to qualify as "disabled."
  • Define reasonable accommodations for students.
  • Identify the procedure faculty should follow when a student with a disability requires accommodations in their class.
  • Identify the most common classroom accommodations.
  • Describe how to discuss and implement accommodations with individual students.
  • Identify steps to follow when a faculty member believes a student may have a disability.

If you would like more information about Section 504, the ADA, or faculty responsibilities, feel free to

contact the Office of Educational Accessibility

(223 Lawrence Center, 610-436-2564) or access the OEA website.

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