Disability Law and Definitions

The fundamental purpose of disability law regulations is to protect qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability.  The purpose of the disability services office is to eliminate barriers and approve reasonable accommodations in order to level the playing field for such persons.

Government disability law and guidance acts and policies:

Disability Definitions

The following definitions apply in regard to disability law.

Disability - A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record or documentation of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

Disability Documentation - Disability documentation must be current and must be from an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, and must include the diagnosis and current impact of disability, functional limitations of major life activities, and recommendations for reasonable accommodations.

Major Life Activities

  • Caring for one-self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, sleeping.
  • Mental and emotional processes such as thinking, concentrating, and interacting with others.

Exclusions to Major Life Activities - The following activities are excluded from the disability definition of major life activities:

  • The EEOC excludes compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, and psychoactive disorders that are a result of current use of illegal drugs.
  • Traits and behaviors of stress, irritability, chronic lateness, and poor judgment, in and of themselves are not included in the definition of disability.
  • A qualified person with a disability may not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of themselves or others.

Qualified Individual - A qualified individual is defined as a person with a disability who, with or without reasonable accommodations, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the program or activity.

Reasonable Accommodations

  • Changes to a classroom environment or task, such as extended time for an exam or materials in alternative formats (examples: large print, audio, Braille).
  • Removal of architectural barriers, such as adapting a classroom to meet the needs of a student who uses a wheelchair.
  • Exceptions to policies, practices or procedures, such as priority registration or accessing assignments early.
  • Provision of auxiliary aids and services, such as providing a sign language interpreter or providing a note taker.

Exceptions to Reasonable Accommodations

  • An accommodation is not reasonable if it results in undue burden or hardship for the college.
  • An accommodation is not reasonable if it results in a fundamental alteration or compromises the essential elements of an academic standard.  Students with disabilities must meet the same academic requirements as other SCC students.
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