Accessibility and Health Promotion

The Office of Accessibility and Health Promotion delivers services designed to assist students in maximizing successful participation in college life and in promoting their well-being--academically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Services and resources include:

You Belong Here

Notre Dame of Maryland University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations and equal access to its programs and services for people with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Procedures to Register for Disability Support Services

1. Schedule an Appointment

As the student, it is your responsibility to make an appointment with the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion to discuss your request to register with Disability Support Services. It is recommended to schedule an appointment several weeks before classes begin.

410-532-5401
amorales@ndm.edu

2. Provide Documentation

Services can be accessed when you submit the most current documentation from a licensed or certified professional (e.g. director of special education, audiologist, psychologist, licensed counselor, physician) that describes the specific disability and accommodations needed. A request for accommodations must be for a disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).  

If you do not have sufficient documentation, you may be asked to seek further evaluation/documentation from a certified professional. This information must be sent or provided directly to the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion. All shared information is confidential.

Documentation Guidelines

3. Meet to Discuss Accommodations

After submitting your paperwork, you will be contacted by the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion to schedule a meeting to discuss accommodations through an interactive process. An appropriate accommodation plan will be developed for you to share with your professors. 

An accommodation must be considered reasonable. An accommodation is not considered reasonable if:

  • It is a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
  • It is a substantial or fundamental change in an essential element of curriculum or there is a substantial alteration in the manner in which services are provided.
Examples of services offered may include but are not limited to:
  • Alternative testing arrangements as needed (e.g. extended time, use of a computer, distraction-free environment)
  • Scribe for notes
  • Access to recorded books
  • Audio capture of lectures
  • Interpreting services
  • Referral to appropriate services 
  • Assistive technology
  • Accessible housing
  • Advocacy
  • Counseling
  • Meal plan accommodations

4. Receive Accommodation Letters

Once steps one through three are completed and the student is found eligible for disability support services, the student will receive accommodation letters. It is the student's responsibility to share the accommodation letters with instructors. 

The Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion, Office of Disability Support Services, will consult with your instructors on an as-needed basis to provide clarity regarding auxiliary supports/services and accommodations. The discussion focuses on the implementation of accommodations in the classroom. The nature of the disability is not disclosed and remains confidential.  

5. Follow-Up

It is your responsibility to make an appointment with the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion each semester to request and develop a current accommodation plan and provide updated accommodation letters to your professors. Reasonable accommodations are not retroactive and will not be provided without an updated letter each semester.

Following the submission of accommodation letters to faculty:
  • If a reasonable accommodation calls for a note taker, let your instructor know as early as possible. DSS will provide you with a letter to present to your instructor. The instructor will then make an anonymous announcement regarding the need for a note taker and offer a financial stipend. It is up to you whether to remain anonymous or identify yourself to the note taker.
  • For alternative test taking procedures, it is the student’s responsibility to remind the instructor one week in advance so that arrangements can be made prior to the exam. Additionally, the student should notify the instructor immediately if there is a scheduling conflict so that the student and the professor can coordinate a mutually agreeable time to schedule the exam. Arrive on time for your exam; otherwise, if you are tardy your accommodations for extended time can't be guaranteed or implemented appropriately. 
  • If you use a laptop, software program, or any other assistive technology to take an exam, remind the instructor one week in advance so that arrangements can be made. 
  • In order to receive alternative textbooks in a timely manner, it is necessary to let DSS know several weeks in advance so that the publisher can be notified. Contact DSS for instructions on how to proceed with obtaining text books in an alternate format.

Accessible Housing/Accommodations

Students requesting accessible housing or accommodations based on a documented disability or medical condition must apply through the Office of Accessibility and Health Promotion. The housing accommodation request form along with appropriate documentation must be submitted to the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion who works in collaboration with the Director of Housing and Residence Life.  Students requesting accessible housing/ accommodations should make an appointment with the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion to discuss the process and the necessary documentation and forms. Please understand that single rooms are limited and may not be available.

Students are encouraged to apply for housing accommodations as early as possible.  

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) in University Housing

An emotional support animal (ESA) is not a trained service animal rather an ESA provides emotional support and comfort which can mitigate the symptomatology related to a disability.  

Students requesting an accommodation for an emotional support animal (ESA) to be permitted in University housing based on a documented disability must submit an ESA application along with appropriate documentation from a licensed medical professional.  Students requesting an ESA should make an appointment with the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion to discuss the process and necessary forms.  

  1. Documents must include a medical or clinical diagnosis of the disability based on DSM criteria and a rationale for diagnosis.
  2. The ESA recommendation must be made by a licensed physician, counselor, or psychologist. The diagnostician’s name, title, professional credentials and affiliation must be included in these documents.
  3. The aforementioned documentation should also include the following details:
    • Information about the functional limitations as related to the disability 
    • An explanation of how disability-related symptoms will be mitigated by having the ESA
  4. The current status of the disability must be reflected in the documents. If the documents do not reflect the current status, then the students may be required to submit updated information and/or documentation.

A letter which simply states the animal is registered as an ESA is not sufficient as sole documentation. 

Approval of an emotional support animal as an accommodation will be for the current academic year and subsequent requests will need to be submitted for renewal/approval each academic year. 

An emotional support animal may not be in University housing without approval as an accommodation.

Interpreting Services

Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing who require sign language interpreters for University classes, activities, or programs should contact the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion. Such requests should be made well in advance of need or as early as possible so that services can be provided in a timely manner.  

It is the student’s responsibility to notify DSS of one's schedule when requesting interpreting services. Please provide the schedule immediately after registration.  

Upon request, DSS will provide interpreting services for individuals attending functions sponsored by the University; such requests should be made well in advance of need (3 weeks) or as early as possible so that services can be provided in a timely manner.  

Meal Plan Accommodations

NDMU is a residential campus and as such requires that students living in on-campus residences participate in the meal plan offered through dining services. 

Our dining hall offers a wide variety of meal options through its standard meal service. We understand that students may have specific dietary needs or allergies; as such, the dining services online menu has features which allows students to review menu items for safe choices and balanced meal planning as well as to identify ingredients and possible allergens contained within the prepared foods.

If a student requires specific planning, the Food Service Director is also available to meet with the student individually to discuss needs and identify possible hidden allergens. 

Students with a medical condition or disability whose needs can’t be met through the dining selections offered can request a meal plan accommodation. Students requesting such dietary accommodations based on a medical condition or disability should request an appointment with the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion to discuss the process and procedures to request meal plan accommodations. Students must submit appropriate documentation from a licensed physician or dietician. 

  1. The documentation should include a medical diagnosis of the condition or disability.
  2. The diagnosis should be made by an appropriate medical provider, dietician, or specialist in the specific field related to the medical condition or disability. The evaluator’s name, title and professional credentials and affiliations should be included in the documents.
  3. The documentation should include the following information:
    • Duration of the medical condition or disability: Is the condition or disability temporary or permanent? If temporary, an estimate of how long the condition will persist.
    • Stability of the condition or disability: Is the medical condition/disability stable, progressive or fluctuating?
    • Impact of the medical condition or disability
  4. Recommendations for meal plan accommodations will be based on specific symptoms of the medical condition or disability. The documentation must reflect the current status of the medical condition or disability. If the documentation does not reflect the current status, students may be required to submit updated information and/or documentation.

The Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion works in conjunction with the Food Service Director and will collaborate directly with the student to provide any dietary or meal plan accommodations.

Service Animals

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are permitted in University facilities. A service animal is any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to do work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including but not limited to:

  • guiding individuals with impaired vision
  • alerting individuals with impaired hearing
  • providing minimal rescue or protection work
  • pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items

Temporary Accommodations

Temporary accommodations are available for students experiencing transitory conditions. Students who require temporary accommodations due to an acute physical or medical condition should contact the Office of Accessibility & Health Promotion to discuss their needs for accessibility. Students who are pregnant and require accommodations should contact this office as well.  

Accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis as related to the functional limitations associated with the student’s temporary condition. Documentation from a medical professional will be required.

Examples of temporary conditions may include but are not limited to:

  • Concussions
  • Pregnancy
  • Impairments following surgery 
  • Hand, wrist, or arm injuries that limits the student’s ability to write

The University has a dedicated lactation room in the UAB.  Please contact amorales@ndm.edu for details.  

Grievance Procedures

Any complaint should first be addressed informally to the person providing the service or the professor of the class.

If an attempt to resolve the issue is not successful, the student may make a written complaint to the individual’s supervisor or the Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion. This must be done within five working days of the original decision from the service provider or teacher.

If the matter is not resolved with the supervisor or Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion, a written appeal should be sent within five working days to the Associate VP of Student Life.

Contact Us

For more information and accommodations, please contact:

Director of Accessibility & Health Promotion
Amy Morales
410-532-5401
amorales@ndm.edu

Appointments available upon request.