Disability Resource Office

The Disability Resource Office (DRO) assists disabled students and their faculty in problem-solving access issues. Our shared goal is to create learning environments that are accessible, equitable, inclusive and sustainable. Aurora University will make reasonable adaptations to address the potential impact of course design and environmental barriers on disabled students’ equitable access and participation in the university’s curriculum, services and activities. These may include, for example, testing adjustments, classroom modifications, course materials in an accessible format or access to assistive technology.  

Location

Center for Teaching & Learning
Southeast corner of Phillips Library

Contact

Susan Lausier, Director
630-844-5267
slausier@aurora.edu

Getting Started

The student, disabilities office personnel, and faculty work interactively to address potential course design barriers to student learning, academic achievement, and assessment. Adaptations are intended to eliminate competitive disadvantages in this environment while preserving academic integrity. Students who anticipate potential barriers related to the design of the learning environment are encouraged to meet with the Disability Resource Office. We will discuss documentation (see documentation section below) during the initial visit; however, students should not delay contacting the DRO if they do not have documentation. Each access situation is evaluated individually. In some situations, the DRO will recommend or require that university community members incorporate adaptations to facilitate access. The DRO will then provide the student a letter to distribute electronically to his or her faculty. This letter will list reasonable modifications and adjustments. It may not be known if a class is fully accessible until a problem arises, in which case the student is encouraged to communicate directly with his or her professor.

Documentation

The Disability Resource Office recommends that students requesting adaptations submit documentation in support of the request(s). Documentation serves two primary purposes:

  • It establishes that the individual is entitled to legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and
  • It helps to determine what, if any, course design/environmental adaptations are necessary for the individual’s equitable access to courses, programs, services, and activities.

The documentation from the diagnosing practitioner should include:

  • Determination of a diagnosis, including duration (if applicable);
  • A description of the expected impact on the individual’s learning and equitable access resulting from the interaction between the individual’s condition and the given environment;
  • Recommendations for adaptations to address the impact on the individual; and
  • Name, address, and credentials of the practitioner.

Recency of documentation may be a factor in determining its relevance in decisions about adaptations. It is in the individual’s best interest to provide the DRO with documentation updates as they become available; additionally, we recommend that individuals update their documentation at least every five years, especially if they plan to request accommodations in other situations (i.e., graduate programs, licensure exams, employment).

Additional Guidelines

The role of the DRO is to determine what, if any, adaptations would be reasonable given the presented access situation. All requests must be reasonable at both the institutional level and at the individual level. Reasonable adaptations should not and do not:

  • Substantially alter the educational standards or mission of Aurora University;
  • Fundamentally alter the nature of the program, course, service, activity, and/or practice/policy as written and applied;
  • Allow access to an education program, course, service, and/or activity when a student is not otherwise qualified (with or without adaptations) to meet the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation;
  • Cause undue financial or administrative hardship (university-wide);
  • Be of a personal service in nature (personal aid, study coach, individually paid tutor, etc.);
  • Pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the disabled student or others as a result of implementation.

Adaptation requests that fall under one of the categories listed above will be denied by the DRO.