Disability and Accessibility Services

Reasonable Accommodations for Student with Disabilities

The Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1992; as amended ADAA, 2008. ARCOM is committed to ensuring that otherwise qualified students with a disability can equally enjoy the benefits of an osteopathic professional education. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate the process for disability services. The process for obtaining a reasonable accommodation is an interactive one that begins with the student’s disclosure of disability and a request for reasonable accommodation. The student has the obligation to provide proper documentation of the disability from a qualified physician or clinician who diagnosed the condition and sets forth the recommended accommodations. Upon request by a student with a disability, the College will evaluate the accommodation with the goal of enabling the student to meet the standards. Accommodation for a disability cannot unreasonably interfere with or substantially alter the ARCOM curriculum or interfere with the rights of other students or with the student’s ability to adequately care for a patient.

ARCOM’s affiliate organizations, such as hospitals that administer the clinical and practical portion of the ARCOM curriculum, expect our students to perform their duties in a timely manner as such ability is a critical and essential part of the ARCOM curriculum and of the practice of medicine in general. Therefore, extra time will generally not be granted to students in clinical encounters including clinical performance examinations and clinical clerkships.

Students who fail in the curriculum, or who are suspended or dismissed, will not be considered for disability accommodation if they have not identified the disability and requested reasonable accommodations in advance.

Students who identify a disability during a course of study must undergo testing and evaluation at the time of the request for consideration of accommodations.

Each request for accommodation will be considered on an individual basis.

Procedures for Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

The following procedure must be followed in order for any student with a disability to receive reasonable accommodations.

  1. Make a request for accommodations in writing to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, or the Office of the Dean.
  2. The student must submit appropriate documentation of his/her disability (guidelines for proper documentation are set forth below);
  3. The information will be provided to the Accommodation Agent (Director of Assessment) who will coordinate the evaluation of the request for accommodation;
  4. Appropriate faculty and administrators will review the proposed accommodation and approve or offer an alternative accommodation plan to be accepted by the student and followed by the student and ARCOM faculty.

In all cases, reasonable accommodations are not retroactive, and decisions do not affect grades or other actions that have taken place prior to the granting of accommodations.

Documentation Guidelines

Students requesting accommodations or services from ARCOM because of a learning disability are required to submit documentation to determine eligibility for those accommodations or services in accordance with Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A diagnosis of a learning disability does not necessarily qualify a student for academic accommodations under the law. To establish that a student is covered under Section 504 and the ADA, the documentation must indicate that the disability substantially limits a major life activity, especially learning.

The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation of a learning disability is complete and supports the student’s request for accommodations. ARCOM will determine eligibility and appropriate services, case by case, based on the quality, date submitted, and completeness of the documentation submitted. The following requirements provide students, schools, and professional diagnosticians with a common understanding of the components of documentation that are necessary to validate the existence of a learning disability, the impact on the individual’s educational performance, and the need for academic accommodations for the purpose of the ADA and Section 504.

  1. A Qualified Professional Must Conduct the Evaluation
    The assessment must be administered by a trained and qualified (i.e., certified and/or licensed) professional (e.g., psychologist, school psychologist, neurophysiologist, education diagnostician, or student clinician who is being supervised by a qualified professional) who is not an employee of ARCOM and has had direct experience with adolescents and/or adults with learning disabilities. The Accommodations Committee is responsible for documenting and approving or disapproving the provider.
  2. Documentation Must Be Current
    Reasonable accommodations are based on the current impact of the disability on academic performance. In most cases this means that a diagnostic evaluation should be age appropriate and relevant to the student’s learning environment and show the student’s current level of functioning. If documentation does not address the individual’s current level of functioning a re-evaluation may be required. Medical students must submit their evaluation and supporting documents thirty-days prior to matriculation.
  3. Documentation Must Include a Specific Diagnosis
    The report must include a clear and direct statement that a learning disability does or does not exist including a rule out of alternative explanations of learning problems. Terms such as “learning difficulty,” “appears,” “suggests,” or “probable” do not support a conclusive diagnosis.
  4. Documentation Must Be Comprehensive
    The documentation must include a summary containing relevant historical information, instructional interventions, related services, and age of initial diagnosis. The documentation must also include objective data regarding aptitude, achievement and information processing. Test scores (standard scores, percentiles, and grade equivalents) must also be included in the documentation.
  5. Recommendations for Accommodations
    A diagnostic report may include specific recommendations for accommodation(s). A prior history of an accommodation, without a demonstration of a current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of that accommodation. Each accommodation recommended by an evaluator should include a rationale. The evaluation should support the recommendations with specific test results or clinical observations. If an accommodation is not clearly identified in the diagnostic report, ARCOM will seek clarification and/or additional information either from the student’s evaluator or from another trained professional chosen by ARCOM. ARCOM will make the final determination as to whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided. ARCOM reserves the right to request reassessment of the student’s disability when questions arise regarding previous assessment or provision of services or accommodations or when the student requests additional services or accommodations above and beyond what has been previously provided to the student. The student is responsible to cover the cost of the evaluation(s).
  6. Process for Receiving Reasonable Accommodations
    All documentation related to the student’s disability and accommodations shall be maintained and secured for confidentiality by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. Upon receipt of the documentation, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs will meet with the student, either in person or by telephone, to discuss and make arrangements for accommodations for the upcoming semester. If a problem arises concerning the reasonable accommodations, the student should contact the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.

Reporting an Accessibility Difficulty with ARCOM Facilities

The Chief Operating Officer should be contacted and can be reached by email. All main campus buildings were designed to accommodate those with disabilities and meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

Accommodations Grievance Procedure for Students with a Disability

All grievances concerning any aspect of the services or accommodations provided to a student with a disability or related to any issue related to Section 504 or the ADA, should be taken to the Dean of ARCOM. The decision of the Dean is final.