Federal Law

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.

The IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 7.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.

One of the main differences between high school and college is that students in college must self-identify and seek services for a disability. In compliance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, it becomes the student’s responsibility to present appropriate documentation of a disability to the Director of Accessibility Resources. All documentation is secure and kept confidential.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

High School vs. College

  • I.D.E.A. is about SUCCESS
  • A.D.A.  is about ACCESS

Getting Started

The first step is to register with the Accessibility Resources/Disability Services office and schedule an intake interview. When your registration is received you will be contacted to set up an intake interview. This process should be completed upon acceptance to the university in order to secure accommodations in a timely manner. We cannot make accommodations retroactively. Registering and having accommodations in place before the first semester begins will produce the best opportunity for success.


Documentation must be provided by the primary medical professional for all physical and neurological diagnoses. These professionals would include neurologist, audiologist, ophthalmologist, psychiatrist, or other medical specialist.

All diagnoses listed in the DSM-5 can be assessed and documented by any licensed mental health service provider to include LPC, LCSW, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

Documentation shall include:

  • Student name & date of birth
  • Diagnosis
  • Date of Diagnosis
  • Date of last visit
  • Assessment tools used for diagnosis and interpretation of results
  • Current active treatment plan
  • Prognosis for improvement
  • Limitations and recommendations prescribed for the student
  • Name, signature, credentials, address and telephone number of certifying provider

Freshmen/transfers will be required to provide a copy of their most recent Individual Education Plan from high school.

Should these documents not be available please contact our office for temporary accommodations while the documentation is located or for further evaluation. Documentation must be on file in the Accessibility Resources/Disability Services Office by the start of the student’s first semester at Methodist University to continue to qualify for accommodations.

All first-year students are encouraged to take advantage of the accommodations that they qualify for. There are many adjustments to be made in this new environment. We want to help with those adjustments to ensure future success!

Unacceptable Documents

  • Handwritten correspondence from physician or clinician
  • Patient records or any charts etc. pulled off the internet
  • Documentation from a member of the family or an acquaintance
  • Prescription pads as supporting documents
  • Documents by professionals who do not know the student’s medical history and have not made a diagnosis
  • Documents from physicians who do not specialize in the disability for which the accommodation is sought (ex: gynecologist for a vision request)

Requests for Specific Accommodations

Students who qualify for texts in alternative format should make this request to the Accessibility Resources/Disability Services Office three weeks prior to the beginning of classes if possible. These texts can take two to three weeks to arrive once they are ordered.

Residential students who qualify for a single room or fully accessible room and wish to request this accommodation must make this request to the Residential Life Office prior to June 1st of the academic year to be accommodated. All requests made on or after June 1st or during the academic year will be placed on a waiting list until a room becomes available. Single room charges apply once the accommodation has been made.

Students who qualify to take exams with extended time and/or a reduced distraction environment must follow the procedure described under Access and Accommodations.