We're committed to providing equal opportunities to
academically qualified students with disabilities. We want you to be part of the university experience as much as is possible. Disability Resources and Services (DRS) shares with you the responsibility to create equal access so you can achieve your
academic goals. If you are a student with a diagnosed learning, psychiatric, or medical disability, you may be eligible for services.
Once you have been admitted, follow these steps to register with DRS:
You may deliver it in person to 218 Hanley Library, fax it to 814-362-7607, or mail it to the DRS Office at:
Disability Resources and Services
300 Campus Drive
Bradford, PA 16701
Services include but are not limited to academic or special housing accommodations. It is important to contact the office before the start of the semester for which you are applying for admission so that the process for requesting services can begin before
Once you have registered with DRS for the term, distributed your
"Notification of Request for Accommodations" memo to your instructor,
and discussed taking your examination in the DRS with your instructor,
you may complete and submit this form to schedule an examination.
Schedule an Examination
If you have additional questions or specific disability-related needs, contact Carma directly by phone at 814-362-7609 or e-mail at
Office location and hours:
202 Hanley Library Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (814) 362-7609 Voice (814) 362-7607 Fax
Students seeking services from Disability Resources and Services on the basis of a disability are required to submit documentation (downloadable pdf verification forms below) to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.as well as changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Protection under these civil rights statutes is based upon documentation of a current disability that substantially limits a major life function.
Verification forms (printable versions)
When the documentation is received at DRS and reviewed, a staff member works with the individual to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. DRS creates a Notification of Disability Memo to inform instructors of the recommended accommodations. It is the student's responsibility to deliver a Notification Memo to each instructor and to discuss the implications of these accommodations on the fulfillment of course requirements.
Criteria for the source, scope and content of the documentation differs by disability.
Do you provide content tutors?
Disability Resources and Services does not provide academic tutors. Information regarding the academic tutors at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford can be found at
Academic Coaching & Tutoring Center.
How do I get a handicapped parking space?
Information is available on the
Temporary Medical Conditions page.
Where can I find out if I have a learning disability?
Disability Resources and Services does not provide evaluations for ADHD or Learning Disabilities. Individuals will need to determine if pursuing a diagnostic evaluation for ADHD or a Learning Disability is appropriate. You can discuss with the DRS Coordinator, Carma Horner, 814-362-7609, options for obtaining a professional clinical diagnosis for ADHD or a Learning Disability.
Will my instructors be notified of my need for an accommodation?
Each term students with disabilities are required to obtain Notification of Disability memos and distribute them to instructors from whom they are requesting accommodations.
Who is responsible for providing interpreters for class?
The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford provides assistance in obtaining sign language interpreters or real time captioners for students with hearing impairments. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the DRS Coordinator to request an interpreter within a reasonable time frame. The Coordinator will assess your communication skills and style and recommend the appropriate accommodation.
What is the special admission procedure for student with learning disabilities?
None. The University does not alter its admission standards for any individual regardless of disability. If there is a significant discrepancy in your admission portfolio or application, you may want to address the discrepancy in a supplemental essay.
When is it possible to arrange for a single room in the residence halls due to a disability?
Any request for an accommodation related to on-campus housing must be submitted via the
Housing Accommodation Form.
Do you provide attendants to assist with personal care?
Student are responsible for obtaining and employing personal care attendants.
Academic Accommodations Request: Disclosing a Disability Effective January 2003
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and require the University to make accommodations for those otherwise qualified individuals with a disability who request accommodations. An academic accommodation is a modification or adjustment that allows an individual to gain equal access and have equal opportunity to participate in the University's courses, services, activities and use of the facilities.
The University is not obligated to provide an accommodation that requires a substantial change in the curriculum or alteration of any essential elements or functions of a program. Students requesting accommodations must do so by registering with Disability Resources and Services in a timely manner. Students shall also be required to provide documentation of their disability that 1) meets the University of Pittsburgh's established guidelines for documentation of a disability, and 2) demonstrates or documents how their disability functionally impacts their participation in courses, programs, jobs, activities and/or the use of facilities at the University.
Procedure for Requesting Accommodations
For further information about Disability Resources and Services, contact Carma Horner, DRS Coordinator, at (814) 362-7609..
Academic Accommodations - Disputes
The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford provides both informal and formal processes to attempt to resolve disagreements regarding academic accommodations. The University's formal grievance procedure for challenging a decision regarding academic accommodations can be found at Section 504/ADA - Grievance Procedure. The University also strongly encourages individuals to attempt to resolve issues informally, though the informal process need not be pursued prior to filing a formal grievance. In addition, pursuing the informal process will not delay the time within which a formal grievance must be filed, which is within 30 days after a complainant becomes aware of the disputed decision.
The procedure to be followed for the informal process is as follows:
The DRS coordinator will provide general information regarding determination and implementation of accommodations. The faculty chairperson or designated representative of the Department offering the course(s) in which the accommodation is requested may be asked to provide information to the committee.
At Pitt-Bradford, a request for text material to be provided in an alternative format is considered an accommodation. Students seeking alternative formats must follow the process for
Academic Accommodations Requests: Disclosing a Disability. Once the accommodation is approved through DRS, the procedures below should be followed.
Procedures for Requesting Materials in Alternative Format
New as of Summer 2016: The University of Pittsburgh has partnered with SensusAccess to offer a file converter tool that makes inaccessible documents (such as Word or PDF files) into more accessible media (such as searchable PDFs, audio MP3 files, Braille, or e-text). SensusAccess is available to all Pitt faculty, staff, students, and alumni that have an active University email address. Please note that the quality of the converted document depends on the quality of the original document, and all conversion files will be delivered via email. To try it out click:
Find the list of your required course materials.
Check if your course materials exist already in an accessible format. You can order books directly from the following sites:
Assistive Technology refers to any item or equipment to improve the access and capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
Campus Computing Labs
Accessibility software is available in campus computing labs. This software includes: JAWS, MAGic and Kurzweil 3000. Headphones are not provided.
For information on how to modify your my.pitt display preferences and Student Center information (PeopleSoft) with assistive technology, please go to:
Free Text-to- Speech Software
Students who utilize print materials in an alternative formats should consider downloading free text-to-speech software, including the following:
Other assistive technology items are available through Disability Resources and Services. Please contact DRS Coordinator, Carma Horner, 202 Hanley Library, 814-362-7609 for more information.
Confidentiality and Release of Information
Disability Resources and Services established policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and releasing information from a student's file.
Students with documented disabilities can access support services through Disability Resources and Services (DRS) located in 202 Hanley Library. The goal of DRS is to provide students with the opportunity for the development of skills and strategies that will assist them in successfully fulfilling University policies and requirements. In instances where the documented disability precludes learning with accommodations, the University will permit the substitution of specific courses in order to best serve the student. Because these requirements are important elements of a program, each case must be carefully considered on an individual basis before a decision can be made.
The following are procedures that must be adhered to if a student with a documented disability is seeking a modification of course requirements:
Directory Information Notice
The University may establish categories of information known as "Directory Information" and release this information without student consent, upon request. A student may request, in the format provided below, that the following categories be excluded from Directory Information that would be released without the student's consent if requested by a third party.
The University designates the personally identifiable information contained in a Student's Education Record listed below as "Directory Information":
When the Office of the University Registrar receives a student's refusal to permit the release of "Directory Information," no further disclosures of directory information are made without that student's written consent (except to parties who have legal access to student records without written consent.) A student may rescind this action by submitting the request in writing to the Office of the University Registrar. Note that the following procedures apply:
If you choose not to have Directory Information released, complete and return this form to Hangar Building (Office of the University Registrar).
Documentation Review Board
Documentation is necessary to validate both the presence of a disability and the need for reasonable accommodations for candidates seeking to register for various services with Disability Resources and Services. Disability Resources and Services has adopted a standard set of criteria for documenting disabilities based upon consultation with various professionals and professional organizations including the Association on Higher Education and Disabilities. Disability Resources and Services recognizes that each student's circumstances are unique, and that a flexible approach to reviewing documentation is necessary.
Students are to submit documentation of their condition to the Disability Resources and Services office. The DRS Coordinator will compile the documentation and when it is reasonably complete the file will be forwarded to the Documentation Review Board for evaluation.
The DRB will verify that the information the student has provided meets the University of Pittsburgh's established criteria for the disability category under which it is submitted. The Board will also evaluate the accommodations being requested by the student and determine whether the accommodations are appropriate in light of the documentation and relevant applications of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 incorporating the changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. If the documentation does NOT meet the established guidelines, the Review Board may grant provisional accommodations until the necessary information is submitted. Students will be notified in writing of the decision of the Documentation Review Board.
Section 504/ADA - Grievance Procedure
The University of Pittsburgh has adopted an internal grievance procedure for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by federal regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Section 504 and ADA state, in part, that "no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by such an entity."
Issues that are grievable include, but are not limited to, a denial of a requested accommodation, the inadequacy of an accommodation, the inaccessibility of a program or activity due to disability, or discrimination or harassment based on disability.
All such complaints should be addressed to the attention of the Office of Diversity Inclusion, c/o Cheryl Ruffin, Manager of Affirmative Action, 200 Craig Street 5th Floor Pittsburgh, PA 15260, Tel: (412) 648-7292, who has been designated to coordinate the University’s Section 504 and ADA compliance efforts.
The following steps explain the procedure:
Student Rights and Responsibilities
Students with disabilities at the University of Pittsburgh have the right to:
Students with disabilities at the University of Pittsburgh have the responsibility to:
Guidance on Service and Emotional Support Animals
The University of Pittsburgh complies with The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and amendments in allowing the use of Service Animals on campus. The ADA defines Service Animal as “…any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” The work or tasks performed by a Service Animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. A Service Animal is permitted to accompany the person with a disability at any time, which includes places where pets are not permitted.
Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not Service Animals. Students who require the use of a Service Animal on campus are encouraged to contact Disability Resources and Services (DRS). The Service Animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the Service Animals’ work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the student must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective control.
Inquiries regarding Service Animals
Individuals cannot be asked about the nature or extent of their disability, but two inquiries can be made to determine whether an animal qualifies as a Service Animal
The University of Pittsburgh cannot require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a Service Animal. Also, individuals are prohibited from making inquiries about a Service Animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).
Emotional Support Animals
The University recognizes the importance of emotional support animals to individuals with a documented disability. An emotional support animal may provide emotional support, stability and comfort. Emotional support animals are not required to be trained to perform a specific job or task and therefore they do not qualify as “Service Animals” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Emotional support animals are only permitted in University of Pittsburgh residence halls if the animal has been determined to be a reasonable accommodation for an individual with a disability by DRS.
To receive housing accommodations, Disability Resources and Services requires that you submit appropriate medical documentation that confirms that you are an individual with a disability. Should the housing accommodation be deemed reasonable, you will be required to agree to the established Emotional Support Animal guidelines of the University.
University of Pittsburgh FERPA Notification of Rights
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
Questions concerning the University’s FERPA Policy may also be directed to the Office of the Registrar at 814-362-7602.
University of Pittsburgh Rights and Responsibilities
The University of Pittsburgh has the right to:
The University of Pittsburgh has the responsibility to:
E-mail the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at email@example.com to request the development of an individualized evacuation plan. A representative of this office will contact you for specific
For additional information, check the EHS Building Evacuation & Fire Safety page »
You may also wish to check Emergency Evacuation Preparedness: A Guide For People with Disabilities and Other Activity Limitations,
by June Isaacson Kailes.
If you have additional questions or specific disability-related needs, contact me directly at 814-362-7609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When a Student Asks a Faculty Member for an Accommodation
If a student makes a request for an accommodation directly to the faculty member, that faculty member should ask the student for an Accommodation Letter from DRS that verifies the disability and the appropriateness of the accommodation. If the student is not registered with DRS, they should be referred to the office. This ensures that the student is qualified under the law as having a disability and that the accommodation they requested is appropriate for their disability.
DRS does not recommend that faculty directly ask students if they have a disability and need an accommodation. If a student is having difficulty in the course and a faculty member suspects a disability, it is appropriate to discuss the difficulty (i.e., poor writing) as they would with any student. However, concerns about a possible disability should be discussed first with the DRS coordinator.
When a Student with a Disability is in Your Class
Have a conversation with the student about how his/her disability may affect their learning. Understand that students with similar disabilities may have very different learning styles.
Consider adaptations in the presentation of information. For example students with low vision do not benefit from visual learning tools such as slides or power point, therefore including text descriptions of each slide could be very beneficial. Students with auditory processing disorders may not be able to follow multiple conversations in small group discussions, therefore consider asking each group to designate a person to take notes reflecting the discussion.
Announce early in the term that you want to meet, in person, with students who have disabilities. Inform students that simply placing the Accommodation Letter in the instructor's departmental mailbox will not suffice.
When you are choosing textbooks for your class, remember that the earlier you submit your textbook selection, the sooner DRS can begin the alternative format conversion process.
Announce any changes to the syllabus well in advance; students who use alternate format text may need additional time to receive their readings or to complete the reading assignment. If a student indicates that DRS did not prepare their materials in a timely manner, contact the office to confirm this information.
If you suspect a disability because of a student's attendance or performance, talk to the student about your observations without labeling. Ask the student to describe what he/she is experiencing. If you are comfortable doing so, offer advice about how to approach studying or improving performance and request additional meetings with the student. If the student continues to experience difficulties, refer the student to DRS for consultation.
Maintain confidentiality regarding all communications with students who have disabilities. Requests for information should be sent to DRS.
Remember that it is the student's decision whether on not to disclose a disability. The student may be registered with DRS but also choose not to disclose to faculty.
It is important that faculty and staff recognize the important role that confidentiality plays in working with students with disabilities. The University is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of both current and former students with disabilities. As a general rule, all information regarding a student's disability is confidential. Only the particular student and DRS will need to know confidential information regarding a student with a disability.
This confidentiality rule applies to all information, regardless of its source. You may, for example, receive confidential information from a representative from DRS, who is sharing the information with you on a need-to-know basis. You may also receive confidential information from the student regarding his or her disability, such as information regarding a student's medication or other medical history, or information regarding their academic progress in other courses. You also should treat any accommodations provided to a student as confidential, and should share the details of such accommodations only on a need-to-know basis.
There may be times when someone directly asks you for information about astudent with a disability that is considered confidential. For example, classmates of a student with a disability who is receiving an accommodation may inquire as to why the student receives extra time on a test, or why the student is never in the classroom on test days. An appropriate response to such inquiries regarding students with disabilities may be: "Each student's academic program is confidential, including your own, and I'm unable to discuss any student's situation with their classmates."
If you have any questions regarding confidentiality while working with a student with a disability, such as who qualifies for the "need-to-know" exception to confidentiality, you should discuss the issue with the particular student and/or DRS.
Working with Interpreters
Role of the Interpreter
Sign language interpreting is very much like spoken foreign language, except that it involves the use of the language of signs. The interpreter has a single responsibility in your class, that being to facilitate communication between you and your deaf student(s), and between the deaf student(s) and hearing classmates. The interpreter is responsible for interpreting all information as accurately as he or she can, without embellishment or deletion. The interpreter is NOT a teacher, a tutor, nor an aide for the deaf student.
Deaf Student's Reliance on Vision
Deaf students frequently sit in the front row of the classroom in order to see the instructor, the interpreter, and the board. The interpreter generally sits facing the deaf student-it is essential that you keep the visual line of communication open by avoiding walking between them. Sometimes, the interpreter may need to reposition. For example, if the class is watching uncaptioned videotape, the interpreter will move next to the television screen. Be sure to pause to allow the interpreter time to take up her new position.
Deaf students prefer to have captioned media when available. If the program selected is not available in captioned format, it will need to be interpreted. In this case, ideally the interpreter should have access to the program in advance of the class viewing.
Length and Pace of Class
Interpreting is very demanding physically. It is therefore recommended that you:
Depending on the length and pace of your class, two interpreters may be assigned to your class as a team, switching every 20-30 minutes.
It is also important that you control the pace of your class. If you tend to speak rapidly, or have rapid interchanges between yourself and your students, you may want to consider pausing more frequently. If you do not know whether your pace is too fast, ask your interpreter to let you know if the speed becomes a problem.
Complex Concepts and Obscure Terms
Most interpreters are not content experts therefore it is helpful for the interpreter to have copies of the textbook, course syllabus, and handouts in order to provide more accurate information.
Interpreters often rely on fingerspelling to communicate ideas. Fingerspelling is a way of representing the alphabet on the hand. Many terms, including people's names and uncommon scientific vocabulary, do not have a sign equivalent and therefore, must be finger spelled. Writing new vocabulary words of this kind on the board will greatly aid the interpreter.
Seminars and Open Class Discussion
Seminars and classes that encourage free-flowing discussion present a special challenge to interpreters. Such classes often exclude the deaf student, not by intent, but because of the quick pace and unstructured interchanges.
Multiple conversations cannot be interpreted, so it is important that only one person speak at a time. Often, there is a self-appointed "conversational policeman" who will point out when it appears that the deaf student has a question or comment to make, or remind the class when individuals are speaking over each other. When asking a question in a regular class lecture, wait until after the interpreter has completed signing the question before you call on students for an answer. This pause allows deaf students an opportunity to see the full question and then raise their hands if they wish to participate.
The best resource for additional information on your use of interpreters is the interpreter in your class.
Test Proctoring Service
To have a test proctored at DRS
Disability Resources and Services (DRS) provides the University community with objective consultation and general information regarding the rights and responsibilities of employees with documented disabilities.
How do I request a reasonable accommodation?
Employees or applicants in need of assistance or accommodations should notify their supervisor or Carma Horner, Disability Resources and Services Coordinator, at 814-362-7609 or email@example.com. It is the responsibility of the employee with a disability to self identify and inform the University that an accommodation is requested. Requests for reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis involving a cooperative effort among the employee making the request, the supervisor and Disability Resources and Services, with due consideration of the documentation that has been submitted.
What is an accommodation?
An accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.
Recommended Syllabus Statement
On February 27, 2001, the Faculty Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to include the following statement on course syllabi.
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services, 202 Hanley Library, 814-362-7609 as early as possible in the term.
Disability Resources and Services reviews documentation related to a student's disability, provides verification of the disability, and recommends accommodations for specific courses.
Temporary medical conditions such as broken or sprained bones, infectious diseases, general surgery, non-complicated pregnancy or other common medical conditions are not regarded as disabilities. The degree of functional limitation and duration of the above-mentioned conditions, typically, does not cause enough impairment to qualify an individual as having a disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Disability Resources and Services does, however, recognize that temporary medical conditions can be problematic and therefore offers the following suggestions.
Students and staff who desire designated handicap parking on campus need to obtain a state-issued Person with Disability/Severely Disabled Veteran Parking Placard by application through the commonwealth or the state in which their vehicle is registered. For Pennsylvania residents, the application for can be found at the state Department of Motor Vehicles site. Individuals must meet the state's criteria to receive a temporary or permanent placard for accessible parking.
Handicapped parking spaces will be assigned to designated parking lots based on availability. The cost of an HP space will be the same as the standard parking permit. Person with Disability/Severely Disabled Veteran Parking Placards will be honored as long as a valid University permit for that lot is also displayed. Contact the Parking Services Office to arrange for handicap parking.
Our attendance policy is specific to the course in which you are enrolled. Consult with your instructor regarding his/her attendance policy. If your medical condition results in a significant number of absences you might consider resigning from the term. Instructors with specific attendance polices can hold you accountable for absences from class regardless of reason.
Certain temporary medical conditions may necessitate resignation from an academic term.
Information on the resignation process can be obtained from the Office of Student Affairs, 220 Frame-Westerberg Commons.
Writing and Test Taking
If arm/hand movement is restricted and subsequently affects your ability to write (take notes) and/or to take tests, Disability Resources and Services suggests that you inform your instructor of your temporary impairment, its expected duration and alternative methods for completing examinations. Disability Resources and Services also suggests you ask a fellow classmate for a copy of lecture notes. If writing will be affected for an extended period of time, consider investing in a speech-to-text software program.
If you have additional questions or specific disability-related needs, contact the Coordinator of DRS at 814-362-7609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.