Disability Resource Center FAQs
What is the Disability Resource Center and what do they do?
The Disability Resource Center is a department at Pratt Institute under Student Affairs that is dedicated to providing services to students with documented permanent or temporary disabilities. Our goal is to ensure equal access to all university programs. Our functions include but are not limited to providing classroom accommodations and services, such as notetakers, tutors, interpreters and assistive learning technology, advocating for students, and consulting with Institute faculty and staff on disability-related matters. Please click on "student services" for a full listing of services.
What constitutes a disability?
As defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a disability is a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or major life activities. If there exists a mental or physical condition, a history of such condition, or a condition which may be considered by others as substantially limiting, then you may have a legally defined disability.
What does substantially limiting mean?
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, substantially limiting is defined as unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people.
What is a “major life activity”?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, defines a major life activity as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
What should I know when applying to Pratt Institute and are there any special procedures?
When applying to Pratt Institute, prospective students need to work with the Office of Admissions and follow the guidelines. There are no special admissions procedures. However, students can apply to Educational Testing Services for accommodation considerations when taking standardized tests, such as the SAT. Contact the Educational Testing Services for further information. ETS Disability Services PO BOX 6054 Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6054 Registration with Disability Services (DS) office is a separate procedure. Please contact the office for more information: Disability Services Office c/o Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs Pratt Institute Main Building, Lower Level 008 200 Willoughby Ave. Brooklyn, New York 11205 718-636-3711
What should I do if I suspect that I have a disability and want to receive accommodations?
If you suspect that you have a disability that is impacting your academic performance, you will need to provide appropriate documentation of that disability from a qualified professional to the Disabilities Services Office. The qualified professional must be licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question. Documentation is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in order to provide requested academic accommodations. An appointment for an intake should be scheduled with the DS office in order to go over the documentation and determine which accommodations are appropriate. Disability Services provides diagnostic testing. Please contact the office to arrange a meeting for further discussion.
Disability Services is dedicated to providing services to students with documented permanent or temporary disabilities.
What is appropriate documentation?
Acceptable documentation must reflect the following: • Specific diagnoses supported by documentation • Current (in most cases, within three to five years) documentation • Specific findings in support of all diagnoses including relevant history, tests administered, test scores (including subtest scores), and the those test results • A description of the student’s functional limitations and how the limitations are directly related to the stated disabilities • Specific recommendations for accommodations for curriculum, instruction and testing, including an explanation of why these specific accommodations are needed • Documentation must be on a letterhead, typed, dated, and signed with the evaluator’s name, address, telephone number (in the event that the office needs to contact them) and professional credentials relevant to the diagnosis.
What kinds of accommodations are available?
Academic accommodations include, but are not limited to, testing accommodations, adaptive technology services, and assistance in arranging other support services (e.g., interpreters, note-takers, scribes, and readers).
I received accommodations in high school or I had an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). Can I use the IEP as documentation?
While the IEP is a valuable resource of information, it cannot be used as documentation of the disability.
What role do my parents play in the process?
Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults. As such, each student is responsible for his or her own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. Students are encouraged to have open communication with parents or other significant family members, however, the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) requires students to sign a DS Release of Information form to allow a discussion of your academic progress and grades with parents or other significant family members.
I have a physical disability and have trouble getting around. What types of accommodations are geared toward my needs?
Students with physical disabilities are encouraged to register with the DS office for support and advocacy with access to buildings and other Institute activities. Please contact the DS office for more information.
I'm a Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) client. Is there anything special I should know?
If you have a VESID counselor in your hometown, you are encouraged to have your home counselor contact VESID in New York so that services can be provided through the local office. Vesid website
I'm a Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) client. Is there anything special I should know?
If you have a RFB&D contact in your home town, you are encouraged to have them contact DS to provide information about your accessibility needs. Pratt Institute is an Institutional Member of the RFB&D. Please bring your class syllabi to the DS office to discuss ordering specific reading materials for you for the semester. RFBD website
What assurances does the DS office provide?
Civil and Equal Opportunity Rights: Students who are registered with the DS office may be assured that the coordinator will assist them to receive academic accommodations and access to buildings and all Institute activities. Please contact the DS office for more information.