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Disability Evaluation

Disability Evaluation

Eligibility for protection under the ADA and Section 504 requires the applicant to meet one of the following three criteria:

  • Have a physical or mental condition that substantially limits one or more major life activity
  • Have a record of such a physical or mental condition
  • Be regarded as having such an impairment, whether actually having the impairment or not

Examples of disabilities include, but are not limited to the following: Arthritis, Attention deficit disorders, Blindness/low vision, Cerebral Palsy, Communication disorders, Deafness/hearing impairments, Emotional/psychological disabilities, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Seizure disorders, Specific learning disabilities, Spinal cord injuries,Traumatic brain injuries,Other health impairments.

Evaluation by Type

If you suspect that you may have a disability and need accommodations for your academics at UNM, below are some important details for getting your disability evaluated.

Psychological Disabilities

Accessibility Resource Center requires a letter from a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or DHS/DVR. Documentation may include diagnostic treatment information, and potential medication side effects. Psychological disabilities include, but are not limited to, depression, bipolar disorder (or manic depressive disorder), anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. Determination of eligibility for services is based on severity, duration, and onset of the disorder. On rare occasions, classroom behavior may become an issue. All students are expected to maintain appropriate behavior. If problems occur, consulting the Student Code of Conduct and handling the behavior issues according to departmental policies is appropriate. Accessibility Resource Center is available for consultation when necessary. Some students undergoing treatment take prescription medication to help control symptoms. This medication may have side effects such as drowsiness or disorientation.

Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Traumatic/Acquired Brain Injury

A copy of the comprehensive psycho educational report must be provided to Accessibility Resource Center at UNM in order for the student to be eligible for accommodations and/or modifications. Documentation should include testing scores and a verifying statement from a school psychologist, clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, or other qualified professional. This group of students comprises the largest population of students served by Accessibility Resource Center. Learning disabilities affect the manner in which individuals acquire, integrate, and/or express knowledge. Learning disabilities may affect a student’s performance in reading, writing, spoken language, mathematics, or orientation to space and time.

Accessibility Resource Center requires medical records for students with visual and/or hearing disabilities and, in particular instances, may accept verification of disabilities from the Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DHS/DVR). Documentation must include narrative explanation for clarification and may include an audiogram and/or optometric results. Documentation must include specific restrictions due to a physical disability and potential accommodations required.

Chronic Health Conditions

There are a number of chronic health conditions that may interfere with a student’s academic work, concentration, and attendance. Some students may be in pain, or taking medication with varying side effects such as drowsiness. Students with seizure disorders may be affected at any time without warning. Some medication can lessen or control seizures, but produce side effects such as slowed response and impaired coordination. Such medication makes it unlikely a seizure will occur in class. Faculty should contact emergency personnel when seizures occur.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The age of onset of a hearing disability will have a great impact upon the student’s English ability, both spoken and written. Generally, English is considered a second language for deaf and hard of hearing students when signed language is the dominant mode of communication. Appropriate requests include use of a Signed Language interpreter, real-time captioning, note taking, providing all directions in writing, and closed-captioned videos.

Physical Disabilities

Physical access is one of the major concerns for students with physical disabilities. Students may encounter unavoidable delays during inclement weather, heavy foot traffic times, and periods of construction. If a classroom is inaccessible, Accessibility Resource Center will work with the department to relocate the class to an accessible location. In order to fully participate in classroom activities some students may require educational assistants as an approved accommodation. When a course requires travel to alternative locations, those locations and transportation must be accessible.

Visual Disabilities

Visual disabilities may vary from total blindness to low vision. Students with visual disabilities may experience eyestrain, light sensitivity, and an inability to read printed material or to distinguish certain colors. Students who have been blind from birth have no visual memories. Their concepts of objects, space, and distance may be different from those persons who develop visual disabilities later in life. Mobility and orientation skills also vary due to numerous factors. Students with low vision may not have an apparent “visible” disability. Students may experience difficulty in performing in class readings, unannounced quizzes, open book tests, locating lecture information, completing scantron answer sheets, or viewing lecture notes.