The “interactive process” is the process by which Accessibility Services works with a student to determine what reasonable accommodations the College will provide. This page provides an overview of some of the key points of the process.
Through the interactive process, Amherst College seeks to achieve the following goals:
- Provide equal access to courses, programs, activities, and services;
- Practice non-discrimination in accordance with state and federal laws;
- Provide reasonable accommodations in a timely manner;
- Provide courses, programs, services, and facilities that are available and usable in the most integrated and appropriate settings; and
- Meet applicable accessibility standards for classroom materials provided by the College.
Students are eligible for reasonable accommodations if they have a disability and are “otherwise qualified” (meaning that they meet the essential academic and technical standards established by the College for admission to or participation in a program or activity). Students who are not eligible for reasonable accommodations are nonetheless eligible for assistance from other offices on campus (e.g., Case Management, Class Deans, Counseling Center, etc.).
The interactive process begins when a student with a disability seeks accommodations by contacting Accessibility Services. Accessibility Services will request documentation of the disability for which accommodation is being sought and will collaborate with the student and the student’s medical provider(s) to verify that the student is eligible for accommodations and to determine what accommodations are reasonable.
The following are essential to the interactive process and the College’s ability to provide reasonable accommodations:
- The student requesting an accommodation must do so in a reasonable period of time, and in accordance with any procedures the College has established for the specific type of accommodation requested;
- The College must receive timely documentation of the disability for which accommodation is being sought;
- The documentation must outline functional limitations that are consistent with the requested accommodation;
- The requested accommodation must not pose a health or safety risk; and
- The requested accommodation must not impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the College, or constitute a fundamental alteration to a program, service, or activity.
Although the College will strive to provide the student’s requested or preferred accommodation, certain circumstances may result in the College providing an alternative reasonable accommodation. Any such alternative reasonable accommodation will be effective and determined through the interactive process.
Students are encouraged to notify Accessibility Services if they encounter any difficulties with an approved accommodation.
The following services are not provided by the College, but may be available from other entities or agencies:
- Personal care
- Personal devices
- Psycho-educational evaluation/testing for the presence of a disability
- Transportation (unless provided for all students for a specific event)
- Personal coaching
All communications with, and records provided to, Accessibility Services will be maintained confidentially in accordance with federal law.