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Disability Services

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) provides service and accommodations for students with disabilities in all Biola University programs, activities, and functions, in accordance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973). Disability Services provides service for undergraduate students, graduate students, and students enrolled in the BOLD program. Students' disabilities are conceptualized as included in one of three categories:

  • Physical or Medical Disability
  • Psychological Disability
  • Learning Disability

An example of a physical or medical disability could include chronic physical impairments that are longstanding in nature, an illness, or even a recent injury. Examples of a psychological disability could include depression, anxiety, or another serious disorder. Examples of a learning disability could include difficulties with math, reading, or possibly diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Accommodations for a disability are designed to help the student function well in areas where disability might otherwise impair performance, without fundamentally altering the nature of the student's classes. To receive accommodations, a student must request the services of the ODS and provide documentation supporting the nature and limitations of a disability. Accommodations cannot be granted unless the student provides documentation that reasonably supports the requested accommodations.

Disability Services is part of the Office of Student Accessibility, located on the upper floor of the Library. For more information, contact (562) 903-4542.

Would you like answers to the most common questions?

Did you know that there are many differences in the way Disability Services are handled between high school and universities? The following questions will illustrate some of the differences:

  1. What are the laws that govern disability services?
    High schools are covered by IDEA, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.Universities are also covered by the California Education Code: Title 5.
  2. What is the difference between entitlement and rights, in regards to Disability Services?
    In high school, applicable laws grant that students are entitled to services. As such, the school districts are required to identify disability needs, assess the limitations of those disabilities, provide appropriate interventions and accommodations, and then periodically re-evaluate the student's progress. For universities, laws are written in the logic of civil rights (as opposed to educational entitlement), and grant that a student has a right to services, but the laws also specify that a student must assert and claim their right to equal access. This distinguishing feature alone has implications for how Disability Services are handled.
  3. Whose responsibility is it to identify a disability?
    In high school, the school district has this responsibility. In college, the student is responsible for providing proof of a disability. This means that the student must provide documentation that verifies the presence of a disability, and the documentation must indicate the degree of limitation that the disability has on the student.
  4. Who pays for assessments or evaluations for a disability?
    In high school there is generally no cost because the school or the district usually pays for the evaluation. In college, the student is responsible for any necessary payments.
  5. Where do I go for an assessment?
    In high school, parents and students usually do not concern themselves with this question because the school district is responsible for providing assessments. In college, Disability Services offices generally do not provide assessment services. Instead, a student may go to any qualified health professional to obtain their documentation. Please refer to the Disability Services Handbook for guidelines on what is considered "qualified."
  6. Are there certain guidelines that documentation of disability must adhere to?
    Yes. In high school, parents and students generally need not be aware of any specific requirements. In college, however, since the student is responsible for providing documentation, the student needs to be aware that documentation they provide must follow certain guidelines. Please refer to the Disability Services Handbook for these guidelines.
  7. What happens once a disability is identified?
    In high school, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is designed for the student by the school district to address identified needs. The IEP is then presented to the student and his or her parents. In college, the student is responsible for identifying and presenting his or her own needs to Disability Services. Accommodations are then granted on a case by case basis based upon these identified needs and documentation of the disability.
  8. Who is responsible to ensure the student's needs are met over time?
    In high school, the school district is responsible to insure that the IEP is carried through. The school district is also responsible to periodically re-evaluate the IEP to ensure it still addresses the student's needs. In college, once the student has been granted accommodations, the student is responsible for implementing them and for contacting Disability Services if any changes are felt to be necessary.
  9. Who advocates for the student?
    In high school, the teachers and school district advocate for the student. In college, the student advocates for himself/herself.
  10. What kind of alterations to the classes are possible?
    In high school, changes that alter the fundamental nature of a class are allowed in areas such as program of study, graduation requirements, and instructional methods. In college, accommodations may NOT alter the fundamental nature of a degree, graduation requirements, classes, or instructional methods.
  11. What about personal services?
    In high school, personal services are often provided from the students. In college, personal services are the student's responsibility.
  12. Who is responsible for transportation to and from school?
    In high school, transportation is usually offered by the school districts for student use. In college, it is the student's responsibility to provide transportation.