Disability Services

Documentation Guidelines  |  Care Report   |  Accommodations

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown offers special services to students with disabilities in order to create optimal and equal access for academic success.

In collaboration, the Disability Services staff works with members of the campus community to ensure that the student is integrated into the University system in a way that promotes reaching his or her desired academic goals.

We provide information about our services and how to receive reasonable accommodations for a documented disability.  If you have additional questions or specific inquiries related to these services, contact us at 814-269-7119 or OHCS@pitt.edu.

Documentation Guidelines

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown documentation guidelines for services to students with disabilities.

Attention Deficit Disorder

Documentation requirements for an individual requesting services due to an attentional disorder must be completed by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other related medical professional with the experience or expertise in the domain for which he/she is diagnosing. Comprehensive documentation must be submitted that includes:

  • A clear statement of the existence of an attentional disorder;
  • A written report of:
    • Symptoms as described by the DSM-V
    • Evidence of early impairment
    • Results of diagnostic measures/instruments used to support attentional difficulties (include diagnostic report and scores)
    • Relevant medical and family history
    • Differential diagnoses that were excluded, including reasons for considering these and reasons for ruling them out
  • A description of the condition's current functional impact on learning or other major life activity relevant to the academic experience;
  • A statement addressing the individual's requested accommodation(s), including rationale as to why these accommodation(s) are warranted; 
    * Any request for an extension of time on examinations, based on the impairment, should be supported by evidence that reflects a measurable decline in pre-morbid functioning.
  • A statement regarding how medication (if appropriate) may or may not mitigate the attentional disorder. Include dosage, frequency, and any adverse side affects. 

Chronic Systemic Illness

Chronic and/or systemic illnesses are considered to be in the medical domain. Because of that, the documentation must be completed by a physician, neurologist, physiatrist, or other medical specialist with experience or expertise in the domain for which he/she is diagnosing. Comprehensive documentation must be submitted that includes:

1. A clear statement of the existence of a medically determinable chronic illness or systemic illness;

2. A written report of:

  • A detailed medical history
  • A complete physical examination (including a mental status examination)
  • Medical evidence consisting of medical signs, symptoms (duration, incidence and severity) and laboratory findings
  • Proof of a substantial reduction in previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities
  • Results of diagnostic test battery performed to rule out other causes of symptoms

3. A description of the condition's current functional impact on learning or other major life activity relevant to the academic experience;

4. A statement addressing the individual's requested accommodation(s), including rationale as to why these accommodation(s) are warranted; 
* Any request for an extension of time on examinations, based on the impairment, should be supported by evidence that reflects a measurable decline in pre-morbid functioning.

5. A statement regarding how the use of medication or other rehabilitative measures may or may not mitigate either the illness or the symptoms associated. 

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown offers special services to students with disabilities in order to create optimal and equal access for academic success. The disability services staff works with members of the campus community to ensure that the student is integrated into the University system in a way that promotes reaching his or her desired academic goals.

Pitt-Johnstown provides reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities. For more information, check Employee Services.

For specific inquiries, contact us at 814-269-7119 or OHCS@pitt.edu.

Learning Disabilities

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown offers special services to students with disabilities in order to create optimal and equal access for academic success. The disability services staff works with members of the campus community to ensure that the student is integrated into the University system in a way that promotes reaching his or her desired academic goals.

Pitt-Johnstown provides reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities. For more information, check Employee Services.

For specific inquiries, contact us at 814-269-7119 or OHCS@pitt.edu.

Orthotic Impairments

Documentation requirements for an individual requesting services due to any type of orthopedic impairment must be completed by a physician, physiatrist, orthopedist, or other medical specialist with the experience or expertise in orthopedic impairment.

Comprehensive documentation must be submitted that includes:

  • A clear statement of the existence of a medically determinable orthopedic impairment;
  • A written report of:
  • A detailed medical history
  • Results of a complete physical examination
  • Medical evidence consisting of medical signs, symptoms (duration, incidence, and severity), and laboratory findings
  • Proof of a substantial reduction in previous levels of movement
  • Results of diagnostic tests performed to rule out other causes of symptoms
  • A description of the condition's current functional impact on learning or other major activity relevant to the academic experience
  • A statement addressing the individual's requested accommodation(s), including rationale as to why these accommodation(s) are warranted
  • A statement regarding the use of any corrective devices or other rehabilitative measures, including medication that may or may not mitigate the orthopedic impairment

Any request for an extension of time on examinations based on the impairment should be supported by evidence that reflects a measurable decline in pre-morbid functioning.

Psychiatric Disabilities

Documentation requirements for an individual requesting services due to a psychiatric or psychological illness must be completed by a licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, or other medical specialist with experience in psychiatric disabilities.

Comprehensive documentation must be submitted that includes:

A clear statement of the existence of a psychiatric impairment, including a DSM-IV diagnosis A written report of:
  • History of presenting symptoms
  • Relevant developmental and familial information
  • Relevant medical history
  • Duration and severity of the disorder
  • Current treatments

 

Any request for an extension of time on examinations, based on the impairment, should be supported by evidence that reflects a measurable decline in pre-morbid functioning.

  • A description of the condition's current functional impact on learning or other major life activity relevant to the academic experience
  • A statement addressing the individual's requested accommodation(s), including rationale as to why these accommodation(s) are warranted
  • A statement regarding how the use of medication and/or psychotherapy may or may not mitigate the psychiatric/psychological disorder

Temporary Medical Conditions

Temporary medical conditions such as broken bones or sprains, 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 condition, typically does not cause enough impairment to qualify an individual as having a disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991.

Disability Resources and Services does, however recognize that temporary medical conditions can be problematic and therefore offers the following suggestions.

Parking
Pitt-Johnstown students, faculty, and staff who desire designated handicap parking on campus must 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. Pennsylvania residents can click here.  

Handicapped parking (HP) spaces will be assigned designated parking lots and garages based on availability. The cost of an HP space will be the same as the standard parking permit. Placards will be honored as long as a valid University permit for that lot is also displayed. 

Metered parking spaces reserved for individuals with placards are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Resignation
The University of Pittsburgh's attendance policy is specific to the school or 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. Please visit the Registrar's Office in 279 Blackington Hall for more details on this process.

Writing and Test-Taking
If arm or hand movement is restricted and subsequently affects your ability to write, take notes, or take tests, inform your instructor of your temporary impairment and its expected duration. Discuss alternate methods for completing examinations, or 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 Disability Services at 814-269-7119

Traumatic Brain Injury

A head and traumatic brain injury are considered to be in the medical domain and therefore the documentation must be completed by a physician, neurologist, neuropsychologist, psychiatrist, or other medical specialist with experience or expertise in the domain for which he/she is diagnosing. Documentation should be current, preferably within the past three years. However, this depends upon the disabling condition, the current status of the student, and the student’s request for accommodations.

Comprehensive documentation includes:

A clear statement of the head injury or traumatic brain injury, and the probable site of lesion A written report of:
  • Results of a complete physical examination (including a mental status examination)
  • A summary of cognitive and achievement measures used and evaluation results, including standardized scores or percentiles
  • A summary of present residual symptoms
  • Proof of a substantial reduction in previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities
  • Medical information relating to student’s needs, including the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment

 

Any request for an extension of time on examinations, based on the impairment should be supported by evidence that reflects a measurable decline in pre-morbid functioning.

  • A description of the current functional impact the head injury has on learning or other major life activity relevant to the academic experience
  • A statement addressing the individual’s requested accommodation(s), including rationale as to why these accommodation(s) are warranted

Visual Disorders

Documentation requirements for an individual requesting services from Pitt-Johnstown due to a visual disorder (blind or low vision) must be completed by an ophthalmologist or other medical specialist with the experience or expertise in visual disorders.

Comprehensive documentation includes:

  • A statement that describes and explains the visual disorder
  • A summary of the assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including standardized scores, if appropriate
  • Present symptoms that meet the criteria for the diagnosis Medical information relating to the status of the individual’s vision (static or changing)
  • A description of the condition’s current functional impact on learning or other major life activity relevant to the academic experience
  • A statement addressing the individual’s requested accommodation(s), including rationale as to why these accommodation(s) are warranted
  • A statement regarding how the use of corrective lenses, technology, or ongoing visual therapy may or may not mitigate the visual disorder
All documentation regarding disability services should be mailed to the Pitt-Johnstown campus at this address:
University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Office of Health & Counseling Services
G-4 Student Union
450 Schoolhouse Rd
Johnstown, PA  15904

Care Report

A care report is used to provide information to Student Affairs staff regarding concerns that you may have for a member of the University Community. You may remain anonymous. 

When To File:

The counseling staff is grateful for the referrals received by the faculty, staff, and students here at Pitt-Johnstown. It is important to work together to identify troubled students, educate them about the resources available to them, and encourage them to seek help. After a referral has been made, the counseling staff will follow up with the student and make every effort to encourage that individual to make a counseling appointment. All information shared by the student with the Counseling Center will be strictly confidential.

Signs that a student may be at risk:

  • Academic progress has decreased significantly despite attempts to intervene
  • Abilities and performance appear to be impaired by mental health and/or wellness issues
  • Displaying “disturbing” behaviors and/or expressing violent comments
  • Extreme changes in behavior or mood (i.e. crying, depression, disruptive behavior, attendance, decreased work performance, deteriorated hygiene, lethargic, attention problems, angry outbursts)
  • Excessive preoccupation with morbid themes, violent  fantasies, weapons or explosives

Accommodations

To Request Accommodations:

Upon admission to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, please complete the following steps to register with the Office of Health and Counseling Services:

  • Schedule an appointment with a Disability Services staff member (G-10 Student Union) to register as a student with a disability. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the documentation you have regarding your specific disability and reasonable accommodations that may be granted.
  • Complete a Disability Services Registration Form (This will be completed at the scheduled appointment noted above.)
  • Provide current and appropriate documentation of your disability. Please see documentation guidelines on the main Disability Services page.
  • Meet regularly with the Disability Services staff to review the effectiveness of services received, to update information or to discuss changes in services. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule appointments with the Disability Services staff and alert them of any concerns with respect to their accommodations.
  • Housing Accommodation Verification Form »

Note: Academic accommodations must be requested for each term you are enrolled. Accommodations are not automatically renewed. Services are free of charge for students with qualifying disabilities who have registered with the Office of Disability Services.

The Office of Disability Services is available to assist in obtaining the necessary documentation by providing referrals to qualified professionals.ote:

Accommodated Testing

Pitt-Johnstown Acommodation Policy and Procedure

Only students who have been approved for testing accommodations through the Pitt-Johnstown Office of Health and Counseling Services (OHCS) are entitled to use these accommodations.

Scheduling Exams

To schedule an exam, the student must complete a testing request form, which is located on the counter inside the Office of Health and Counseling Services (OHCS).

Students are required to complete this form and have their instructor sign it. The instructor keeps the top, white copy, and the remainder of the form is given back to the student.

Once the instructor has signed the request form, the student is responsible for submitting the remainder of the request form to OHCS at least three business days prior to the class test time.

Note: Please make note of college closures due to holidays, etc.

The following chart outlines when exams must be received by the Office of Health and Counseling Services (OHCS) in order to provide accommodated testing: 

For Exams Scheduled On…                                Test Request Must Be Received By…

Monday                                                                      The previous Wednesday

Tuesday                                                                      The previous Thursday

Wednesday                                                                 The previous Friday

Thursday                                                                     The Monday prior

Friday                                                                          The Tuesday prior

Failure to submit a testing request form within 3 days of the class test date will result in the inability to take the exam in the testing center.

Taking The Exam

  • On the day of the exam, make sure to arrive on time. Arriving late will result in forfeiture of that time missed. For example, if an exam is scheduled for 9 a.m. and the student arrives at 9:15 a.m., the student forfeits those 15 minutes.
  • No personal items are permitted in the testing room. Lockers will be provided for student’s to place their belongings if need be.
  • Once the test is started, students are not permitted to leave the testing room until the exam is over unless they have documented accommodations that allow for breaks.
  • Cheating and disruptive behavior is not permitted in the testing center.

Students who do not comply with these rules will be asked to leave the testing center and forfeit their ability to take the exam.

Rescheduling Exams/Missing Exams

Students are responsible for notifying their instructor as well as the Office of Health and Counseling Services (OHCS) if an exam is to be missed for any reason. It is up to the discretion of the instructor whether or not they will allow the student to make up the exam. In the event that the instructor allows the student to make up the exam, the student must complete another testing request form and submit it to the OHCS three days prior to the makeup exam date.

Delivering And Returning Accommodated Exams

Instructors are required to provide the Office of Health and Counseling Services (OHCS) a copy of the exam prior to the student’s test date and time.

The following options are available for exam delivery:

  • Hand delivery by instructor
  • Send through college mail
  • E-Mail: OHCS@pitt.edu

On the testing request form, the instructor will indicate how they would like to have the completed exam returned to them but, hand delivering it to the instructor, their secretary, or dropping it off in their mailbox is the preferred method. 

Service Animals

Service dogs complete a lengthy and rigorous training program with their owner in order to achieve certification as a service animal.

Service animals, typically dogs, are trained to provide their owner with valuable assistance in completing everyday tasks, monitoring symptoms of illness, and providing a level of safety to that person. When one approaches an individual with a service dog, there are important things to remember before you interact with that person and their dog:

  • The dog is working – when out in public, service dogs have certain responsibilities to their handler.  It is vital that the dog’s attention stay focused on their person. Greet the owner and ask before interacting with the dog – Many people love dogs and it is exciting to see them out in public.  Before you reach down to pet that dog, ask the owner first.  And be willing to respectfully accept “no” to your request.
  • Follow the owner’s instruction when interacting with the dog – Because of the importance of their job, service dogs have different rules for behavior than do pet dogs. Follow the owner’s lead: that person may have you wait for the dog to sit before you pet the dog, or ask that you not let the dog lick your face, or that person may have other instructions for how the dog must behave.  Respecting and following the owner’s instructions will help avoid the possibility of the dog learning bad habits that may jeopardize its ability to help the owner.
  • Ask thoughtful questions – We are often intrigued when we see an individual and a service dog working together to navigate the world and it is natural to have questions about the relationship between the owner and the dog. Be considerate about the questions that you might ask such as “How does the dog help you?” or “How was the dog trained?” instead of intrusive questions such as “Why do you need a dog?” or “Why can’t I bring my dog into the store?”

Things to avoid:

  • Resist the urge to feed a service dog anything, even dog treats
  • Never attempt to control the dog either with commands or by taking physical control of the leash or collar unless asked to do so by the owner
  • Avoid challenging a person with a service dog about their access rights

Disability and the Law

Students with disabilities are protected against discrimination by federal law.

Most notably, the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and require public institutions (including colleges and universities) to make reasonable accommodations for students with qualifying disabilities who make their disabilities and needs known to the institution.

For the purposes of the law, a disability is defined as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life functions (for example, walking, talking, breathing, hearing, and seeing). In addition to physical impairments, the laws also cover cognitive and emotional disabilities such as learning and attention disabilities and mental illness.

The law requires institutions that receive federal funds to provide accommodations to students with disabilities provided that the accommodations do not impose an undue financial burden on the institution (in practice, this standard is quite high) and provided that the accommodations do not compromise an essential element of the program or curriculum. 

Section 504/ADA Grievance Procedure

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is committed to providing supportive services to students with disabilities and will make every effort to provide the student with reasonable accommodations based on a documented disability. 

Generally, students are pleased with the granted accommodations determined by the Office of Disability Services. However, should a student disagree with the determination of eligibility or reasonable accommodations, he or she is encouraged to do the following:

  • Immediately, within fifteen (15) calendar days after a student receives a decision from the Office of Disability Services,  contact Dr. Theresa M. Horner, Executive Director, Office Health & Counseling Services/Disability Services, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, G-10 Student Union Building, Johnstown, PA  15904 and indicate his or her disagreement.  The student should then submit a written request for reconsideration and may provide any additional documentation for the review by the Documentation Review Committee.  All requests must be written and signed by the student.
  • If the student is not satisfied with the Documentation Review Committee’s decision the student may submit a written request to Student Affairs, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, 142 Student Union Building, Johnstown, PA  15904 within thirty (30) days of the Documentation Review Committee’s Decision.  All requests must be written and signed by the student.  Once a determination is rendered by Dr. Brooks the student is to indicate his or her agreement with the decision.  Should the student remain dissatisfied, the student will be provided with the contact information of the University Compliance Officer who has been designated to coordinate the University’s Section 504 and ADA compliance efforts.  

The Office of Disability Services is available to assist in obtaining the necessary documentation by providing referrals to qualified professionals.ote: