The office of Accessibility and Mental Health Services at the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College is committed to advocacy for students with ADA documented disabilities. It is the policy of the University to ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations as mandated by state and federal law.

The transition to college life can be overwhelming, and we are here to help. Our goal is to provide individualized support that focuses on your specific strengths and encourages independence. We will work with you as you cultivate self-advocacy and life skills as well as can help you build your network of resources.

For general information about special services for students with disabilities, please contact:



Consideration for eligibility for Accessibility Services is open to any student (full-time, part-time, commuter or resident) who has a documented disability. Students who meet the Americans with Disabilities Act qualified criteria are eligible for post-secondary disability services.

Qualified Criteria

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has a three-part definition of disability. Under ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; OR (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. 


The Office of Accessibility and Mental Health Services provides services for over 5% of the student population, including students with:

  • Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, AD(H)D
  • Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Visual Impairments
  • Chronic Illness/Medical Conditions
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Orthopedic/Mobility Disorders
  • Psychiatric/Psychological Disabilities

We maintain good working relationships with local social service agencies. We can assist with linkage/referral to services within the community based on student need.

Students can also receive counseling services free of charge from a qualified mental health professional. Counseling is provided by Woodland Centers, Inc. and is ABSOLUTELY free to all students. Contact us to learn more about the confidential mental health services available to you (740) 245.7439.

The Process

To obtain ACCESSIBILITY services, the following steps must be followed:

  • Students are referred to the Accessibility office through an informal referral process. External/internal sources and self-referrals are all acceptable.
  • The initial interview engages students through the completion of an intake packet as well as assessment and individualized planning.
  • Students are expected to provide medical and/or psychological documentation of disability for eligibility determination. If the documentation is from the referring high school, an Evaluator’s Team Report (ETR) with specific evaluation outcomes is preferred.
  • Reasonable accommodations are written after eligibility is established.
  • Students sign a contract for accommodations and hand-deliver individual letters to instructors.
  • Once instructors receive letters of notification, it is recommended that they sign/keep a copy for personal records and implement suggested intervention.
  • Lastly, instructors are asked to return the signed forms to Accessibility or the appropriate Academic Dean.
How to Register with Disability Services

Step 1: Obtain Disability Documentation 

To better support you, we need learn more about the nature and impact of your disability from a professional.

Common forms of documentation include, but are not limited to:

  • An IEP and ETR or 504 Plan
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Audiogram

Step 2: Submit your Documentation

Documentation can be submitted:

  • In person to the office of Accessibility  (Rhodes Student Center, 118)
  • Via email to: accessibility@rio.edu
  • Via fax to 740.245.7341

When faxing or emailing, please include your contact information.

*Important*  If you need to take your placement test(s) with accommodations, please notify us when submitting documentation.

Step 3: Check your Email

You will receive an e-mail within 2-5 business days of receipt of your documentation. 

The email will notify you to either schedule your intake appointment with us or that we require additional information.

Step 4: Meet with the office of Accessibility for an

Intake Interview.

During your intake, you will discuss your disability. Based on this information, we will create an accommodation plan that you can use to receive services at URG/RGCC. You will also be trained on how to utilize approved services and accommodations.

If you have questions about documentation or the intake process, feel free to call 740.245.7439.

How to refer a student to the Office of Accessibility
  • If a student requests an accommodation but does not have an official request, refer him/her to Accessibility.
  • Instead of accepting documentation of disability directly from a student, refer him/her to Accessibility to officially register and request accommodations.
  • If you are concerned about a student who is struggling, you can refer him/her to Accessibility. If we are unable to help, we will link students with resources that can assist them.

Accessibility Forms

In order to establish a file with the office of Accessibility, the completion of an intake packet is requested. Typically, this is done during an initial interview to build rapport between counselor and student.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for disability services?

Students who meet the Americans with Disabilities Act qualified criteria.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has a three-part definition of disability. Under ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; OR (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.  Students requesting services and accommodations are required to register by submitting documentation of the medical, psychological and/or learning disability from a qualified practitioner that clearly states a diagnosis and provides supporting information of the need for accommodations.  Services and accommodations are determined by the manner in which the disability creates a barrier to equal participation in programs and services.

What is an accommodation?

An accommodation is a modification, adjustment, or elimination of a barrier to a program or services to enable a disabled individual to participate on an equitable basis. Examples are extended time for test-taking, quiet testing environment, note takers, assistive technology, etc.

How do I know if a student is registered with the Department of Accessibility?

Students are asked to provide the Accessibility Office with their class schedules each semester. Where appropriate, a letter with specific recommendations for accommodation(s) will be prepared by the Director of Accessibility for the student to hand-deliver to his/her instructor(s). This is done to promote dialogue. If a student comes to you requesting accommodations outside of the above procedure, you should ask that the student contact the Accessibility Office.

What should I do if I receive a notification letter from Accessibility about a disabled student?

When a student discloses her/his disability to you, you should meet with the student and establish a means of providing the indicated accommodation(s) that is satisfactory to you and the student.  Remember: the object is not to make the class easier, but to make it equal for all students.

What should I do if I know that a student would qualify for disability services, but the student has not contacted me about the need for accommodations?

Instructors are responsible for providing reasonable accommodations in a timely manner.  Students are responsible for making a specific request for reasonable accommodations directly to the instructors.  Instructors are not expected to anticipate the special needs of a student. Notification letters are provided to the student to hand-deliver to the instructors to address their special circumstances.  Many students find that accommodations are not needed in a class, so they choose not to meet with you to discuss their disability.  You are not responsible for providing accommodations to a student unless that student “self proclaims” with a notification letter from the Accessibility Office.  A highly recommended practice would be to document any unusual circumstance, including the student’s behavior, taking place in your classroom. If you see a student struggling, we welcome new referrals to the office of Accessibility. If we are unable to help, we can link students to resources within the community.

What should I do if the student has requested an accommodation but I haven’t received a letter of notification from the Dept. of Accessibility?

Please refer the student to the Accessibility Office. It is the responsibility of the student to self-proclaim disability.

How do I know if the accommodations are reasonable?

Students are expected to fulfill the essential academic functions (your Syllabus) of the course. Accommodations are developed to modify barriers caused by the disability to enable the student to participate or to be evaluated on an equal basis as their non-disabled peers. Accommodations are not intended to alter the requirements of the course. If you have questions about the appropriateness of a request for accommodation, you should contact our office for clarification.

Who is responsible for accommodations?

Instructors who have been contacted by the student are required to fulfill the accommodation requested. Any faculty member who fails to do so may be held liable for this noncompliance.

What assistance is available to me when testing accommodations are requested?

The most commonly requested accommodation is extended time for test-taking. If taking the test in the classroom or elsewhere in your building is not possible, students may take the test in the Rhodes Testing Center. Students who need tests read aloud are best served when you administer the test, but the Accessibility staff and the Testing Center are willing to assist in these cases.

What is the policy on confidentiality?

Information regarding students with disabilities is confidential.

And what if I have other questions about this?


This government site contains information on legal rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities entering post-secondary education.



Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)

Provides information about ADD/ADHD and a directory of local chapters of the organization. The site also has information on subscribing to its magazine, Attention.

Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)

Lists directories of support groups and professionals who work with people who have ADD. It also publishes a newsletter and hosts webinars on coping with ADD.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE)

Provides community support and education for adults, teens, children, and families with Asperger’s Syndrome.

AHEADD (Achieving in Higher Education with Autism/Developmental Disabilities)
AHEADD’s Boston branch

Provides support for college students with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD, High-Functioning Autism, Learning Disabilities, and Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities.

Online Asperger Syndrome Information (OASIS)

A comprehensive resource for reference materials, event information, and professional help. Includes a newsletter and message boards.

Hearing Impairment


Devoted to furthering educational opportunities for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDAA)

A support association for people with learning disabilities, which has a large resource network.

The International Dyslexia Association

A nonprofit organization that provides education and support for people with dyslexia.

Physical Disabilities

New Mobility

A magazine for wheelchair users. Its website features blogs and a message board.

Visual Disabilities

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Offers information about vision loss, links to support organizations, job listings, and message boards.



Office of Accessibility is located in the James A Rhodes Student Center on the University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College campus.

Business hours: 8-5 Monday – Friday
Closed each day from 12-1 for lunch

Primary Contact: accessibility@rio.edu

James A. Rhodes Student Center




Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy

Under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity operated by the University of Rio Grande or Rio Grande Community College ("Rio Grand"). Title IX ensures equal access to those programs and activities for our students and employees of all gender identities. Rio Grande is dedicated to providing a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff.

It is the policy of the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College not to discriminate on the basis of gender in the educational programs, activities, or
employment policies as required by Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX may be directed to the Affirmative Action Office of the University and the Community College, (740) 245-7228, or to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, D.C.

Furthermore, the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College affirm that policies and practices relating to housing, academic and social life, and employment are applied without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, genetic information, gender identity, genetic information, religion, disability, age, marital status, national or ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, veteran status, political affiliation. or  other characteristics protected by federal, state, or local law. Inquires in this regard should be directed to the President of the University of Rio Grande or Rio Grande Community College.

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