Overview of DAC process

Overview of DAC Process

This page provides an overview of the process the DAC follows when assessing a student’s request for disability-related accommodations.

Under Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended, to receive accommodations it is the student’s responsibility to identify themself to the DAC as having a disability and make an accommodation request. This is a change from public K-12 schools, which are responsible for identifying students with disabilities.

Step 1: Student applies for accommodations

Student completes the DAC New Student Application. If the student has documentation available, they are encouraged to attach it to the application. The DAC site includes more information about documentation in the accommodation process.

Step 2: DAC reviews the application

The DAC reviews the student’s application, including any additional documentation attached. To evaluate the accommodation and service request, the DAC needs information demonstrating:

  1. That the student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity and;
  2. How that disability is likely to impact the student at Western, including within the most common domains of university life (e.g. engaging in classroom, laboratory and online learning; reading, writing, and communication; housing and dining; using technology; navigating the physical environment).

Step 3: DAC and student have access planning meeting

Once a student has completed and submitted the DAC New Student Application, a DAC staff member will call or email the student to schedule an access planning meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to learn directly from the student what functional limitations the student is experiencing and what accommodations they may need to access their learning and other areas of university life.

The access planning meeting is a critical step in determining eligibility and accommodations. Applicable laws envision a meaningful and informed process with respect to the provision of accommodations, through a collaboration between the DAC and the student. This process is required to be interactive, with information exchanged between the student and DAC in order for the DAC to arrive at a conclusion about the requested accommodation. The DAC is required to evaluate student requests through a fact-specific, case-by-case inquiry. This process may be brief, or it may require multiple exchanges between the student and DAC about the nature of the disability and the accommodations requested.

Step 4: Determination of accommodations

The DAC may approve or deny the student’s request for accommodations based their professional assessment of information provided in the steps above.

Factors the DAC considers in making accommodation decisions throughout the interactive process include:

  • If the proposed accommodation is necessary to ensure that any academic requirements or technical standards do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating on the basis of the student’s disability.
  • If the proposed accommodation is necessary to provide the disabled student with meaningful access or an equal opportunity to gain the same benefits as their non-disabled peers.
  • If the proposed accommodation is logically connected to the impacts of the student’s disability and the barriers to access they experience in the academic and/or campus environment.
  • If the proposed accommodation is logically designed to address and remove the identified barrier to access.
  • If implemented, the proposed accommodation would be effective in removing  the identified barrier to access.
  • Whether the proposed accommodation:
    • Lowers an essential program standard
    • Fundamentally alters an essential program element or requirement
    • Poses an undue administrative or financial burden