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Disability Services

At Lesley University, we’re committed to providing equal or equally effective alternative access to academic, social, cultural, and recreational programs for all qualified individuals with disabilities.

Our Disability Services team works with faculty, staff, and students to make appropriate adjustments to provide this access. Educational access includes the provision of classroom accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services.

Accommodations allow all students equal opportunities inside the classroom, around campus, and at university-sponsored events off campus.

*Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and other relevant state and federal regulation.

Types of Accommodations

Our Disability Services Office approves and facilitates the following accommodations:

  • Academic

    Academic accommodations are adjustments or supports to course-related requirements, according to disability-related needs. Some of our academic accommodations include deadline extensions for assignments, conversion of textbooks and course materials into electronic format for use with technology, and use of tutors, aides, or writing assistants.

  • Testing

    Testing accommodations are adjustments to exams and quizzes to make the testing environment accessible, based on the nature of the disability. Examples include extended time for exams, a distraction-free environment, reader, scribe, or large print.

  • Classroom

    Classroom accommodations are adjustments to the classroom experience to make it accessible for students, according to their disability-related needs. Examples are special chairs, seating in a specific part of the classroom, note-taking services, and approved use of technology, such as a computer or Smartpen.

  • Housing

    Housing accommodations provide students with access needs for living on campus.

  • Meal

    Students living on campus may have a food-related disability that limits their ability to participate in our meal program, such as food allergies or an autoimmune disease like Celiac disease. These students may need a modification to the university's mandatory meal plan.

Requirements for Students

As a university student, you have new freedoms and responsibilities. While at Lesley, you’re expected to manage your own time and schedule, seek out assistance or resources, and advocate for yourself.

If you’re a student seeking accommodation, you’ll need to:

  • Self-identify as a person with disability at our Disability Services Office
  • Provide sufficient documentation of disability from an appropriate healthcare professional
  • Follow our policies and procedures for requesting reasonable accommodations each semester, and give your accommodations letters to faculty
  • Arrange for and obtain your own personal assistants and individually designed assistive technologies

Keep in mind that accommodations provided to you in high school may not be appropriate at the college level. As a post-secondary institution, Lesley is not required to:

  • Reduce or waive any of the essential requirements of a course or program
  • Conduct testing and assessment of learning, psychological, or medical disabilities
  • Provide personal assistants
  • Prepare Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
"Disability Support Services is a catalyst for ensuring students' equity and excellence in education, maximizing their potential while helping them develop and maintain independence. Our philosophy encourages self-awareness, self-determination, self-advocacy, and independence while providing a safe, caring and respectful environment that supports growth and learning."
Disability Services Team

How to Request Classroom, Academic, Testing, or Meal Accommodations

Students should follow these 4 steps to request disability-related accommodations.

Denied Accommodation Requests

Lesley engages with each student in response to the student’s request for accommodations and determines whether it will be granted. The university may propose alternative reasonable accommodations for a student request.

If an accommodation is denied, you may appeal the decision to the ADA/504 Coordinator, Valerie Yeakel (vyeakel@lesley.edu), using the Accommodation Appeal Form (PDF). You may reapply for the accommodation for the next semester.

Circumstances in which academic, classroom, meal, or testing accommodations will be denied include, but are not limited to:

  • Student Does Not Provide Required Documentation

    If you don’t submit documentation of your disability, and other required documentation regarding the request, to Disability Services, the university will not provide any disability accommodation.

    However, you may use other support services, such as tutoring, which is available to all students. Contact the Center for Academic Achievement about student support services at caa@lesley.edu.

  • Fundamental Alteration

    If an accommodation fundamentally alters the academic standards of the university, its schools, departments, or courses, such a request will be denied.

  • Undue Burden

    If the university determines that providing an accommodation would present an undue burden, the university does not need to provide the accommodation. If a request can’t be accommodated, the university will seek to work with you to identify whether there are alternative accommodations that don’t present an undue burden.

  • Personal Service

    Personal services are those that a person with a disability must use regardless of attendance at the university. Personal services may include independent living or personal care attendants, transportation other than shuttle services, diagnostic testing, and rehabilitation, among others. If a request for an accommodation falls under the definition of a personal service, the university denies the request because it is unreasonable. The university won't provide individually prescribed devices.

  • Direct Threat to Health or Safety of Others

    If a requested accommodation would cause a significant risk to the health or safety of others, the university will deny the accommodation.

Requesting Accommodations and Student Choice

When choosing among reasonable accommodations, Lesley can’t guarantee that you’ll be provided your preferred accommodation choices. If your preferred choice isn’t granted, then the university will provide equally effective alternatives, subject to the limitations previously described.

How to Request Housing Accommodations

Please start your request for housing accommodations by completing the Housing Accommodations Request Form. Your healthcare provider should then complete the Housing Accommodations Recommendation Form. Submit both forms to disabilityaccess@lesley.edu. We’ll meet with you to discuss your specific situation and additional forms that may be required.

Accessible housing is available to students who have disabilities that substantially impact one or more major life activities as they relate to housing.  The purpose of housing accommodations is to address aspects of residential life that are inaccessible in relation to a student’s disability. Each request is assessed individually in light of the specific facts presented.  We consider multiple factors in our assessment, including but not limited to the following:

  • The connection between the impact of the disability and the requested accommodation
  • Recommendation and documentation from an appropriate clinician or healthcare provider
  • The financial or administrative burden of providing the accommodation
  • Available space
  • The impact, if any, on other students
  • Safety concerns  

Accessible options in residence halls vary. Assignment to a specific residence hall or campus and roommate preference cannot be guaranteed. Housing accommodation requests must be submitted every year.

Please note: Residential students with disabilities who require the use of service or assistance animals in university student housing should contact Holly Aldrich (haldric2@lesley.edu), to review our process. Assistance and service animals must not be in residence until approval by Disability and Access Services. Please see the Lesley University Policy on Pets, Service Animals, and Assistance Animals for Students Living in University Housing for additional information.

Decision and Appeals for Housing Accommodations

We'll notify you in writing of our decision on housing accommodation requests. 

If an accommodation is denied, you may appeal the decision to the ADA/504 Coordinator, Valerie Yeakel (vyeakel@lesley.edu), using the Accommodation Appeal Form (PDF). More information about the grievance procedure can be found at Disability Services Policies.  The university may propose alternative reasonable accommodations for a housing accommodation request.

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