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Center for Dis/Ability & Accommodations

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Welcome to Western’s Center for Dis/Ability & Accommodations

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We work with students, faculty, and staff to ensure that all students at Western have equitable access to campus curricula, facilities, services, and resources through universal design, accommodations, and creative solutions.


We strive to provide access that is proactive, sustainable, equitable, and inclusive to the widest population possible.

Access Commitment

Western Colorado University values diversity and inclusion and is committed to a climate of mutual respect and full participation of all students. Our goal is to create a learning environment that is useable, equitable, inclusive and welcoming.

Our commitment to access includes the following:

  • Inclusive infrastructure
  • Assistive technologies and resources
  • Accommodation and support services
  • Disability awareness, acceptance, and training
  • Collaboration and advocacy

Our Services

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Request and manage your accessibility requests in one easy to use platform.

Welcome to Accessible Information Management (AIM). AIM is your one-stop platform for requesting, managing, and accessing your accommodations. You can request accommodations through AIM by submitting your documentation and providing essential information. Once approved, you may log into AIM to manage your accommodations, adjust if needed, and even submit new accommodation requests for upcoming courses or events. AIM lets you control your accommodations, allowing you to communicate with our team, access essential resources, and ensure a smooth and seamless accommodation experience throughout your academic journey. Log into AIM today and take charge of your accessibility needs.

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Create a learning environment where you'll thrive.

We believe in creating an inclusive and accessible learning environment for all students. We provide a range of academic accommodations tailored to meet individual needs. These accommodations may include:

  • Extended time for exams
  • Alternative formats for course materials
  • Accessible classroom seating
  • Note-taking support
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Assistive technology

Our dedicated team works closely with students, faculty, and staff to ensure that these accommodations are implemented effectively, promoting equal opportunities for success. Discover the various academic accommodations available and learn how we can support you on your academic journey.

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A living environment that meets your needs.

Our housing accommodations ensure that your living space meets your unique needs, whether it’s accessible features, modified furniture, private housing, emotional support animals, or other accommodations. Additionally, we provide dining accommodations catering to specific dietary requirements and restrictions, ensuring that you have a safe and enjoyable dining experience. Our team works closely with Residence Life and dining services to ensure your needs are effectively met. Explore our housing and dining accommodation options to learn more about how we can support your well-being and academic success while fostering a sense of belonging on campus. 

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Law and Policy

Embarking from 2024 onwards, the HB 22-1255 Improve Higher Education For Students With A Disability Act introduces a transformative phase for educational inclusivity. This initiative mandates the department of higher education to integrate essential data into its yearly “State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act” hearing. The focus lies on postsecondary achievements of students with disabilities.

In an unprecedented stride towards transparency and progress, the department will actively collaborate with institutions of higher education to compile this invaluable data. By working in harmony, we aim to empower students with disabilities, fostering an environment where their achievements are accurately documented, celebrated, and furthered.

Join us in embracing this pivotal chapter in higher education, one that reaffirms our commitment to a more inclusive and equitable future for all learners.

At Western Colorado University, we are committed to fostering an inclusive environment for all individuals. The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) stands as a cornerstone of this commitment, prohibiting any form of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. House Bill 21-1110 serves to reinforce and extend this protection by introducing key provisions:

  1. Equal Access to Services: Under the new regulations, it is considered discrimination to exclude an individual with a disability from participating in, or being denied the benefits of, services, programs, or activities offered by any Colorado government entity.

  2. Accessibility Planning and Compliance: A significant stride towards inclusivity is marked by the requirement for all Colorado government entities to develop a comprehensive accessibility plan by July 1, 2022. Additionally, these entities must ensure full compliance with accessibility standards established by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) by July 1, 2024. This ensures that government information technology is accessible to all, expanding the scope of accessibility standards beyond just those with vision impairments, encompassing all individuals with disabilities as defined by the ADA.

  3. As advocates for an equitable educational journey, we stand with House Bill 21-1110, advocating for broader accessibility and equal opportunities for all members of our community. Join us in embracing these pivotal changes and contributing to a future where inclusion knows no bounds.

Section 504 is a federal law that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities  in the context of public universities. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, no qualified individual with a disability shall be excluded from participating in, denied benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

At our University, we are committed to upholding the principles of Section 504. We provide reasonable accommodation and support services to ensure equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities. These accommodations may include academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, accessible facilities, and other necessary modifications.

Our office works closely with students, faculty, and staff to assess accommodation needs, implement reasonable adjustments, and promote an inclusive campus environment. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students can thrive academically, participate fully in campus life, and achieve their goals.

If you have a disability and require accommodations, we encourage you to contact our office. We are here to support you, advocate for your rights, and ensure your educational experience is accessible, inclusive, and empowering. Together, we can work towards removing barriers and creating an inclusive campus community that values diversity and fosters success for all.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a landmark federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various areas, including public universities. At our university, we are committed to upholding the principles and requirements of the ADA.

Under the ADA, qualified individuals with disabilities are entitled to equal access and opportunities in all aspects of university life. This includes access to programs, services, facilities, activities, and employment. Our university strives to provide reasonable accommodations and support services to ensure that individuals with disabilities can fully participate in the educational experience.

Our office is here to assist students with disabilities in navigating the ADA guidelines. We work closely with students, faculty, and staff to determine appropriate accommodations, facilitate communication, and address any concerns related to accessibility. We are dedicated to fostering an inclusive campus environment where every student has the opportunity to thrive academically and personally.

If you have a disability and require accommodation, we encourage you to connect with our Disability Services office. We are here to provide support, advocate for your rights, and collaborate with you to ensure equal access and opportunities in accordance with the ADA. Together, we can create a university community that values diversity, inclusivity, and the success of all individuals.

The Federal Fair Housing Act is a federal law that protects individuals with disabilities from housing discrimination, including within the context of housing at our public university.

Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against individuals with disabilities in housing-related matters. This includes university-owned or affiliated housing options. Western is committed to complying with the Fair Housing Act and providing equal housing opportunities for all students, regardless of their disability status.

Our office works closely with University housing departments to ensure that reasonable accommodations are available to students with disabilities. These accommodations may include accessible housing options, modifications to living spaces, or other necessary adjustments. We strive to create an inclusive housing environment that supports the needs and preferences of all students.

If you require housing accommodations due to a disability, we encourage you to contact our office and the Residence Life department. We are here to assist you in navigating the process and ensuring that you have equal access to university housing options.

We are dedicated to fostering an inclusive community where all students can live comfortably and participate fully in university life. By adhering to the Fair Housing Act, we strive to create an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported.

Western Colorado University must ensure its compliance with the HEOA textbook provision.  Section 133 of the HEOA states the following:


(a)     PURPOSE AND INTENT. —The purpose of this section is to ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials. It is the intent of this section to encourage all of the involved parties, including faculty, students, administrators, institutions of higher education, bookstores, distributors, and publishers, to work together to identify ways to decrease the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials for students while supporting the academic freedom of faculty members to select high quality course materials for students.

The portion of Section 133 that most affects college faculty is the following:

To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall—
(1) disclose, on the institution’s Internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution’s choosing, the International Standard Book Number and retail price information of required and recommended college textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed in the institution’s course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes, except that—

(A) if the International Standard Book Number is not available for such college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall include in the Internet course schedule the author, title, publisher, and copyright date for such college textbook or supplemental material; and
(B) if the institution determines that the disclosure of the information described in this subsection is not practicable for a college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall so indicate by placing the designation ‘To Be Determined’ in lieu of the information required under this subsection; and

(2) if applicable, include on the institution’s written course schedule a notice that textbook information is available on the institution’s Internet course schedule, and the Internet address for such schedule.

In other words, by the time registration opens for students, they should be able to view not only the courses available but the textbooks (or other supplemental materials) that will be required for the course.  You can read the full list of provisions here.

Informational Resources

Supporting Documentation: We understand that your journey is unique at Western Colorado University. If you request accommodation, we kindly ask you to share information about your disability and any previous accommodations you have used. This will help us to better understand how your disability may affect your educational experience. We appreciate supporting documentation, but we also understand that you may not have this readily available. If that’s the case, please meet with an Access Coordinator. They will work with you to explore alternative ways to demonstrate the connection between your disability and any potential academic barriers you may face in our university environment. We are here to support you every step of the way.

Types of documentation that may be helpful include:

  • Educational, psychological, or medical records
  • Reports and assessments from healthcare providers, psychologists, or the educational system (e.g., psychoeducational evaluations)
  • Documents reflecting your education and accommodation history, such as an Individual Education Program,
  • Summary of Performance,
  • 504 Plans,
  • And/or teacher observations

Documentation should be current and include the evaluator’s name, title, professional credentials, address, phone number, and signature, as well as the date of the report. The healthcare professional who is listed on the documentation should be licensed either in Colorado or your home state. Unfortunately, we cannot accept handwritten or prescription pad notes as these often lack sufficient information to make an informed determination regarding requested accommodations. Please submit your documentation as early as possible, allowing us time to obtain resources to provide you with necessary support.

Please keep the following in mind:

Disability Services may request additional information if the submitted documentation is incomplete or does not fully support your accommodation requests.

Note that other institutions, agencies, or programs may have different documentation requirements, so please check with them directly.

Note: Disability Services cannot accept documentation from the campus counseling center for the purpose of obtaining an Emotional Support Animal in university housing due to potential conflicts of interest.

Recommended Syllabus Statement: Students with disabilities glean a significant amount of information about a course and their instructor from the access statement. A well-designed statement indicates the faculty member’s level of commitment to designing their course in a way that welcomes all students, including those with a disability and provides guidance to those students who experience barriers.

As a minimum, the statement should include contact information for disability services and be placed prominently (preferably within the first page) of the syllabus. Please contact the Director of Disability Services for any additional questions or resources.

Center for Dis/Ability & Accommodation Recommended Syllabus Statement:

Western Colorado University values diversity and inclusion and is committed to a climate of mutual respect and full participation of all students. Our goal is to create a learning environment that is usable, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or prevent an accurate assessment of your achievement, please meet with the course instructor privately to discuss your needs and concerns. You may also contact the Center for Dis/Ability & Accommodation located in Leslie J. Savage Library Room 121.

Additional Recommendations:

Use person-first language. Terms such as handicapped, special needs and disabled should not be used as many individuals find them offensive.

Avoid wording that communicates the primary reason for providing access is a compliance issue.

Avoid wording that place all of the responsibility for access on the student. Equitable access is a shared responsibility between faculty, staff, the student and the Center for Dis/Ability & Accommodation.

Do not place time restrictions on the student’s right to request accommodation. While it’s preferable for a student to identify their need early in the semester, they have the right to seek accommodations at any point during the academic term if they experience barriers in the course due to their disability.

As your college student begins their journey at our University,  it’s important to understand the evolving role of parents and the significance of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in protecting their privacy.

FERPA is a federal law that grants certain rights to college students regarding their educational records. As your student transitions to college, they gain greater autonomy in managing their academic and personal affairs. FERPA prohibits the University from sharing information about your student’s educational records without their explicit and written consent.

During the intake meeting with our Access Coordinator, we prioritize open and effective communication. While we value parental involvement and support, it is essential to respect your student’s privacy and foster their independence. We encourage students to attend the intake meeting themselves, enabling them to express their needs and preferences directly.

We understand that the transition to college can be a time of adjustment for both students and parents. We are here to support your student in navigating their educational journey, providing necessary accommodations, and promoting their success. We also offer resources and guidance to parents on how to best support their student’s transition and access available resources.

By understanding the changing role of parents and respecting the guidelines of FERPA, we can collectively create an environment that empowers students to take ownership of their educational experience while offering a supportive network to help them thrive.

Open letter to parents from Dr. Jane Jarrow, a respected disability rights advocate who has expertise in higher education and students with disabilities

Dear Parents,

I have been working in the area of students with disabilities at the college level for more than 30 years, but that is not why I am writing to you today. I am writing as a parent, and thus as someone who shares all your current anxieties. My daughter, who graduated from high school in early June, will be going away to college this fall. She has Cerebral Palsy, uses a wheelchair, and has limited speech capabilities, so you can be assured that I have been very involved in the educational programming and planning she has received during her years in the public school system. I wanted to be involved, but I also needed to be involved since, by law, the school could not do anything for, to, or with my daughter regarding her disability without my permission. I sat through countless IEP meetings over the years, I was insistent on certain issues of academic support when I needed to be, and I agonized over everything from teacher selection to her successful social integration with classmates. And now, as I prepare to pack her up and take her off to college in the fall, I recognize that this role has ended for me – and the word “anxious” doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings.

If you are worried that your child with a disability will have a difficult time making a successful transition to college without your involvement… then you are probably right to be worried. Very few children with disabilities can succeed at the college level. On the other hand, students with disabilities survive and thrive on college campuses across the country. If you still think of your son or daughter as your “child,” and they still are comfortable in accepting that role, it is time to take a careful look at where you have come from and what lies before you. As parents, it is time for us to step back and allow/encourage/gently nudge our SWD’s (Students with Disabilities) to assume significant independent responsibility for their own lives, both academically and personally.

As you and your SWD prepare to visit campus for that initial meeting with a disability service provider at the college, you would do well to think about what can be accomplished at this initial meeting, what needs to be said – and who is going to say it!!! As I approach that same milestone with my daughter, I find myself a little panicky, realizing that there are things about her disability and how it impacts on her functioning that I know and that the disability services provider needs to know, and that I may not have many chances to say. There is no doubt that I can explain those things more fully than my daughter can explain them (or even understands them!). And it doesn’t matter. Much as I hate it, I know that SHE has to be the one to convey all this crucial information (not me!), for a number of reasons.

First, colleges and universities provide services and support to SWD under very different laws than those that governed services in the K-12 system. As a parent, I have no rights under Section 504/ADA in speaking for my SWD who is in college. (If you aren’t sure what “Section 504/ADA” means in this context, perhaps the disability service provider you meet with will have gathered some information that helps explain the differences between settings, both legally and practically. Two of my favorite websites for learning more are at: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html and http://www.heath.gwu.edu/).

The services and support available to SWD are sometimes very different than what was provided in high school, and the college is under no obligation to continue the services given in high school or to adhere to the recommendations of an outside diagnostician. The college will make its own determination of what services and support to offer, based on the documentation of disability and their interview with your SWD. There are no IEP’s in college, there is no place to sign off with my parental approval. Indeed, the college doesn’t legally have to care whether I am satisfied or not. My daughter is responsible for her own destiny now.

More importantly, while this may be your last chance to convey all that important information on to the college, it is your SWD’s first chance to convey that information all by himself/herself. Don’t spoil that opportunity, and don’t interfere. Remember, while you and your SWD are learning more about the campus, the resources, and the people who will be there to help when needed, the disability service provider is learning more about your son/daughter, as well. You want their first impression to be one that is positive and reassuring. The service provider is anxious to find out whether your SWD is mature enough to handle the responsibilities and independence of college life. Here are some specific suggestions for helping your SWD to shine in this newly focused spotlight:

  • DON’T be insulted if you are not invited to sit in on the initial meeting between your SWD and the disability services folks. Some institutions have found that it is helpful for them to speak directly (and alone!) to the student in order to get a feel for how knowledgeable and confident s/he is in sharing information about past services, what works and doesn’t work, and what accommodations they hope to have at the college level. You will get a chance to ask your questions, but recognize that it may come later, rather than sooner.
  • If you are invited to sit in on the meeting with the disability services folks, DO acknowledge your SWD as the authority on their disability-related needs by making it clear that you believe they have all the answers! Try focusing your visual attention on your son/daughter instead of trying to make eye contact with the interviewer. If you look to your SWD, so will the professional.
  • DON’T begin any sentence with “S/He needs to have…” Instead, you can try, “In high school, s/he had…” or “The person who tested him/her suggested…” but it would actually be better if you said nothing at all! Try to talk as little as possible in the meeting. This is not your meeting. Remember, you are there as an observer, not as a participant.
  • DO take some time prepping your son/daughter in advance on the issues that you think need to be discussed – the things that you would say if you had the chance. Make a list of the topics you would bring up, explain why you think each is important, and make sure your SWD has the list in hand when s/he goes into the interview. Rehearse with your son/daughter, if they will let you. If they are typical teens and aren’t comfortable sitting through that kind of rehearsal, settle for making them sit and listen while you demonstrate how you would approach certain subjects. For example, “I think you should tell them about how the teachers arranged for extra time for you on tests when you were in high school. I’d probably say, ‘In high school, I was allowed extra time for tests in English because it takes me a long time to put my thoughts in writing, but I never needed it in math.’” Your SWD may not acknowledge the strategies you share, but you may be surprised to hear those words come out of his/her mouth at the interview!
  • DON’T interrupt. If you disagree with something the disability service provider says, or if your SWD says something that you know is incorrect, or if you see your SWD agreeing with/to something when you know they have no idea what they are agreeing to – DON’T INTERRUPT! Let the interview play out. Give the disability service provider a chance to draw your SWD out further, give your SWD an opportunity to clarify matters, or simply wait to see if the confusion/disagreement remains. It is important to know just how independent and accurate students are in describing their needs. You will get your chance.
  • DO prompt your son/daughter to speak up and share those important points as the interview progresses. Instead of explaining to the disability service provider why Johnny needs a calculator in math classes, turn to Johnny and say, “Why don’t you explain to Ms. ____ why it is important for you to have a calculator for math and science classes. Is it because you have trouble lining up the columns, or because you have trouble remembering basic math facts or ????” Give an open-ended question that encourages your SWD to flesh out the response. At the same time, you are hinting to the interviewer that there is an issue here to be discussed (See? I told you that you would get your chance!)

Why not take notes as the interview progresses? When your son/daughter has exhausted the list of topics to discuss, and the disability service provider has shared all the information they thought was important, it is YOUR turn to talk. Go ahead and ask your questions. The most important thing to remember now is that you do not want to undermine your son/daughter’s credibility. If you have more information to share on a given subject, try starting the sentence with, “As Susie told you, she has used…” and then add whatever you need to on top of information already given. If you think your SWD gave incorrect information, tread carefully.

You might say, “I was surprised to hear Jane say _____. I would have said _____, because…” You’ll get your point across without directly contradicting what your son/daughter said. Your goal is to assure both the SWD and the disability service provider that you are supportive of their budding understanding, and simply want to share another viewpoint.

An old adage maintains:
There are only two things a parent can give to a child…

One is roots. The other is wings.

It is time for our kids to fly solo. That is a scary thought for us, as parents, and it is sure to be scary for them, too. That’s OK. This is what we have all been working towards for a long time. Remember, your son/daughter will call, email, or text if they need you. They know what you can do for them, but now it is time for them to go it alone. Take a deep breath, cross your fingers, wish them well – and walk away. All will be well!

Best of luck,
Jane Jarrow
Proud (and Terrified) Mom

Department Information

Center for Dis/Ability & Accommodations

Interim Director

Lindsay Hart

Director of Dis/Ability and Accommodations - Interim

Contact Information



8 a.m. - 5 p.m., M-F

Campus Location

Library 121

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