Procedures and Information

Case Western Reserve University Disability Procedures provide specific information on how to obtain accommodations, including what kind of documentation is necessary. See the individual procedures for detailed information about how to use different kinds of accommodations.

General Information

Students at CWRU are not required to disclose disability information to anyone. However, in order to use services and appropriate accommodations, students should notify Disability Resources in 402 Sears Building. The Disability Resources staff members that are aware of your disability will keep this information confidential. Students decide who needs to know about their disability. Disability Resources is the only department that will determine your eligibility.

Disability Resources will work closely with students and design an individual plan for accommodations. Included in that plan are strategies for disclosure to professors as well as identifying specific accommodations that will be needed for each course. Accommodations and services are available for students with a variety of disabilities including: visual impairment, hearing impairment, mobility limitations, chronic illness, psychological disorders and learning disabilities. The legal definition states that any mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity is a disability.

Students are "fitted" with the services and accommodations that will be most helpful for their particular needs. We are able to offer the following: testing accommodations, adaptive equipment and assistive technology, scheduling assistance, transportation assistance, alternate format for print materials, note-taking assistance, interpreters, parking assistance and accessible housing. This list is not exhaustive and other accommodations may be appropriate.

Students with temporary disabilities such as broken or sprained limbs should also contact Disability Resources. Under these circumstances, accommodations can be made for the duration of the problem. Accommodations can include transportation, special parking, and testing accommodations as needed.

Notice of Non-Discrimination Policy as to Students

Case Western Reserve University admits students of any race, religion, age, sex, color, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and national or ethnic origin to all the rights and privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, sex, color, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national or ethnic origin in administering its educational policies, admission policies, employment, promotion and compensation policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other University-administered programs.


Case Western Reserve University is committed to providing all students (see below) with opportunities to take full advantage of the University's educational, academic, and residential programs. We recognize that students with documented disabilities may need assistance or accommodations in order to achieve this objective.

This document outlines the procedures used in determining a student's eligibility for disability services. These procedures are applicable to all undergraduate students and all graduate students registered through the School of Graduate Studies, the Weatherhead School of Management, MSASS, the FPB School of Nursing, and the School of Medicine. The following graduate programs follow this process, however the accommodation may be modified to meet the unique needs of the programs: the School of Dental Medicine and the School of Law. Students in these programs should consult with their student services personnel for procedure information.


Students are defined as those who are matriculating into or enrolled in courses of study on the Case Western Reserve University campus. This includes students who are not seeking a Case Western Reserve University degree, such as transient students, non-degree seeking students, and faculty or staff taking courses.

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or having a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. A physical or mental impairment is defined as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following major bodily functions: neurological; musculoskeletal; respiratory; special sense organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; immune system; normal cell growth; brain; circulatory; bowel; bladder; genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine, or any mental or psychological disorder such as an intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

Major life activities include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, standing, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

A temporary disability is an acute illness or injury that impacts the student's ability to access the physical campus and/or the academic curriculum.

Initiating the Process

Students are never obligated to self-disclose their disability to Disability Resources, other staff members or faculty. However, students with disabilities who wish to obtain accommodations, auxiliary aids and/or services, must self-disclose their disability and direct their request(s) for accommodation(s) to the office of Disability Resources. An appointment can be made by visiting Disability Resources in 402 Sears, calling the office at 216.368.5230 or e-mailing the office at

In order to proceed with a determination of eligibility for services and the provision of applicable and reasonable accommodations, students must disclose their disability using the disclosure form available through the Disability Resources webpage. Newly admitted undergraduate students may also access the disclosure form through the orientation checklist. Under separate cover, students must submit documentation of their disability to the office of Disability Resources. (See below for information regarding necessary documentation.)

While students can disclose a disability and request an accommodation at any time during their enrollment, students are encouraged to disclose the need for accommodation(s) as soon as possible. Time for documentation review and arrangement of accommodation(s) is necessary, and may take four to six weeks.

Determining Eligibility and Accommodations

Upon receipt of the documentation, the professional staff of Disability Resources will review it to determine the following: 1) that the source of the documentation is appropriate, 2) that the documentation is complete, 3) that the information in the documentation is current, 4) that the student is a qualified person with a disability, and 5) that the documentation supports the requested accommodations. A professional member of Disability Resources will ordinarily have an initial meeting with the student to obtain complete information on the disability and the requested accommodations. If the documentation is incomplete or insufficient to make a determination, the staff member will either request that the student obtain and submit additional documentation or contact the student's health care provider for additional information. The office of Disability Resources may consult with appropriate University and community professionals when considering eligibility and reasonable accommodations. The professional staff of Disability Resources will then determine the student's eligibility and interact with the student as outlined in the following section to determine any necessary and reasonable accommodations.

In order to determine reasonable accommodations, the staff will give consideration to the student's preferred method. However, another suitable method of accommodation may be provided. If a requested accommodation is unreasonable, is an undue burden on the University, poses a direct threat to the student or others, or would result in a fundamental alteration of any University program, Disability Resources will determine a reasonable alternative accommodation(s), if any exists, to accommodate the student.

Arranging Accommodations

Academic accommodations are determined via an interactive process based on the student's requested accommodations, the review by the professional staff of Disability Resources, the documentation from the qualified professional, and the course schedule of the student for the particular semester. Accommodations are not made retroactively.

In most instances, an accommodation letter through AIM, from the student and a professional staff member from Disability Resources will be provided to the professor (or teaching assistant) via email for courses in which accommodations are needed. The accommodation letter sets out the classroom accommodations to be made for the student for that semester. No diagnosis is mentioned in the accommodation letter to the professor or teaching assistant. The student is responsible for requesting an accommodation letter be released to their professor (or teaching assistant) through AIM and using it to initiate a dialogue about implementing the reasonable accommodations. As a result of this dialogue, the student, and the professor (or teaching assistant) will determine reasonable methods for making the accommodation(s). Students are expected to self-advocate during this process; however, the professional staff of Disability Resources is available to assist both the student and the professor (or teaching assistant) in determining which accommodation method will be used. Students who are eligible for disability services must request their accommodation letter be sent each semester through AIM to professors to notify their professors of approved accommodations. 

Once a determination of reasonable accommodations is made, a staff member from Disability Resources will authorize the accommodation with other University departments, as appropriate. 

Students needing non-academic accommodations such as housing modifications, special room assignments or housing releases, accessible parking, responsive transportation, or other programmatic or physical access should follow the same guidelines for documentation as described above. Once a determination of reasonable accommodations is made, a staff member from Disability Resources will authorize the accommodation other University departments, as appropriate. Students are responsible for following all required procedures for obtaining services or products from other University Departments (e.g. completing a housing application, parking application, etc.).

If at any time a student's condition changes, it is the student's responsibility to contact Disability Resources to discuss possible changes to the current accommodations.