The term "disability" is defined by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2009 as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

The amendments did not change the physical or mental impairment part of the definition, but did clarify "substantially limits" to exclude the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as medication, prosthetics, assistive technology, accommodations, and compensatory or adaptive strategies. The amendments emphasize that the analysis of substantial limitation is anchored to the conditions, manor, and duration under which an individual can undertake an activity, not the ultimate performance outcome. The amendments made no changes to the accommodation process and the relevance of mitigating measures, retaining the intent that both the positive and negative impacts of mitigating measures should be considered when determining an effective accommodation.

Under the ADA amendments, life activities include: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, communicating, working, concentrating, thinking, and major bodily functions such as normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, immune system, and reproductive functions. 

No, the admissions criteria are the same for all students regardless of disability. During the university application process, students are not asked about disabilities; if a student feels disclosing a disability would help explain certain situations, the student can address these issues in the application's optional essay. Disclosing a disability to the Admissions Office does not register a student with SSD. Disability documentation should only be sent to SSD.

Relevant and current documentation is needed to verify the existence of a disability and to determine the appropriate accommodations based on the functional impact of the disability related to academic courses, testing methods, program requirements, etc. Please refer to SSD’s Documentation Guidelines for specific information.

No. The IEP and 504 Plan from high school provide valuable information regarding a history of previous accommodations. To receive accommodations through Services for Students with Disabilities at Virginia Tech, a student must provide documentation of the disability from a licensed professional. Refer to SSD’s Documentation Guidelines for more information on documenting a disability.

Accommodations are granted on a case-by-case basis. The Services for Students with Disabilities staff determine the appropriate accommodations based on the documentation results and a personal interview with the student. Information can be found on the Accommodations page. Also, be sure to note the valuable information in the accommodation letter instructions.

Special housing accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis. The Special Housing Accommodations page will have more specific information on this topic. Please note the specific deadlines to apply.

Accommodations and services are determined by an individual’s needs. Classroom accessibility, transportation, parking, and emergency evacuation issues need to be addressed prior to the start of each semester through Services for Students with Disabilities. Please contact SSD to arrange a meeting.

Although a temporary disability may not be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Services for Students with Disabilities will work with students for referrals to on-campus resources and services. Accommodations and services will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Many psychological conditions do qualify as a disability and may qualify you for accommodations and services. Based on documentation submitted, accommodations and services will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Information about testing accommodations can be found on the Testing Accommodations page. Please read all of the information carefully, as well as the information on the Testing Accommodations Rules and Procedures page.

Academic coaching is a service offered to eligible students who are registered with Services for Students with Disabilities. Academic coaching is available to help students in many areas related to academics, including but not limited to: time management, study schedules, communicating with professors, managing projects, getting organized, using accommodations, improving test grades, and dealing with stress. For more detailed information, including how to make an appointment, see SSD's Academic Coaching page.

Other campus resources include:

Students who are struggling academically and have tried other resources on campus, such as tutoring and meeting with a professor and yet are still struggling, should make an appointment with Services for Students with Disabilities.