What is a disability? Does my diagnosis or condition qualify?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, an individual with a disability is a person who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or
  • has a record of such an impairment, or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment.

Some examples (not limited to these) are orthopedic and mobility disabilities, visual, speech, and hearing impairments; chronic illnesses, mental health conditions, and specific learning disabilities. A diagnosis alone does not mean that you have a disability- the impairment must substantially limit a major life activity. Examples of major life activities include functions such as performing manual tasks, concentrating, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

I’m registered with Accessibility Services, so will I receive the accommodations that I asked for?

If an access concern arises within your academic or student life at Aquinas, Accessibility Services will engage you, at your request, to determine specific accommodations (registration alone does not mean that you will receive an accommodation). Accommodations are determined by documentation submitted by a student as well as an interactive needs assessment with the student. Accommodations are granted on a case-by-case basis and may vary from the requested accommodation, or from accommodations other students with similar conditions receive, as accommodations are based on the impacts each student experiences.

Will I be able to receive the accommodations that I received in high school?

High school disability law and higher education disability law differ in many ways. Special Education/IDEA requirements apply to K-12. There is a difference between Section 504 in K-12 versus college. Under subsection D (what applied to you through high school) accommodations are intended to help you be successful. Subsection E (what applies in college) focuses on access, not success.


Accessibility Services
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday (during fall and spring semesters) in Lower Wege Office 103

(616) 632-2177

For questions or concerns about website accessibility, please contact marketing@aquinas.edu.