Student Accessibility Services


Welcome! The Office of Accessibility Services office assists students with a qualified disability in meeting their academic and personal goals. Within the bounds of our resources, Gwynedd Mercy University will provide reasonable accommodations to meet the challenges and needs of students with a qualified disability.  

If you are a student with a qualified disability, choose from the links below to learn more about available services and the application and documentation process. All students seeking services must first complete the application process.

Below, you will find more information for the following topics:

  • Applying for Student Accessibility Services
  • Application Procedures
  • Documentation Requirements
  • Housing Accommodation Requests
  • Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
  • Contact Us
  • Additional Resources

Additional information is available in the Student Accessibility Services Manual (PDF).

Applying for Student Accessibility Services

You can make a request for accommodations pertaining to learning, psychological, and/or physical disabilities at the time of your acceptance to Gwynedd Mercy University or any time thereafter. The request must be made by you, the student, in person, by email, or via submission of the Student Accessibility Services Accommodation Application (PDF). Please note that other forms of contact such as phone calls or disclosures to other University staff or faculty are not recognized as requests for accommodations.

If you self-identify as having a disability and request accommodations, you are responsible for submitting appropriate documentation and following the procedures listed below. Please allow sufficient time for the administrative processing of the application. GMercyU cannot make any accommodations without completing this process. 

Accommodation requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the accommodations are based on each student's individual and unique needs. Please be aware the review, approval, and orientation process can take up to six weeks. It will benefit you to submit your application and documentation at least six to eight weeks before the start of your first course. If all documentation is not submitted, additional time may be needed.

Application Procedures

Please follow the steps below to apply for accommodations. 

  1. Please write accessibilityservices@gmercyu.edu to discuss your request. 
  2. If this is your first time requesting accommodations from The Office of Accessibility Services, please complete the Student Accessibility Services Accommodation Application (PDF).
    1. The Health Care Professional Form section must be completed by an appropriate, certified professional and not a family member. 
    2. Gwynedd Mercy University reserves the right to request additional documentation. 
  3. All completed documentation should be submitted to accessibilityservices@gmercyu.edu.   
  4. The Director of Accessibility Services will contact you once documentation has been received and reviewed to request a meeting. At the intake meeting, you will have an opportunity to discuss your experiences and how your disability impacts your education. You can also discuss some accommodations you find helpful. This meeting is a collaborative and individualized process.
    1. Please be aware the review, approval, and orientation process can take up to six weeks. It will benefit you to submit your application and documentation at least six to eight weeks before the start of your first course. If all documentation is not submitted, additional time may be needed. 
    2. Accommodations are not retroactive and cannot be applied to previous tests or assignments. 
  5. The Director of Accessibility Services will review the documentation, and the student will be notified when a decision has been made regarding the accommodation request.
  6.  If a student qualifies for specific accommodation(s), a letter outlining the approved accommodation will be developed and given to the student either in person or electronically.
    1. The Director of Accessibility Services will forward letters to students for all of their classes and instruct students to give each of their professors a letter.
    2. Students must provide their letters to their professors to activate their accommodations. Not all accommodations may be approved for all courses; some accommodations are unique to a specific course or prohibited in a certain course.
  7. Students should meet privately with their professors to explain their needs and accommodations for each individual course.
  8.  If the Director of Accessibility Services determines the student does not qualify for an accommodation, a letter outlining the decision and reason for the decision will be developed and forwarded to the student.
  9. If the student disagrees will the decision regarding eligibility or the reasonable accommodation offered, then the student can discuss their concerns with the Director of Accessibility Services. 

If they would like to file a formal complaint, a student may choose this option if attempts at prior resolution have been unsuccessful. A signed, written summary of events must be submitted to the Dean of Student Success within 30 days of the initiation of the grievance process (see p. 30 of the Undergraduate Catalog for the process).

Documentation Requirements

All documentation in support of a disability should be reflective of the current, functional impact of the condition or impairment. Current testing and evaluations should have been completed within the past three to five years. Additionally, updated documentation may be requested, in some circumstances, where documentation is outdated or when ongoing treatment is being provided. Interviews with the student and other involved persons are viewed as an important part of the process and can provide valuable information to augment the documentation.

Documentation for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Physical, Neurological or Psychological Disabilities:

  • Health Care Professional Form in the Disability Application OR an original letter from the evaluating professional that includes the following areas: a clearly stated, specific diagnosis; a description of the symptoms; a description of the current functional limitations of the condition; an explanation of the impact of the condition on the academic and/or housing environment; and recommendations of appropriate accommodations.
  • A written evaluation by a psychiatrist, neurologist, licensed psychologist, or other qualified professional.
  • 504 Plan and the completed Health Care Practitioner form. 504 Plans submitted without supporting documentation will be accepted as supplemental information only and not the primary supporting document.

Documentation for Learning Disability:

  • Comprehensive Psycho-educational Evaluation Report or Re-evaluation Report by a school district, neurologist, licensed psychologist, or other qualified professional; the report should include results of psycho-educational testing.
  • An IEP, Summary of Performance will be accepted as supplemental information only and not the primary supporting document. The AHEAD Best Practices: Disability Documentation in Higher Education was used in developing these guidelines.
Housing Accommodation Requests

All requests for housing accommodations are due to the Director of Accessibility Services by May 1 of each year.

This procedure is NOT a housing application, but a request for accessibility-related housing accommodations only. You must also comply with Residence Life housing applications, guidelines, forms, and deadlines to apply for campus housing

If you are seeking housing accommodations, please make your request via the Student Accessibility Services Accommodation Application (PDF). Determinations are based on the documentation and information received. An application that is incomplete or received after the deadline may result in a housing assignment that does not meet your needs.

Factors given consideration for special housing requests:

  1. Is the impact of the condition life-threatening if the request is not met?
  2. Is the request an integral component of a treatment plan prescribed by a medical professional for the condition in question?
  3. Is space available to meet the student’s need?
  4. Can space be adapted without creating a safety hazard?
  5. Are there other effective means that would achieve similar benefits as the requested accommodation?
  6. How does meeting the documented need impact housing commitments for other students?
  7. Is the cost of meeting the need prohibitive?
  8. Was the request made by the deadline?

Please note: Private room accommodations are rare. We make every attempt to find reasonable accommodations for those conditions that are covered under the ADA.

Once a determination is made regarding a housing accommodation, written notification will be sent to you. You should review the notification and sign it and return it to the Director of Accessibility Services. If you are approved for housing accommodations, you must meet with the Director of Accessibility Services annually to renew your request.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

If you are planning to live on campus and have the need for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), you can make a request through the Office of Accessibility Services. Before making your request, please thoroughly read GMercyU's ESA Policy. Upon reading the policy, please sign the last page. You will also need to fill out both the ESA Registration form and the ESA Animal Information form. Please send all completed documentation to accessibilityservices@gmercyu.edu.

ESA Policy (PDF)
ESA Registration Form (PDF)
ESA Animal Information Form (PDF)


Contact Us

The Office of Accessibility Services is located in the 2nd floor of Keiss Library, Room 201

Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Contact:
Kelly Kiefer, Director of Student Accessibility Services
215-646-7300, ext. 21014
accessibilityservices@gmercyu.edu

Gwynedd Mercy University does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, national origin, religion, sex or disability in the administration of its educational, admission, scholarship or loan policies.


Student Accessibility Resources

Here are helpful links, guided directions, and documentation on disabilities, learning differences, accessibility, and assistive technology.

Testing Center Documentation

At the beginning of each semester, students testing with accommodations are required to submit their Letter of Accommodation to their professors and the Testing Coordinator. The Testing Center Guidelines and Testing Center Rules must also be signed and submitted to the Testing Coordinator (see "Contact Us" below).

Disability Resources

ADHD

  • Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
    ADDA is a worldwide inclusive community of supportive ADHD adults who make it possible to thrive with ADHD in today’s world.
     
  • Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
    CHADD is a professional organization providing resources and support for both children and adults with ADHD.
     
  • College Students with ADHD
    A short article with tips for current or prospective college students who have ADHD.
     
  • LD Online
    LD Online is the leading website on learning disabilities, learning disorders and differences. You will find guidance on attention deficit disorder, ADD / ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dysnomia, reading difficulties, speech and related disorders.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

  • National Institute of Mental Health: Autism Spectrum Disorder
    An in-depth overview of ASD provided by the National Institute of Mental Health.
     
  • Autism Speaks: What is Autism?
    Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families, by increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.
     
  • Autism Speaks: What is Asperger Syndrome?
    An in-depth overview of Asperger Syndrome provided by Autism Speaks.
     
  • Autism Society
    The Autism Society of America has been improving the lives of all affected by autism for over 50 years by providing advocacy, education, information and referral, support, and community at national, state and local levels through their strong nationwide network of Affiliates.

Cerebral Palsy

  • Cerebral Palsy Guide
    Cerebral Palsy Guide is a national support organization dedicated to educating individuals and families about cerebral palsy. We strive to provide answers and guidance to ensure that families receive the assistance that they need to help improve their overall quality of life.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH)

  • National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
    The NAD is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.
     
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
    ASHA provides news, information, and resources to those with hearing, speech, or language related disabilities during all stages of life, whether high school, college, or after graduation.
     
  • National Deaf Center (NDC)
    The NDC’s mission is to close the substantial gaps in education and employment that exist for deaf people in the United States.

Learning Differences (LD)

  • Dyslexia and Related Disorders
    An informative overview of dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and other similar learning differences.
     
  • Guide to Online College with a Learning Disability
    This guide provides critical information for students with learning disabilities who want to enroll in online courses. It provides important information such as securing and using learning disability accommodations, locating assistive technologies, and navigating online course sites.
     
  • LD Online
    LD Online is the leading website on learning disabilities, learning disorders and differences. You will find guidance on attention deficit disorder, ADD / ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dysnomia, reading difficulties, speech and related disorders.
     
  • LD Resources
    News, Inspiration and Resources for the learning disabilities community. Bridging the gap between Learning and Mental Health
     
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA)|
    LDA creates opportunities for success for all individuals affected by learning disabilities through support, education, and advocacy. 
     
  • Understood
    Understood focuses on empowering people who learn and think differently and those who support them, offering customized, accessible resources and a compassionate community.

Mental Health

  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
    ADAA is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders through education, practice, and research.
     
  • National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)
    NAMI is a community for providing awareness, education and support for anyone affected by mental illness.
     
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    A hub of information for many mental health related topics, such as: Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, OCD, Eating Disorders, Scizophrenia, Substance abuse, and more.

Mobility

Speech

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
    ASHA provides news, information, and resources to those with hearing, speech, or language related disabilities during all stages of life, whether high school, college, or after graduation.

Visual

  • National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
    Through their network of blind members, the NFB coordinates many programs, services, and resources to defend the rights of blind Americans, provide information and support to blind children and adults, and build a community that creates a future full of opportunities.
     
  • American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
    The AFB aims to create a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. They mobilize leaders, advance understanding, and champion impactful policies and practices using research and data.
Financial Resources

Financial Resources for Students with Disabilities
The list contains over 120 scholarships, grants, and nonprofit resources including assistive technologies and tools to use for studying.
 

Discounts for People with Disabilities
This comprehensive list contains over 100 discounts for people living with disabilities including electronics, wellness, and entertainment.
 

Money Management for Students with Disabilities
The guide contains nearly 140 resources on financial literacy, saving money, and budgeting, specifically for disabled students.
 

The University of Washington's DO-IT Center: Scholarship Opportunities
Find information about scholarships for people with disabilities, including deadlines, award amounts, and eligibility.

Job/Employment Resources

Department of Labor and Industry: Vocational Rehabilitation Services
The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, or OVR, provides vocational rehabilitation services to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment


College & Career Guide for Students with Disabilities
An all-inclusive article with tips for navigating college, scholarships, and careers for students with disabilities.

Mindfulness and Meditation Resources

Mindfulness and meditation can have a positive impact on both our mental and physical health. Learn more about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation from these links.

Here are some apps to help you learn and practice meditation in your daily life. These links go to websites with information about the app, but to download the app, go to the App Store or Google Play Store on your phone or tablet and search for it.

Technology Guides

The following guides were created for technologies regularly used or readily available to the GMercyU Community. A GMercyU email address is required to access them.

Microsoft Office

Video Conferencing, Recording, and Streaming

Accessibility Technology

Web Browsers and Extensions

Apps (Web and Mobile)

Devices/Operating Systems

  • Coming soon

General

Technology Resources

Blackboard Ally File Transformer
File Transformer allows you to upload a course file and download it in an alternative format. This way, you can personalize your learning experience to better fit your needs, devices, and learning preferences. After uploading your file, pick an alternative format that best suits your current task or situation. You can pick and mix formats too.


Glean
Glean is an audio-notetaking program designed to allow students to take notes without falling behind or disengaging from class. It can help create greater independence and confidence in the notetaking process. (If you have a notetaking accommodation, please reach out to the Director of Accessibility Services if you are interested in trying Glean.)


Learning Ally
Learning Ally gives you the tools, including a modern version of books on tape, online resources and the support you need as you navigate your college journey and prepare for your future career.

Other Information and Resources

University of Washington: Disabilities, Opportunities, Interworking, and Technology (DO-IT)
The University of Washington provides training and resources to students and educators through their DO-IT Center. It promotes awareness of accessibility and empowers people with disabilities through technology.
 

National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD)
The NCCSD’s purpose is to provide technical assistance and information to anyone needing information about disability and higher education, including college students, their families, faculty, college administrators and staff, disability services professionals, researchers, and policymakers.
 

Association on Higher-Education And Disability (AHEAD)
AHEAD is the leading professional membership association for individuals committed to equity for persons with disabilities in higher education.
 

An Open Letter to Parents of Students with Disabilities about to Enter College
 

U.S. Department of Education: Students with Disabilities Preparing for Post-Secondary Education
Information from The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) about the rights and responsibilities for students with disabilities.
 

A Handbook for Parents and Students with Disabilities
A handbook created by The University of Montana, Missoula to help students transition from high school to college.
 

Study.com Education and Career Resources
Comprehensive guides for everything from applying to college to financing professional certifications.

Contact Us

Please contact accessibilityservices@gmercyu.edu with any accessibility questions or contact Erik Azzarano, Testing Coordinator, at testingaccommodations@gmercyu.edu with any questions about any other accessibility resources.