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Northland collaborates with and empowers students who have qualifying disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act by working together proactively to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodation measures. Northland is committed to providing an equal opportunity to fully participate in its courses, programs, and activities. Students who have a disability and need accommodations in order to attain equal access must register with the Accommodations Office.

Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

Students must self identify to the accommodations office if they intend to utilize an accommodation. To begin the process, you will need to request accommodations and then submit the required documentation.

Reasonable accommodations are defined as any change in an environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal opportunities both in and outside of the academic setting.

Contact Accommodations & Counseling

The Accommodations Office is dedicated to ensuring access and inclusion for all students with disabilities enrolled in Northland College. The office serves students with either temporary or permanent physical, health, learning, sensory, or psychological disabilities.

The primary responsibility for self advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student. Students are expected to initiate contact with faculty to discuss their accommodation.

If you would like to establish services, the Accommodations Office is the first point of entry for you and the place to begin the process of requesting accommodations.

Student counseling is available to help students resolve personal difficulties and acquire the skills that will enable them to take full advantage of their college experience. Our focus is on wellness and assisting students with their personal, developmental, and psychological concerns related to their educational progress and personal growth. Learn more about counseling to get started.

Common Accommodations at Northland

Colleges and universities are not required to alter admissions requirements, nor are they required to alter programmatic requirements for students with learning disabilities once they have been admitted. If a course in question is found to be an essential element to the student’s course of study or degree sought, it is unlikely that a waiver or a substitution will be granted. In addition, colleges and universities are not required to provide personal care assistants (PCA’s) for students.

Common Accommodations Include:

  • Note takers
  • Allowing extended time to complete exams (usually time and a half)
  • Providing readers or qualified interpreters (this is a difficult service to provide and takes months of planning). If readers or interpreters are not attainable then comparable arrangements will be made.
  • Quiet, non-distracting area to take tests and quizzes
  • Alternative tests and quizzes such as oral, dictated, or typed
  • Allowing use of tape recording during class
  • Use of a laptop to write out exams, papers, or note taking
  • Use of relaxation devices to decrease anxiety during tests and quizzes (listening to music)

Learning Disorders Commonly Seen

  • Dyslexia: a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words. It may also be referred to as reading disability or reading disorder.
  • Dyscalculia: a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts.
  • Dysgraphia: a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space.
  • Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders: sensory disabilities in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision.
  • Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: a neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative, and holistic processing functions.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: ASD is a neurodevelopment disorder ranging from mild to severe and characterized by core features of social/communication deficits and repetitive/restrictive behaviors. The source for understanding the exact nature of ASD is the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The DSM-V combines into one category previously distinct but overlapping subtypes (i.e., Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Development Disorder). While all people with ASD will share the core features of the disorder, specific manifestations in developmental, cognitive, emotional and/or behavioral domains are unique to each individual.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder AD/HD: a diagnosis applied to children and adults who consistently display certain characteristic behaviors over a period of time. The most common core features include:
    • distractibility (poorly sustained attention to tasks)
    • impulsivity (impaired impulse control and delay of gratification)
    • hyperactivity (excessive activity and physical restlessness)

Please keep in mind that the exact nature and severity of learning disabilities/disorders vary from person to person.

Service Animal Policy

Northland College cultivates an inclusive and supportive learning community and values the diverse identities of our students. We are committed to providing students with disabilities full and meaningful access to all college programs and activities and recognize that, service animals fulfill a crucial role in removing barriers necessary to achieve equal access to the programs and activities offered by the College and College facilities. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Northland College service animals are welcome to accompany their handler in most facilities on campus. As the health and safety of all those who access Northland College is also important, only service animals that meet the guidelines outlined below, will be exempt from College policies that otherwise prohibit the presence of animals.

Service animal describes an animal (usually a dog) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

The examples below are not meant to serve as an exhaustive list, but do indicate specific work or tasks performed by a service animal that directly relate to specific disabilities, thus meet the broad definition of service animal.

  • Guide dog – is a carefully trained dog that assists persons with severe visual impairments or who are blind to navigate and travel.
  • Hearing or Signal dog – has been trained to alert and assist persons with significant hearing loss or who are deaf to respond to specific sounds such as emergency alarms, doorbells, phones, and alarm clocks.
  • Sensory or Social Alert dog (Ssig) – is trained to assist people with autism to avoid sensory overload, remain calm when in environments where sensory overload is high, alerts the handler to distracting, repetitive movements. Ssig dogs may also provide support similar to hearing or signal dogs.
  • Seizure Alert dog – is trained to alert persons with seizure disorders of impending seizures and to assist their handler during and after a seizure by standing guard or going for help.
  • Mobility Dog – has been trained to assist people with severe mobility challenges by pulling wheel chairs or by providing physical support for balance and stability.

*Under particular circumstances, a miniature horse may qualify as a service animal. All other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.

Qualified Individuals
For an individual to qualify for using a service animal on campus he/she must:

  • Have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act; and,
  • The service animal must be trained to do specific tasks for the qualified individual.

Institutional Inquiry
If and only if the work or tasks a service animal provides to a handler are not readily apparent, Northland staff may inquire of the qualified individual:

  • Whether the animal is required because of a disability; and,
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform.

Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Staff or students may contact the Campus Safety if any questions or concerns arise relating to the presence of a services animal, to report service animal misbehavior or mistreatment of a service animal. If living in a Northland residential hall, College personnel may require proof of compliance with local animal licensing ordinances.

Responsibilities of the Handler
Unless such devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using them, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered. In all cases, the handler must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

The expense and responsibility to feed, provide health care, and necessary bathing and grooming of service animal is the sole responsibility of the handler. Service animals must comply with local licensing laws.

The handler is responsible for removing or arranging for removal of animal waste.

The handler is responsible for damage or injury caused by the service animal.

College personnel may only ask service animal handlers to remove their service animal from College premises or from the immediate area as follows:

  • If the service animal is not under the owner’s direct control or the service animal is disturbing or disrupting the normal administrative, academic, or programmatic routine, then the handler must first be given an opportunity to get the animal under control. If the disruption or disturbance continues, then the handler may be asked to remove the animal; or
  • If the presence, behavior, or actions of the service animal constitutes an immediate risk or danger to people or property, the handler can be asked to immediately remove the animal and 911 (emergency assistance) may be contacted.

If asked to remove the service animal, the handler must be offered the opportunity to return to the College premises or the immediate area without the service animal and be provided with reasonable assistance at that time to participate in the College service or program.

Depending on the seriousness of the animal’s conduct or repeated conduct, service animals may be excluded from College property temporarily or permanently. If a service animal is excluded, the designated accessibility office is available to assist in evaluating reasonable accommodations for the owner.

Owners who violate this policy or disregard an instruction to remove or exclude a service animal from College property may be subject to additional penalties, including banning from any College property, or other fines or penalties under applicable city, county, or state rules, regulations, or laws. Violations of this policy by a handler who is a College student or employee may be referred for corrective or disciplinary action.

Restrictions on Access for Service Animals
A service animal may be restricted from specific areas of the College when consistent with other College policies, state, and/or federal laws/regulations. Examples of these areas may include:

  • Food preparation areas;
  • Animal research facilities and grounds; and
  • Biologically sensitive or hazardous research sites.

If a service animal is restricted from certain areas, the designated accessibility services office is available to assist in evaluating reasonable accommodations for the owner.

Registering a Service Animal

  • Students with service animals are not required to register with the Accommodations Office. The Accommodations Office maintains a voluntary Service Dog Registry to support students on campus who use service dogs by informing appropriate residential and facility staff of the animal’s presence, informing first responders, and to assist with situations in which the animal’s access is challenged by College community members. The service animal, and the student handler, are expected to adhere to the rights and responsibilities outlined in this document.
  • Service animals accompanying visitors to campus are permitted access, under the ADA, and do not have to formally notify the campus of the animal’s presence. Visitors and their service animals are expected to adhere to the rights and responsibilities outlined in this document.