Students who are new to Accessibility Services (formerly Disability Services) at Wheaton are welcomed by Abigail Cohen, Assistant Dean for Accessibility and Assistive Technology, who is available to meet with students on an appointment basis after acceptance and before enrollment as well as anytime during a student’s enrollment at Wheaton.
Prospective applicants interested in learning more about Wheaton’s Accessibility Services are invited to review our website. Students and their families may schedule an appointment with Dean Cohen when they are on campus to interview with the Office of Admission or during Visiting Days for a general overview of Accessibility Services. Please call the Filene Center front desk for scheduling needs: (508) 286-8215.
Specific accommodations for enrolled students are determined on a case by case basis each semester after a student has registered with Accessibility Services and registered for courses.
Registering with Accessibility Services
Students wishing to be considered for accommodations offered through Accessibility Services (AS), must complete the following steps:
- Submit Intake Form. Once enrolled at Wheaton, students begin their registration with AS by completing an Online Intake Form. This form must be submitted by the student personally since submission is considered a ‘signature’ and gives permission for faculty/staff to be contacted to serve the student. Please note that one submission of the Intake Form is sufficient for all accommodation requests.
- Submit documentation of disability. Please refer to the relevant documentation guidelines for assistance in providing documentation that is appropriate to verify eligibility and support accommodation requests. Please submit a copy and retain an original for your personal use in the event that you need to submit it to another program, such as a Graduate School.
Learning Disability Documentation Guidelines
Medical Provider Form
Mental Health Form
- While most documentation can support academic accommodations for a student’s entire enrollment period at Wheaton, please note that conditions of a changing or episodic nature must be re-documented annually. Housing documentation for students with a permanent, unchanging condition may be accepted on a one-time basis; conditions of a changing or episodic nature will require documentation annually. In either situation, students must resubmit the Housing Accommodation Request Form each year by the stated due date.
- Please note: Students, parents and/or medical providers may choose to use technology to communicate with AS, the Housing Accommodation Committee, or other college offices that collaborate with AS. Please note that all documentation received in any form will be stored electronically. Due to the nature of electronic communication and storage, there is always the possibility that unauthorized persons may attempt to/or inadvertently discover your personal information. While the college takes every precaution to safeguard your information, we cannot guarantee that unauthorized access to electronic communications could not occur.
- Schedule an Intake Interview. Please call the Filene Center for Academic Advising & Career Services at (508) 286-8215 to schedule an Intake Interview appointment with Dean Cohen. During the Intake Interview, students will provide information about their disability and how it impacts them in an educational setting. This will also be an opportunity for students to become acquainted with other services and supports that are offered through the College. Policies and procedures will be reviewed along with student, faculty, and AS responsibilities.
- Requesting academic accommodations each semester. Once your registration process is complete (steps 1 to 3 above), you may request academic accommodations by submitting a specific accommodation request form each semester. Please note that accommodations do not carry over from one semester to another and prior letters may not be given to faculty for current courses, so it is the student’s responsibility to return to this website and submit the Academic Accommodation Request Form for the specific semester at the start of each semester. If students are requesting accommodations that have previously been approved, this process may be completed online after Registration is complete. If students are requesting additional or different accommodations, or accommodations that require advance work by AS, such as note sharing, alternate formats, or use of FM systems, the student must submit the online Accommodation Request Form and also schedule an appointment to meet with Dean Cohen in person. After submission of the Accommodation Request Form, students receive an Accommodation Letter via their Wheaton email. Students then print the Letter and give it to each faculty member, preferably during their scheduled office hours. Letters must be delivered at the start of the semester, but always well in advance of the need for accommodations which often require prior planning by faculty and staff. It’s important to note that accommodations are not activated, that is, they do not go into effect, until the student delivers the Accommodation Letter to each faculty member and meets with each professor to make the practical arrangements for each accommodation. Accommodations are not retroactive. Academic Accommodation Request Form
Emergency Evacuation: Students who may require assistance in an emergency evacuation are urged to identify themselves directly to the Public Safety Department.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
Does Wheaton have a separate disabilities program?
No. Students are mainstreamed and disability/accessibility support services are provided on a request basis for students with a documented disability.
How many staff i.e. learning specialists, academic skills specialists, and directors are available?
Wheaton does not provide intensive supports; thus, there is not this level of staffing.
Are there evening hours?
The Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services is open Monday through Friday between 8:30 – 4:30 throughout the year. There are no evening hours.
Is there a special orientation for students with disabilities?
Yes. The College offers a two day pre-orientation program for students with disabilities called Abilities 1st! Pre-Orientation. Students can elect to move on campus two days prior to the freshman class and participate in a small group orientation program.
What kind of Assistive Technology is available for students?
Students whose documentation supports alternate formats of materials can arrange to obtain textbooks and other materials in alternative formats but must provide a syllabus and detailed list of reading materials four to six weeks in advance of the start of each semester.
Is priority registration available? Who helps students with registration?
This is determined on a case by case basis which is coordinated through Accessibility Services and the Office of the Registrar.
Is there proctoring for exams where students can have exams read to them?
Wheaton has an Honor Code thus a proctoring system for exams is not available.
Can students take a reduced course load if necessary?
Any Wheaton student may meet with a Class Dean to petition from a full course load of four courses to three courses. Students with disabilities may also qualify but should meet with their Class Dean to discuss the impact of this decision on other issues, such as housing and class year.
Is there one-to-one tutoring available for students with disabilities?
No. Academic content tutoring is available through a peer group format conducted by students who have been screened by the specific academic department and recommended. However for writing, there are tutors and faculty associates who provide one-to-one services for all students. Please visit the Filene Center for Academic Advising for more information.
Is there a foreign language and/or math waiver?
Waivers are not permitted however students can petition for a foreign language substitution. There is not a waiver for the math requirement, however there are courses which integrate math concepts within a discipline. This is a viable option for students who do not require a standard math course for their major. For students who are not math and/or foreign language majors, Wheaton allows students to transfer credits earned as long as it meets the departments’ criteria.
How do I make a request for housing accommodations?
Visit the Housing Accommodations Procedures and Guidelines page on the Accessibility Services website and complete a Housing Accommodation Request Form online. Note the due dates for processes. Decisions for housing accommodations are made by Residential Life, Accessibility Services, Counseling and Student Health Services.
Are there career and internship services?
Yes. The Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services provides comprehensive one to one services for students through out their educational career. There are numerous opportunities to apply for fellowships to fund unpaid summer internships. Students are encouraged to seek out these resume building opportunities.