Defining a Disability
Federal law defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of that individual. Examples of major life activities include walking, sitting, standing, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and other similar activities. If a condition substantially limits a student's access to educational opportunity, that condition is considered a disability. A diagnosis of a disability does not, in and of itself, necessitate reasonable accommodations under the ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
The following is a list of disabling conditions SMU accommodates and the specific guidelines for documenting that condition:
Chronic Medical/Health Disability
Temporary Disabling Condition
ADHD: Typical symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in a college environment include difficulty managing multiple and competing deadlines for long-term projects, following through on goals and intentions, and making good judgments about how to spend one's time. Trouble working within an unstructured environment, completing tests quickly, and focusing during classroom lectures are also markers of ADHD in the college setting. Frustration with achieving expectations can create feelings of depression or anxiety. Use of alcohol, medications, and/or illegal substances can be problematic for a student who already has trouble with impulse control or mood management.
Temporarily Disabling Conditions: Adjustments may be made to mitigate the impact of temporarily disabling conditions. For example, providing a scribe or note-taker may lessen the medical hardship of a broken arm or the hardship of a broken leg may be mitigated by facilitating transportation around campus by SMU’s campus police. A medical statement may be required if equipment will be needed during the short period the person is recovering. Please refer to the guidelines for Chronic Medical Health conditions and contact DASS for assistance on a case-by-case basis.
For those with temporary hand/wrist injuries, we recommend the student consider using the dictation software, Dragon Naturally Speaking, or the helpful program for one-handed keyboarding. http://www.onehandkeyboard.org/
A student who has a temporary illness (e.g. cold, flu, mononucleosis), is recovering from surgery not based on a long-term condition, or loses mobility for a short period of time (e.g., due to a broken limb, appendage, or a surgery) would not be considered to have a disability.
Temporary handicapped parking permits can be issued by the Park ‘N Pony office at 6116 N. Central Expressway, Suite 101, phone 214-768-7275.