Get Answers to FAQs


What is considered to be a disability?

Under the ADA, a disability is "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities."

Where can I get help?

If you are in need of assistance, you are encouraged to browse available resources based on your role as a student, staff or faculty member.  The University’s ADA Coordinator may also be contacted to help determine which of the available resources would be helpful in a particular case, based on individual circumstances and your role.  Visitor resources are also available.

I have a documented disability.  How do I receive accommodations?

The process is similar, but the coordinating offices vary by campus.  Navigate resources based on your role as a student, staff or faculty member and then select your campus to determine the office or person to contact to initiate the process.

Students should navigate to Resources for Students, make the appropriate campus selection, then see the header "Educational Accommodations and Assistanceto identify the office to assist.

Faculty and Staff  should navigate to Resources for Employees, make the appropriate campus selection, then see the header titled "Employment Accommodations and Assistance" to identify the individual or office to seek out assistance from.

Resources are also available if you are a faculty member or instructor needing assistance related to providing accommodations in the classroom.

I need special technologies to assist me, due to my disability. What is available?

The Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers (ATAC) can help. ATAC serves Indiana University students, faculty and staff with and without disabilities by providing access to specialized assistive technologies that help with reading, writing, studying, and information access.

Where can I find campus maps that illustrate access to buildings and parking?

In addition to finding this information highlighted within the listed resources available based on your role, you can also reference the Parking and Transportation page.

As an instructor, what language should I include in the course syllabus?

You should include a statement in the course syllabus inviting students with the need for accommodation to contact the to contact the campus office serving students with disabilities and stating accommodations must be arranged with that office.  See sample syllabus statement for recommended language.  You should also read the statement aloud when reviewing the syllabus in class. 

What should departments consider when hosting a public event?

The sponsoring department is responsible for ensuring that events are appropriately accessible. Departments should:

  • Include language in all publicity to notify potential attendees how to request accommodations. Know how to respond to requests.
  • Assign responsibility to an individual to monitor planning for and managing during the event for adherence to ADA requirements.
  • Identify parking areas, curb cuts and entrances, accessible fountains and restrooms for persons with disabilities.
  • If food or beverages are served, review food service provided to include services for persons with disabilities.

See also Best Practices for IU Departments

What about service animals and the ADA?

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually training to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  Service animals are working animals, not pets.  The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.  Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed.  Staff may ask two questions:  (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) 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.

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.  In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless:  (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken.

Allergies, and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.